Apgar score at 5 minutes

Apgar scores are clinical indicators of a baby’s condition shortly after birth. The score is based on 5 characteristics of the baby: skin colour, pulse, breathing, muscle tone and reflex irritability. Each characteristic is given between 0 and 2 points, with a total score between 0 and 10 points.

An Apgar score of 7 or more at 5 minutes after birth indicates that the baby is adapting well to the environment, while a score of less than 7 indicates complications for the baby. Data on Apgar scores is limited to liveborn babies.

The figure shows a bar chart of the proportion of liveborn babies by Apgar score at 5 minutes by a range of topics for 2019. The figure also shows a line graph of topic trends between 2009 and 2019. In 2019, 98% or 294, 518 liveborn babies had an Apgar score of 7 or more.

In Australia, almost all liveborn babies had an Apgar score of 7 or more (98%) and this has been consistent over time.

Babies who had a higher proportion of Apgar scores less than 7 included:

  • low birthweight babies (7.9%)
  • pre-term babies (7.9%)
  • babies who were part of a multiple birth (8.3%)
  • babies with a breech presentation (5.2%).

Babies with an Apgar score of less than 7 had an increased likelihood of requiring resuscitation and admission to the special care nursery or neonatal intensive care unit.

For related information see National Core Maternity Indicator Apgar score of less than 7 at 5 minutes for birth at or after term