New Way To Stress Moms Out: Cognitive Test For Newborns

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You’ve only been a mother for about five minutes, but already you’ll find yourself going up against expectations for your baby to excel and be perfect. The Apgar test is a 10-point scale that has been used to test the health of newborns immediately after birth. The test assesses a baby’s heart rate, breathing, muscle tone, skin color and reflex irritability each on a two-point scale. According to msnbc, a Swedish study revealed that children score below a seven on the test “had roughly double the odds of attending a special school because of cognitive deficits or other difficulties.” Way to instill worry in a newly elated post-birthing mother.

The findings of this Swedish report are a little tenuous, as not all children who score below a seven come to have learning disabilities. Msnbc reports:

However, the researchers noted that only 1 in 44 babies with those low Apgar scores required special education, so mothers of babies who had low Apgar scores need not be overly concerned.

“Most babies who have Apgar scores of 7 or less do perfectly fine,” said Dr. Richard Polin, director of neonatology at Columbia University Medical Center and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Fetus and Newborn.

Perhaps, but try telling that to a mother who is handed her healthy newborn. Aside from weight, inches, and other health stats, she is presented with the slight possibility that she may have to get a jump on researching special education. Until some more substantial claims are made about the cognitive assessments of the Apgar test, I think that we can add this to the laundry basket of benign triggers intended scare mothers.