You’re almost a dad and the excitement levels are through the roof. You’ve helped your wife or partner pack the hospital bag and are probably reading through Daddy’s Digest to get up to speed.

Like most new parents, you probably didn’t know that midwives and doctors do an APGAR test shortly after your baby is born.

The test is conducted 60 seconds after birth and then again at 5 minutes to check how well your baby adjusted to the birthing process and if any extra care or emergency medical attention is required.

Activity – Pulse – Grimace (Reflexes) – Appearance (Skin Color) – Respiration (Breathing Effort)

APGAR is a scoring system and each indicator is given a score between 0-2, two being the highest. All factors are added up to a total score of between 0-10, ten being the highest.

So, what do the scores mean?

APGAR at 1-minute

Score 7-10: Baby is doing well and in good health.

Score 4-6: May need immediate medical care and help breathing.

Score 3 or Less: May require immediate emergency medical attention.

APGAR at 5-minutes

Score 7-10: This is considered normal.

If the score was low at the 1-minute test and hasn’t improved, your doctor will continue or proceed with the necessary medical care.

Download our APGAR score sheet for quick reference.

Please bear in mind that this score doesn’t predict a baby’s long-term health, behavior or intellectual status and has only been designed to determine if a newborn requires immediate attention. Few babies score 10 and perfectly healthy babies sometimes have a lower than usual score.

It is important to verify information and ask your doctor for their opinion. Our guide is meant to outline the facts, but every situation is unique and requires the final word of a qualified medical care professional.

Reviewed by: Julie Mallon

Date reviewed: 6th January, 2019

Our Expecting and Infant/Toddler section are full of useful information for new fathers.

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