As soon as a baby is born, s/he is forced to make major changes within seconds. The APGAR scoring system was developed so that doctors, such as obstetricians, and hospital nurses can rapidly asses how a newborn is adjusting to life outside of the womb, including evaluation of heart rate, respiration, muscle tone, reflex irritability and skin color.
APGARs are commonly assessed at 1 minute and 5 minutes after birth. Generally, the 1 minute APGAR score is an evaluation of how the baby tolerated the birth process; whereas, the 5 minute score is an evaluation of how the baby is adapting to his/her new environment. Where birth complications lead to a low APGAR score, doctors may also perform a 10 minute assessment.
An APGAR score below 7 is considered low. 10-17% of children with a low APGAR score will go on to develop cerebral palsy. Reasons for a low APGAR score include hypoxia (lack of oxygen), ischemia (lack of blood supply), umbilical cord compression, and fetal distress commonly marked by fetal heart rate decelerations.
If an obstetrician fails to respond to fetal distress, s/he may be liable for medical malpractice and birth injuries such as cerebral palsy and hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. If your baby was born with a low APGAR score and is developmentally delayed, or was recently diagnosed with cerebral palsy, and you would like to know if his/her disabilities were preventable, contact us at 1-800-336-5297, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.