What is the APGAR Score and why is it significant?

When a baby is born, the number one concern of the parent(s) is how healthy the child is. The moment the child is born in the hospital setting, many reflex tests and assessments are performed to check if there was anything wrong with the delivery. Physical features of the baby that could have been harmed during the birthing process are evaluated.

One way that a newborn can be assessed is via the APGAR assessment. In 1952, Dr. Virginia Apgar created this test. The APGAR score is a test given to newborn babies which looks at a variety of different factors such as breathing rate, heart rate, muscle tone, skin color, reflexes, and other features. APGAR stands for Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, Respiration. The test is given literally minutes after birth. It is conducted twice, the first time is one minute after birth, the next is five minutes after birth. The reason why it is performed twice is because the first time shows how well the baby handled the process, and the second test is done to show the stability of the baby and how that baby is responding to its new environment. The APGAR score is affected by many birth factors, including gestational age, delivery methods, such as natural birth or C-Section, medication administered to the mother pre-delivery, any complications and other factors.

The APGAR score has a scale of 0-2 for each part of the assessment, with 0 being the worst score and 2 being optimal. At the end when the five major test scores are added, the score will be out of 10. If the baby has a score of 7 or above, then it is in good health and considered Within Normal Limits. However, some babies do have low scores, and can be a result of how the baby was born. For example for a premature baby or a C-section the acceptable low scores range from 4-6, while a score of 0-3 usually may require a machine to help assist the infant.

The way these tests are performed matters, starting with breathing rate. The breathing rate is arguably the most important, as it shows if the baby is alive or not. If the baby is not breathing, the score is zero. If the baby is slowly breathing or showing signs of irregularity, then a 1 is given. Lastly, if the baby is breathing well, then a 2 is given. Next, the heart rate is evaluated using a stethoscope. If the heartbeat is nonexistent, then a 0 is given. If the heartbeat is less than 100 beats per minute, then a 1 is given, and if the heartbeat is over 100 beats per minute, then a 2 is assigned. The reason why the baby would have a high heart rate is due to the stressful process the baby just experienced. After the heart, muscle tone is determined. If the muscle is floppy, then a 0 is given. If the baby demonstrates some tone, then a 1 is given, and if the baby is undergoing activity and moving around, a 2 is given. After that, reflexes are tested. If the infant has no reaction when a stimulant such as a pinch is given, then a 0 is given. If the baby responds a little, a 1 is given, and if the baby grimaces and cries or shows another reaction, a score of 2 is given. Lastly, skin is visually examined and if the skin color is blue, then a score of 0 is given, if the body is pink and the feet are blue, then a score of 1 is given, and if the entire body is pink, a score of 2 is given.

The APGAR score has a lot of significance, and there are a few important things to note about it. The first thing is that the test is deemed to analyze current factors of the infant, and not long term health. This score is simply used in order to get an immediate picture and to know if the infant needs additional intervention or not. Furthermore, another important fact to note is that if the score given after the first minute does not change or gets worse for the five minute test, the medical staff will offer immediate care.

This test is important because it provides a quick way of analyzing the immediate physical state of the baby.

However, it is not an indication of future yet unknown and undetected health or physical issues or complications the baby may have.

For example, some issues are recognized later by pediatricians such as tongue/tie, plagiocephaly, torticollis, scoliosis, colic, reflux and a myriad of other health issues the baby may have that are not assessed by the APGAR test.

Most importantly the baby’s current state of his/her craniosacral mechanism is not examined, and here is where ALL the issues stem from.

About Dr. Kaminsky & Craniosacral Therapy

Having a Chiropractic background since the year 2000, Dr. Kaminsky offers many methods of treatment with an emphasis on Craniosacral Therapy in NYC.

Dr. Alex Kaminsky

Craniosacral Therapy (CST) is a method focusing on the link between the cranium (head) and sacrum (the second to last bone at the base of your spine), scientifically proven to work in unison to pump fluid throughout the body, an unknown disruption of which can cause many health issues.  The craniosacral mechanism pumps vital fluid called cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF) through the body and in a sense energetically lubricates the joints, tissues, organs; basically all cells of the body. It is the driving force of all your body’s systems of function; including maintaining the tone of your muscles.

The Central Nervous System (brain and spinal cord) are surrounded with CSF generating energetic rhythmic impulses of fluid delicately pumping throughout your body’s parts “breathing” the movement of life. This measurable rhythm of moving fluid, like the heart rhythm, pulse rhythm, breathing rhythm is the foundational “blueprint” and primary principle of our real-time state of our health. 

Compromises of our rhythmic movements of fluid flow correlates to the impulse restrictions in the system which the body is unable to overcome or self-correct. This is the reason why we have “dis-ease”, symptoms, conditions, basically all ailments.  This is where the skill of an experienced craniosacral therapist becomes valuable.  By placing his or her hands on your body the practitioner can feel, detect, evaluate, and facilitate correction of these restrictive arrhythmic impulses.

The craniosacral therapist helps your rhythm restore and renew in compromised areas allowing for healing to take place of sensory, motor, musculoskeletal, neurological disorders, symptoms, conditions and pain.  To learn more, visit the other pages on this website. Call to schedule your healing treatment with Dr. Kaminsky.