Tests given at birth: NBAS and APGAR

Child Psychiatrist Joshua Sparrow, MD, explains the most common tests given to babies after birth, NBAS and APGAR, and what each one tests for in newborns
Tests Given After Childbirth - NBAS & APGAR
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Tests given at birth: NBAS and APGAR

The APGAR is a very brief medical test that is done immediately at birth in a few minutes after birth and it is really to quickly determine whether or not the brand new baby needs urgent or emergency medical attention. The new Needle Behavioral Assessment Scale which we called the NBAS is a completely different kind of assessment because it really helps parents get to know their brand new baby who has at birth a unique individual temperament and personality. So, the NBAS looks at the child's sleep alert states, fussing and crying. And the way this particular baby at birth moves from one of those states to the other for example, from a crying state when the baby is stressed to a calm state or maybe back down to a sleep state. Cause already at birth each baby handles the shift from one state to another in very different ways. The NBAS also looks at the way that babies orient themselves to their parents so that at birth we know that babies can actually hear their parents voice, and when this tests is conducted especially for first time parents. It is so exciting for first time parents to discover that at birth their new baby already recognizes their voice. So when you speak quietly into a newborn's ear, if your the mother the baby will scrunch up his face and turn his head towards your voice and look straight in to you eyes and then you know that your baby has been listening to you for at least the past 3 or 4 months. And the same thing is true for fathers, if the father speaks quietly into a newborn's ear, the baby will scrunch up his face and gradually turn his head looking for the voice and then look straight in to the fathers eyes because the baby already recognizes that voice.

Child Psychiatrist Joshua Sparrow, MD, explains the most common tests given to babies after birth, NBAS and APGAR, and what each one tests for in newborns


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Joshua Sparrow, MD

Child Psychiatrist & Author brazeltontouchpoints.org

A child psychiatrist, Dr. Sparrow’s care in the 1990s for children hospitalized for severe psychiatric disturbances, often associated with physical and sexual abuse, and for developmental delays aggravated by social and economic deprivation, prompted his interest in community-based prevention and health promotion. At the Brazelton Touchpoints Center, his work focuses on cultural adaptations of family support programs, organizational professional development, and aligning systems of care with community strengths and priorities, and has included collaborative consultation with the Harlem Children's Zone and American Indian Early Head Start Programs, among many others. He has lectured extensively nationally and internationally on related topics and has consulted on media programming for children and parents, including PBS’s Frontlines and Discovery Kids. Co-author with Dr. T. Berry Brazelton of 8 books and the weekly New York Times Syndicated column, “Families Today,” Dr. Sparrow has also served as a contributing editor to Scholastic Services’ Parent and Child magazine. In 2006, he revised with Dr. Brazelton Touchpoints: Birth to Three, 2nd Edition and in 2010, co-edited Nurturing Children and Families: Building on the Legacy of T. B. Brazelton, a textbook on the ongoing generativeness of Brazelton’s seminal research in a wide range of fields. Dr. Sparrow has authored numerous other scholarly works, teaches and lectures nationally and internationally, and is frequently called upon for his expertise by national and international media. Prior to attending medical school, Dr. Sparrow worked for several years as a preschool teacher and journalist in New York City.

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