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Why your baby's head size is measured



Why your baby’s head size is measured



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When your baby’s head is measured during normal check-ups, health care professionals are monitoring one part of your baby’s growth. This measurement is then plotted on standardized growth charts and can give a general idea about your baby’s overall growth.

For example, a head circumference at the 10th percentile means that out of 100 infant girls, there are only 10 girls with head circumferences smaller than the baby.

Do measurements matter ?: A small head circumference can mean several things. You as parents may tend to have smaller than average (the 50th percentile) head sizes, so that the baby’s head measurements simply reflect his or her genetic heritage. However, it may also mean that the baby’s brain is not growing well during this crucial period of the brain growth spurt that lasts until 2 years of age. This is called microcephaly, or a failure of brain development.

If the baby is preterm, it would be the ideal that the head circumference moderately exceeds the growth percentiles for weight and length, indicating that her brain was experiencing “catch up growth” after the challenges his or her early life in the hospital.

A large head circumference can also indicate some things. As with smaller head sizes, genetics can also play a role in larger head sizes. In the worst case, a large head size may signal hydrocephalus, or an excessive amount of fluid in the brain’s ventricles. This results in compression of the normal brain tissue and impairs the brain’s neurological function and growth.

(From material found in Wikipedia and the JAMA)

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