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.

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

Figure 1 presents data on the Apgar score at 5 minutes of liveborn babies, by selected maternal and baby characteristics, for 2021. Select the trend button to see how data has changed over an 11-year period (where available).

Figure 1: Proportion of liveborn babies, by Apgar score at 5 minutes and selected topic

Bar chart shows Apgar score by selected topics and a line graph shows topic trends between 2011 and 2021. 

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

  • low birthweight babies (8.2%)
  • pre-term babies (8.1%)
  • babies with a breech presentation (5.3%).

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.

For more information on Apgar score at 5 minutes see National Perinatal Data Collection annual update data table 3.17.