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APGAR: your newborn’s first health assessment

Advancements in medicine and technology help most babies in New Jersey enter the world without life-threatening complications. However, when things don’t go smoothly in the delivery room, it’s critical that the medical team understands how to handle the situation. If they lack the skill or knowledge to do so and do not ask for help, it could result in a negligence claim.

According to Johns Hopkins Children’s Hospital, medical professionals in the delivery room administer the APGAR test a few moments after birth.

What is the APGAR test?

The test, used immediately after birth, is a brief assessment of your newborn’s overall well-being. The delivery room team records scores at one minute and five minutes after birth. The results determine if he needs additional medical care at that moment or in the future. If he needed resuscitation, the assessment at five minutes helps evaluate how he responded. The five factors in the evaluation include the following:

  1. Appearance (skin color)
  2. Pulse (heart rate)
  3. Grimace (reflexes)
  4. Activity (muscle tone)
  5. Respiration (breathing)

Each factor receives a score between zero and two. The higher the score, the fewer issues your child exhibits. If he scores less than seven in the first five minutes, he may receive additional assessments every five minutes for up to 20 minutes after birth

What are common birth injuries?

Brachial palsy is among the most complex and common birth injuries. It involves damage to the nerves involved when moving the arms and hands. In many cases, this condition is the result of actions by the medical personnel delivering the baby.

Head trauma, spinal cord damage and collar bone fractures can also occur if the doctor uses delivery techniques and tools too aggressively. If your child suffered injuries at or near the time of birth, understanding your options is essential for protecting your rights and getting the treatment your newborn needs.