Asses Your Baby’s Growth Using Head Circumference

Head circumference measurement is extremely helpful to track your baby’s development.

 

What is head circumference?

 

 

 

Head circumference is the measurement of the baby’s head around its largest area. The distance from above the eyebrows and ears around to the back of the head is measured. The head circumference reflects the status of the baby’s growth and development corresponding to the baby’s age. It tells us if the baby is advancing adequately for its age or is falling behind. It can also suggest possible genetic and growth abnormalities.

 

How is head circumference evaluation done?

 

 

Head circumference during pregnancy is usually measured after 13 weeks using ultrasound. The sonologist will measure the fetus’ highest diameter around the head to calculate the head circumference. Measuring the head circumference during pregnancy can give an idea of the volume of the brain. Post delivery, the head circumference will be measured by the pediatrician using a regular measuring tape.



Know more about fetal and obstetric measurements in this video.

 

Source: SonoSite

 

If my baby’s head is growing too fast, what does it mean?

 

 

If the baby’s head is larger than normal, it can indicate  an underlying problem. The head might be too large due to presence of excess fluid in the baby’s brain, a condition known as hydrocephalus. This can lead to brain damage causing mental and physical health issues.

 

What if my baby’s head is too small?

 

 

A  small head is known as microcephaly. The head circumference in microcephaly is extremely low. It indicates that the baby’s growth is poor, and there might also be abnormal brain development. There are many genetic conditions that can cause microcephaly. Babies born with microcephaly can show poor intellectual ability, growth rate, delayed motor, and speech functions along with difficulty in balance and coordination. Under some conditions, microcephaly can occur after birth as a result of trauma or complications during delivery. In these cases, the head becomes comparatively smaller as the baby grows.



How to measure the head circumference after the baby is born?

 

The head circumference must be measured soon after the baby is born or at least within 24 hours after birth to look for any abnormalities. The pediatrician uses a regular non-stretchable measuring tape and wraps it around the widest diameter around the head. It is usually 1 to 2 finger breadths above the eyebrows and over the ears. 3 readings are taken and the largest reading is taken to be as the final head circumference to the nearest 0.1 cm.

 

See this video on how to measure head circumference.

 



The following is a chart for infant’s head circumference measurements upto 36 months for boys and girls given by the CDC.

 

Males, Birth – 36 Months

 

Age (in months)

3rd Percentile Head Circumference (in centimeters)

5th Percentile Head Circumference (in centimeters)

10th Percentile Head Circumference (in centimeters)

25th Percentile Head Circumference (in centimeters)

50th Percentile Head Circumference (in centimeters)

75th Percentile Head Circumference (in centimeters)

90th Percentile Head Circumference (in centimeters)

95th Percentile Head Circumference (in centimeters)

97th Percentile Head Circumference (in centimeters)

0

31.48762

32.14881

33.08389

34.46952

35.81367

37.00426

37.97379

38.51574

38.85417

0.5

33.25006

33.83392

34.67253

35.93987

37.19361

38.32125

39.24989

39.77262

40.10028

1.5

35.78126

36.26428

36.97377

38.07878

39.20743

40.24987

41.12605

41.62581

41.94138

2.5

37.5588

37.97959

38.60724

39.60637

40.65233

41.63968

42.48436

42.97189

43.28181

3.5

38.89944

39.27893

39.85123

40.77713

41.76517

42.71455

43.53902

44.01984

44.32733

4.5

39.95673

40.30766

40.84114

41.71483

42.66116

43.58358

44.39472

44.87197

45.17877

5.5

40.81642

41.14714

41.65291

42.48889

43.40489

44.30801

45.11034

45.58593

45.893

6.5

41.53109

41.84742

42.3333

43.14204

44.0361

44.92555

45.72225

46.19736

46.50524

7.5

42.13521

42.44134

42.91311

43.70245

44.58097

45.46104

46.25443

46.72983

47.0388

8.5

42.65253

42.95162

43.41365

44.18964

45.05761

45.93166

46.72349

47.1997

47.5099

9.5

43.10009

43.39458

43.85025

44.61764

45.47908

46.34979

47.14142

47.6188

47.93027

10.5

43.49049

43.7823

44.23432

44.99694

45.85506

46.72463

47.51714

47.99592

48.30867

11.5

43.83332

44.12399

44.57454

45.33549

46.19295

47.06318

47.85744

48.33781

48.65181

12.5

44.136

44.42679

44.87767

45.63952

46.49853

47.37091

48.16763

48.64972

48.96494

13.5

44.40441

44.69639

45.14908

45.91398

46.77638

47.65214

48.45191

48.93584

49.25225

14.5

44.64328

44.93733

45.3931

46.16284

47.03018

47.91038

48.71371

49.19955

49.51712

15.5

44.85646

45.15333

45.61325

46.38937

47.26295

48.14848

48.95578

49.44362

49.76233

16.5

45.04712

45.34746

45.81245

46.59626

47.47721

48.36881

49.18045

49.67034

49.99018

17.5

45.2179

45.52229

45.99315

46.78578

47.67504

48.57336

49.38963

49.88166

50.20261

18.5

45.37104

45.67997

46.15739

46.95981

47.85821

48.76379

49.58497

50.07919

50.40125

19.5

45.50843

45.82234

46.30692

47.11999

48.02822

48.94153

49.76786

50.26432

50.58751

20.5

45.63169

45.95096

46.44325

47.26769

48.18637

49.10781

49.93948

50.43825

50.76259

21.5

45.74221

46.06719

46.56767

47.40413

48.33377

49.2637

50.10089

50.60203

50.92752

22.5

45.84121

46.17221

46.68129

47.53035

48.4714

49.4101

50.25298

50.75654

51.08322

23.5

45.92974

46.26704

46.78511

47.64724

48.60011

49.54784

50.39655

50.90258

51.23047

24.5

46.00872

46.35259

46.87997

47.75563

48.72065

49.67762

50.53229

51.04085

51.36998

25.5

46.07898

46.42963

46.96663

47.85621

48.83367

49.80008

50.66082

51.17196

51.50236

26.5

46.14124

46.49889

47.04578

47.94962

48.93976

49.91578

50.78269

51.29647

51.62817

27.5

46.19614

46.56098

47.11801

48.0364

49.03945

50.02521

50.89839

51.41485

51.7479

28.5

46.24425

46.61646

47.18385

48.11707

49.13321

50.12883

51.00836

51.52756

51.86198

29.5

46.2861

46.66583

47.24379

48.19206

49.22146

50.22705

51.113

51.63499

51.97081

30.5

46.32214

46.70954

47.29824

48.26178

49.30458

50.32023

51.21268

51.73749

52.07475

31.5

46.3528

46.74801

47.34761

48.3266

49.38292

50.40869

51.3077

51.83539

52.17413

32.5

46.37844

46.78159

47.39225

48.38684

49.45678

50.49275

51.39837

51.92898

52.26923

33.5

46.39942

46.81061

47.43247

48.44281

49.52645

50.57267

51.48496

52.01853

52.36032

34.5

46.41605

46.8354

47.46857

48.49479

49.59218

50.6487

51.56771

52.10429

52.44764

35.5

46.4286

46.85621

47.50081

48.54301

49.65423

50.72108

51.64686

52.18646

52.53143

36

46.43344

46.86521

47.51556

48.56578

49.68394

50.75597

51.68514

52.22628

52.57205



Females, Birth – 36 Months

Age (in months)

3rd Percentile Head Circumference (in centimeters)

5th Percentile Head Circumference (in centimeters)

10th Percentile Head Circumference (in centimeters)

25th Percentile Head Circumference (in centimeters)

50th Percentile Head Circumference (in centimeters)

75th Percentile Head Circumference (in centimeters)

90th Percentile Head Circumference (in centimeters)

95th Percentile Head Circumference (in centimeters)

97th Percentile Head Circumference (in centimeters)

0

31.9302

32.2509

32.75949

33.65187

34.71156

35.85124

36.9535

37.65138

38.1211

0.5

33.38071

33.68744

34.17346

35.02508

36.03454

37.11807

38.16405

38.82535

39.27006

1.5

35.48627

35.7756

36.23326

37.03282

37.97672

38.98533

39.95459

40.56517

40.97482

2.5

36.9855

37.26522

37.70685

38.47603

39.38013

40.34145

41.26063

41.83732

42.22321

3.5

38.13114

38.40561

38.83814

39.58905

40.46774

41.39732

42.28153

42.83396

43.2026

4.5

39.04619

39.31814

39.74588

40.48611

41.34841

42.25604

43.11489

43.64924

44.00486

5.5

39.7996

40.07086

40.49672

41.23136

42.08335

42.97566

43.81575

44.3363

44.68183

6.5

40.43379

40.70567

41.13171

41.86435

42.71034

43.59207

44.41815

44.92803

45.26563

7.5

40.97672

41.25016

41.67787

42.41113

43.25429

44.12897

44.94461

45.44619

45.77751

8.5

41.44768

41.7234

42.15391

42.88978

43.7325

44.60282

45.41078

45.90591

46.23224

9.5

41.86058

42.13913

42.5733

43.31329

44.15743

45.0255

45.82799

46.31815

46.64053

10.5

42.22575

42.50755

42.94604

43.69135

44.53837

45.40587

46.20466

46.69106

47.01035

11.5

42.55105

42.83643

43.27977

44.03133

44.88241

45.75072

46.54726

47.0309

47.3478

12.5

42.8426

43.13182

43.58043

44.33899

45.19508

46.06532

46.86084

47.34255

47.65766

13.5

43.10526

43.39853

43.85274

44.61891

45.48078

46.3539

47.14942

47.62991

47.94373

14.5

43.34294

43.64042

44.1005

44.87476

45.74308

46.61986

47.41624

47.89613

48.20911

15.5

43.55883

43.86066

44.32682

45.10959

45.98487

46.86599

47.66399

48.1438

48.4563

16.5

43.75558

44.06186

44.53428

45.32587

46.20858

47.0946

47.89487

48.37505

48.68741

17.5

43.93539

44.2462

44.72501

45.5257

46.41622

47.30765

48.11074

48.5917

48.90419

18.5

44.10013

44.41553

44.90085

45.71086

46.6095

47.50676

48.31317

48.79526

49.10814

19.5

44.25137

44.57142

45.06333

45.88284

46.78989

47.69335

48.50351

48.98703

49.30052

20.5

44.39047

44.71521

45.21378

46.04295

46.95863

47.86861

48.6829

49.16814

49.48244

21.5

44.51861

44.84806

45.35334

46.19229

47.11681

48.0336

48.85236

49.33955

49.65484

22.5

44.6368

44.97099

45.48301

46.33184

47.26538

48.18923

49.01276

49.50211

49.81854

23.5

44.74593

45.08487

45.60367

46.46246

47.40516

48.33629

49.16486

49.65657

49.97429

24.5

44.84678

45.19047

45.71608

46.58489

47.53688

48.47548

49.30933

49.80358

50.12271

25.5

44.94005

45.2885

45.82092

46.6998

47.66118

48.60743

49.44677

49.94373

50.26437

26.5

45.02634

45.37954

45.91878

46.80778

47.77865

48.7327

49.57773

50.07751

50.39978

27.5

45.1062

45.46415

46.01021

46.90935

47.88979

48.85178

49.70266

50.20541

50.5294

28.5

45.18011

45.5428

46.09568

47.00499

47.99506

48.9651

49.822

50.32783

50.65362

29.5

45.24852

45.61594

46.17562

47.09511

48.09488

49.07308

49.93613

50.44514

50.77281

30.5

45.31181

45.68394

46.25043

47.18009

48.18961

49.17607

50.0454

50.55769

50.88731

31.5

45.37035

45.74718

46.32044

47.2603

48.2796

49.2744

50.15012

50.66578

50.99741

32.5

45.42444

45.80596

46.38599

47.33603

48.36515

49.36836

50.25058

50.76968

51.10338

33.5

45.4744

45.86058

46.44736

47.40757

48.44654

49.45823

50.34704

50.86965

51.20547

34.5

45.52047

45.9113

46.50481

47.47518

48.52402

49.54425

50.43974

50.96593

51.30392

35.5

45.56291

45.95837

46.55859

47.53911

48.59783

49.62665

50.52889

51.05872

51.39892

36

45.58284

45.98061

46.58417

47.56976

48.63342

49.66656

50.5722

51.10387

51.44519

 

Source of banner image: sciencedaily

 

Disclaimer: The information in the article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor.

Read: Height And Weight Chart: An Easy Tool to Monitor Your Child’s Health

Explore the entire collection of articles: Baby Growth And Development

 

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Comments (6)



Richa Kaushik

This is exactly what I was looking for.

Tuk tuk

Even me! Thanks!

Sucheta Yedve

I wish I knew this before

Supriti G Chakraborty

Hope our doc has measured it.; Wish I knew it earlier.; I'll get it done in our next visit. Meanwhile can I measure at home with a cloth measuring tape?

Supriti G Chakraborty

This is so well written.

Tiyas Banik

3rd 5th 10th 25th percentile means

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