Identifying and definitional attributes
|Metadata item type:||Data Element|
|Short name:||Baby head circumference|
The head circumference of a baby at birth, measured in centimetres.
|Data Element Concept:||Product of birth—head circumference|
Value domain attributes
|Maximum character length:||4|
|Unit of measure:||Centimetre (cm)|
Data element attributes
Collection and usage attributes
|Guide for use:|
This data element applies to newborn babies. It enables the calculation of growth centiles which requires the measurement of head circumference and birthweight and/or length. Baby head circumference together with other anthropometric measurements assist with determining whether a baby is small for gestational age or has experienced intrauterine growth restriction. In addition, head circumference measurement enables identification of newborns with microcephaly, either primary or as an association with other pathology, for example, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
Head circumference should preferably be measured in the first hour of life at the same time as the birthweight is measured, to maximise comparability of these two measures in percentile calculations. A narrow, flexible, inelastic tape measure with clearly legible intervals and labels should be used.
Ideally the circumference should be plotted on a percentile chart to ensure it is within the 10th–90th percentile curves and consistent with the length and weight percentile.
The maximum head circumference should be recorded. Often after birth, the newborn’s head has some moulding so care needs to be taken to find the maximum circumference. Generally this is found with the tape passing just above the eyebrows anteriorly, above the top of the ears and around the maximum point of the occiput posteriorly—the Occipito-Frontal Circumference (OFC).
The measurement should be repeated at least twice, and until two measurements are found within 0.5 cm of each other. Record the greater measurement.
Source and reference attributes
National Perinatal Data Development Committee
|Related metadata references:|
Supersedes Birth—head circumference, total centimetres NN[N].N
Has been superseded by Product of birth—head circumference, total centimetres NN[N].N
|Implementation in Data Set Specifications:|