Product of birth—head circumference, total centimetres NN[N].N

Identifying and definitional attributes

Metadata item type:Data Element
Short name:Baby head circumference
METeOR identifier:695727
Registration status:Health, Superseded 03/12/2020
Tasmanian Health, Endorsed 03/07/2020

The head circumference of a baby at birth, measured in centimetres.



Data Element Concept:Product of birth—head circumference

Value domain attributes

Representational attributes

Representation class:Total
Data type:Number
Maximum character length:4
Supplementary values:
999.9Not measured
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.

Collection methods:

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

Submitting organisation:

National Perinatal Data Development Committee

Relational attributes

Related metadata references:

Supersedes Birth—head circumference, total centimetres NN[N].N Health, Superseded 12/12/2018, Tasmanian Health, Archived 03/07/2020

Has been superseded by Product of birth—head circumference, total centimetres NN[N].N Health, Standard 03/12/2020

Implementation in Data Set Specifications:
All attributes +

Perinatal NBEDS 2019–20 Health, Superseded 20/11/2019

DSS specific attributes +

Perinatal NBEDS 2020–21 Health, Superseded 03/12/2020

DSS specific attributes +