The first thing in store for your new arrival is an APGAR score. Dr Virginia Apgar, a noted anaesthesiologist, developed the APGAR scale and testing methods in the 1950's. The test helps doctors and nurses to quickly evaluate the condition of a newborn. It is a simple yet very effective method to measure the health of a baby and determine if your baby needs any treatment.
The test is administered and recorded at one minute after delivery and again at five minutes after delivery.
||Pale or blue
||Body pink, extremities blue
||Pink –showing that the baby is getting enough oxygen
|Pulse – to determine if the heartbeat is strong and regular
|Grimace or response to stimulation
||No response to stimulation
|Activity or muscle tone – check for moving limbs to show tone and health of muscles
||Flaccid (no or weak activity)
||Some movement of extremities
||A lot of activity
|Respiration (crying and breathing) – to show the health of the lungs
Each vital sign is given a score of 0, 1 or 2 and the end results are totalled. Babies scoring between seven and ten at one minute are considered to be in excellent condition and require only routine post-delivery care. A score between four and six is considered to be in fair condition and may require some help breathing where a nurse or paediatrician may administer oxygen under the baby's nose or may flick the baby’s feet with a finger. A baby whose score is under four is considered to be in very poor condition and will require active resuscitation.
The APGAR score is easily performed and provides a quick measure of your baby’s health during those first important and precious moments of life outside of the womb.
Other procedures performed on your baby after birth include a measurement of length and weight and a vitamin K injection which assists in blood-clotting and prevents excessive neo-natal bleeding.
BCG (Bacille Calmette-Guérin) vaccination is given soon after birth to protect against tuberculous meningitis. It is given by injection on the right upper arm.