The Apgar score is a method to quickly summarize the health of newborn children against infant mortality. Virginia Apgar, an anesthesiologist at NewYork–Presbyterian Hospital, developed the score in 1952 to quantify the effects of obstetric anesthesia on babies.

The Apgar score is determined by evaluating the newborn baby on 5 simple criteria, each on a scale of zero to two. Then summing up the five values thus obtained gives a final Apgar score on the scale of zero to ten.

The five criteria are summarized using words with APGAR as acronym:

  1. Appearance
  2. Pulse
  3. Grimace
  4. Activity
  5. Respiratory effort


  Score of 0 Score of 1 Score of 2
Appearance (Skin Color) Blue or pale all over Blue at extremities; Body pink Completely pink
Pulse (Heart-beat) Absent Less than 100 beats per minute More than 100 beats per minute
Grimace (Reflex irritability) No response to stimulation Grimace on suction or aggressive stimulation Cry on stimulation
Activity None Flexed arms and legs Active movement
Respiratory effort Absent Weak, irregular gasping Strong robust cry

Interpretation of scores

The test is generally done at 1 and 5 minutes after birth and may be repeated later if the score is and remains low.

  • 7 and above are generally normal
  • 4 to 6 are considered fairly low
  • 3 or below are regarded as critically low and imply need of immediate resuscitative efforts

Apgar test’s purpose is to quickly determine whether or not a newborn needs immediate medical care.


I am not a doctor and I don’t pose as one on the internet. This post is just a compilation of what I found while learning about this topic.