Frequent question: What does it mean if my baby has a small head circumference?

Microcephaly is a condition where a baby’s head is much smaller than expected. During pregnancy, a baby’s head grows because the baby’s brain grows. Microcephaly can occur because a baby’s brain has not developed properly during pregnancy or has stopped growing after birth, which results in a smaller head size.

When should I be concerned about my baby’s head size?

If your baby’s head is measuring small or is not growing: Your baby’s doctor may be concerned about failure to thrive (when a child doesn’t take in enough calories or is unable to utilize them and doesn’t grow properly as a result).

Should I be concerned if my baby’s head is small?

Chances are your doctor will detect microcephaly at the baby’s birth or at a regular well-baby checkup. However, if you think your baby’s head is smaller than normal or isn’t growing as it should, talk to your doctor.

Can babies have small heads normal?

Microcephaly is a condition where a baby’s head is much smaller than normal. It is most often present at birth (congenital). Most children with microcephaly also have a small brain and intellectual disability. Some children with small heads have normal intelligence.

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What does a small head circumference mean?

Microcephaly is a condition where the head (circumference) is smaller than normal. Microcephaly may be caused by genetic abnormalities or by drugs, alcohol, certain viruses, and toxins that are exposed to the fetus during pregnancy and damage the developing brain tissue.

What is abnormal head circumference?

Macrocephaly refers to an overly large head. It’s often a symptom of complications or conditions in the brain. There’s a standard used to define macrocephaly: The circumference of a person’s head is more than two standard deviations above average for their age. Or, their head is larger than the 98th percentile.

Preliminary studies have suggested links between brain size, head size, and IQ, but head circumference isn’t directly correlated with intellect. Among the many things that expectant parents hope for in a newborn is, a big head — maybe not so much at birth, but shortly thereafter.

Is a small head a sign of Down syndrome?

Height and weight — Babies with Down syndrome are usually smaller than other babies, and they have smaller heads. They may also grow more slowly and may never reach the same heights that typical children do.

Are small babies healthy?

Some babies are small because their parents are small. But most babies who are small for gestational age have growth problems that happen during pregnancy. When the unborn baby does not get enough oxygen or nutrients during pregnancy, they don’t grow as much as normal. The condition is often suspected before birth.

How do I know if my baby has microcephaly?

After birth, a baby with microcephaly may have these signs and symptoms:

  1. Small head size.
  2. Failure to thrive (slow weight gain and growth)
  3. High-pitched crying.
  4. Little appetite or problems with feeding.
  5. Muscle spasms.
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What is the average head circumference of a 3 month old baby?

Data Table of Infant Head Circumference-for-age Charts

Age (in months) 3rd Percentile Head Circumference (in centimeters) 97th Percentile Head Circumference (in centimeters)
1.5 35.78126 41.94138
2.5 37.5588 43.28181
3.5 38.89944 44.32733
4.5 39.95673 45.17877

What is a normal size baby head?

The average newborn’s head circumference measures about 13 3⁄4 inches (35 cm), growing to about 15 inches (38 cm) by one month. Because boys tend to be slightly larger than girls, their heads are larger, though the average difference is less than 1⁄2 inch (1 cm).

Can babies with microcephaly live normal lives?

There is no standard life expectancy for microcephalic babies because outcomes depend on so many factors, and the severity of the condition can range from mild to severe. Babies with mild microcephaly may still meet the same milestones like speaking, sitting and walking as a child without the disorder.

What causes small head size?

The growth of the skull is determined by brain growth. Brain growth takes place while a baby is in the womb and during infancy. Conditions that affect brain growth can cause smaller than normal head size. These include infections, genetic disorders, and severe malnutrition.

What does head circumference measure in a child?

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.

At what age is microcephaly diagnosed?

Early diagnosis of microcephaly can sometimes be made by fetal ultrasound. Ultrasounds have the best diagnosis possibility if they are made at the end of the second trimester, around 28 weeks, or in the third trimester of pregnancy. Often diagnosis is made at birth or at a later stage.

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