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Health Tips for July 27

Posted Jul 26 2009 10:32pm

Health Tip: What's an APGAR Test?

As soon as your baby is delivered at a hospital or other medical facility, it's commonly whisked away to be evaluated by the waiting team of professionals.

The medical team probably is giving your baby what's known as an APGAR test to check how well baby handled birth, and how the infant is adjusting to life outside the womb. It's given at one minute after birth, and a second time five minutes after birth. The score ranges from 1 to 10, 10 being healthiest.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine says the test evaluates:

  • Breathing effort
  • Heart rate
  • Muscle tone
  • Reflexes
  • Skin color

A score of less than five indicates that baby needs help adjusting to the new environment.

Health Tip: Caring for Your Newborn

Most first-time parents are at a loss when they bring baby home from the hospital.

The Nemours Foundation offers these suggestions for parental novices:

  • Support baby's head with a gentle hand whenever you hold, carry or lay baby down.
  • Treat baby gently. Never shake the baby for any reason, including to wake him or her up. Instead, tickle the feet or blow on the cheek to rouse your little one.
  • Make sure you're using the baby car seat and stroller correctly, and that baby is safely secured.
  • Newborns just need to be held and cuddled. It's too soon for games such as bouncing on the knee or lifting in the air.
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