Smart Girl Stories
Virgina Apgar

Celebrating the Life of Virginia Apgar

Today, we’re celebrating the life of Virginia Apgar, an American obstetrical anesthesiologist who is credited with saving millions of infant lives. Her impact on the medical world has been tremendous and her legacy should never be forgotten. Let’s explore some of Dr. Apgar’s most remarkable accomplishments.

The Apgar Score System

Perhaps Dr. Apgar’s most famous contribution to medicine was creating the Apgar score system in 1952. The scoring system assesses a newborn baby’s physical condition, including heart rate, breathing, muscle tone, reflexes and skin color, on a scale from 0 to 2 immediately after delivery. This score allows doctors and nurses to quickly determine if a baby needs immediate medical attention or not. The Apgar score has since become a standard part of all childbirth procedures around the world and is used to this day to monitor the health of newborn babies.

Advancing Anesthesia

In addition to her work with newborn children, Dr. Apgar also dedicated herself to advancing anesthesia practices for pregnant women during labor and delivery. Before she began hers studies in 1949, there was little consideration given to how anesthesia might be used in obstetric. She quickly became an advocate for use of anesthesia during childbirth as well as providing pain relief post-delivery through techniques like epidurals and spinal blocks. In 1949 she became the first woman appointed as a full professor at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons in New York City, a major accomplishment considering that was only four years after women were allowed into medical school!

Improving Women’s Health Care

Dr. Apgar was also instrumental in improving women’s health care overall by advocating for education about pregnancy complications and interventions available for women who had difficulty delivering their babies without assistance from medication or surgery. She encouraged hospitals across the country to create units specifically dedicated to treating pregnant women with serious conditions such as hypertension during labor, which dramatically improved outcomes for both mothers and their children around the country.

Virginia Apgar ‘s Legacy

Virginia Apgar was an incredible woman whose groundbreaking research had a massive impact on modern medicine and saved countless lives worldwide since 1952 when she developed her scoring system for assessing newborn babies’ health at birth. We owe much gratitude to her dedication and commitment towards improving healthcare practices related to pregnant women and infants alike. Her legacy will live on forever!

Learn about more inspiring girls on our Smart Girls page, or follow our Instagram page for more stories like this!



Founder, Smart Girl, Survivor, Champion of womens rights and kids rights


Smart Girl Stories shares stories of inspiration from writers across the globe.

We ask each writer to adhere to our Smart Girl Stories pledge. The views expressed in our articles are those of the author and are meant to spark conversation and inspire you. They don’t necessarily reflect the opinions of SmartGirl Stories. We are honored to share their stories, as well as yours. To learn more – visit us here.

Follow Me

Don't be shy, get in touch. We love meeting interesting people and making new friends.