Sunday, August 8, 2010

apgar shmapgar...

When babies are born, they’re immediately whisked away for an Apgar test.  Sigh; their first 5 seconds of life and they are already being tested.  And this test, I daresay, is hardly one they’ve had time to prepare for.  Does in vitro life make you Apgar fit? I think not.  Lets look at what the Apgar is all about...
A = Appearance.  There has been absolutely no opportunity for the newborn to spend time on a tanning bed.  Thank goodness what they’re looking for is “pink” and not “golden-brown”.  BTW, if your extremities are blue - sorry - you’ve lost a point.  This is the last time in a child’s life that it will be considered a plus to be pink. 
P = Pulse.  The poor infant doesn’t know if they are supposed to be working up their pulse (75% of their max) or working towards an impressively low “resting pulse” (domain of the super-fit). Sheesh, talk about a surprise test. 
G = Grimace. This is probably the most telling part of the test that indicates what you, the parent, is in for.  If Wikipedia is to be believed, the scoring on “Grimace” goes somewhat against what most parents are hoping for in the long run. In the world according to Apgar, Grimace is a plus.  Again, the only time in your life this will be considered a winning sign. The infant that scores the highest is the one who cries and pulls away when stimulated.  The average achiever grimaces or gives a feeble cry when stimulated and a poor-performance-could-do-better infant scores nil when they don’t respond to stimulation.  This is both rude and unfair.  You’ve been in a warm, quiet cocoon for 9 months with nothing but the sway of your mother’s hips to worry about and now they expect you to perform like a circus seal?  If a newly-borns wakeup attitude is anything like mine, I don’t blame them for scoring nil.  At best I give a mumbly grunt when woken up before … well, before I’ve woken up. Additional note: the scoring on “grimace” is measured also by the words: reflex (ok, that’s ones fine) and irritability (of course they’re irritated and guess what, they’re going to stay like that for at LEAST 3 months.)
A = Activity muscle tone.  This one I have a real problem with.  If you were lying in a hammock for say 9 months, maybe spinning it around every couple of days, you wouldn’t develop much muscle tone.  I fear I that even at my age I’d score horribly low on the Apgar test in this department. I know they’re been swimming around in water, but there’s hardly enough room for laps.  And even in vitro athletes would loose their fitness for sure in the last 8 weeks when things become too cramped.  Yoga?  Maybe.  Pilates? Very unlikely. And heaven knows, no weight training whatsoever.  It’s a miracle any newborns score at all.
Finally, the most mysterious of all.  R = respiration.  Now honestly, I ask you with my palms facing upward!  Newborns have really, really NOT had any chance to practice this.  Much like the “Grimace” part of the test, a strong, lusty cry is considered a plus. Top Score in fact. And since when is a cry considered breathing? Go figure. 

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