Get answers to your child's growth, nutrition, and feeding behavior questions.
Head circumference is a measurement of a child' s head around its largest area -- it measures the distance from above the eyebrows and ears and around the back of the head.
During routine check-ups, the distance is measured in centimeters or inches and compared with:
Measurement of the head circumference is an important part of routine well baby care. During the well baby exam, a change from the expected normal head growth may alert the doctor of a possible problem.
For example, a head that is larger than normal or that is increasing in size faster than normal may be a sign of several problems, including water on the brain (hydrocephalus).
A very small head size (called microcephaly) or very slow growth rate may be a sign that the brain is not developing properly.
Kimmel SR, Ratliff-Schaub K. Growth and development. In: Rakel RE, ed. Textbook of Family Medicine. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 31.
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