According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Apgar test is a quick way for doctors to figure out if the baby is healthy or needs extra medical care. Apgar tests are usually done twice: one minute after birth and again five minutes after birth. Doctors and nurses measure 5 signs of the baby’s condition. These are:
- heart rate
- activity and muscle tone
- skin color
Apgar scores range from 0 to10. A baby who scores 7 or more is considered very healthy. But a lower score doesn’t always mean there is something wrong. Perfectly healthy babies often have low Apgar scores in the first minute of life. In more than 98% of cases, the Apgar score reaches 7 after 5 minutes of life. When it does not, the baby needs medical care and close monitoring.