Virginia Apgar StampAs soon as a baby is born, one of the first things the new parents hear is the Apgar Score, a measure of the baby’s need for emergency medical intervention. On a scale of 10, a score of 7-10 is considered normal. The Apgar Score rates the infant’s skin appearance, pulse, reflex, muscle tone, and respirations.

Virginia Apgar was born in Westfield, NJ and made medicine her career in an era when very few women attended college and even fewer went to medical school. She developed her scoring system in 1952 to give doctors and nurses an objective measurement of a baby within the first few minutes of life. At the height of her career in the 1960s, she traveled the world on behalf of the National Foundation of the March of Dimes to help draw attention to birth defects and ways to prevent them. In 1995, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, NY.

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