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Head Circumference at Birth

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
What's average?

What's large?

Do I need to clarify that I mean the [B]baby's[B] head circumference?

No matter what the measurement, the head is really only about 10cm's at the actual time of vaginal delivery, right? Or did I actually dilate to 13ins and 14.5 ins (ds1 and ds2, respectively)?

Dh and I were talking about this and just wondering. We have a friend who just had a 12in baby and he thought that our two were giants. I thought they were average, but not sure. Ahhh, the conversations we have when both boys are asleep...
post #2 of 20
10 cm should be the diameter not the circumference.

I thought you dilated to 10cm and then the baby's head both squished down and stretched you a bit more?
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
Duh! Diameter vs Circumference! Geometry was never my strong suit...nor trigonometry...nor calculus...nor algebra...

So, what's the average circumference then?
post #4 of 20
a quick google search shows that the average head circumference at birth is around 35cm (13.7 inches). Common range from 33-38.

My 2nd was 15 inches and everyone acted like that was really big. It didn't look big to me.

Dilation is considered complete at 10 but it can and does stretch further than that to allow the baby to pass.
post #5 of 20
My first had little heads, my third was average and I felt my 4th was on the bigger side at 14.5 but her head didn't look big.
Let us not forget that their head also squishes as it comes out so I think both are factors - we can stretch beyond a 10 and they squish a bit while coming out so I believe their heads are bigger after they are out since they aren't being squished.

post #6 of 20
Although dilation is done in centimeters, it seems that often the babies head cicumferance measurement is given in inches. This pretty much ranges from 12-15.5 inches. So possibly the 13 and 14.5 figures from the OP were inches circumference?

But getting back to metric. 10 cm dialation would equal a 31.4 cm (pi*d)circumference opening. Since that's quite a bit smaller than average head size, I think we can assume that there is additional dilation and/or stretching combined with head smooshing going on there.
post #7 of 20
That's where "soft spots" come from, right? Those squishy looking places on the skull that make petting a baby's head somewhat nervous-making and where you can see their heart beat?
post #8 of 20
I think ds was 13.5" around and I've heard that's pretty average.
post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 
The "soft spots" are where the plates of the skull don't meet. The skull plates are soft and able to slide under/over one another to "squish" down in order to fit throught the mother's pelvic outlet.

Ahhhh, once again, I mis-type. I meant "inches" not "centimeters" in the op. (Edited now) Let's see...

1 centimeters = 0.393700787 inches
33.02 centimeters = 13 inches
36.83 centimeters = 14.5 inches

So at "complete" we are dilated to 31.4 centimeters in circumferance or 12.3622047 inches. As if birth wasn't impressive enough!
post #10 of 20
I'm glad to read this thread b/c my aunt just gave birth a couple of weeks ago (medicated, hospital - it wasn't an elective C because I got her some books on it, but anyway ...) and the Dr. did this really horrible, deep episiotomy on her. Everyone keeps saying in awe - well, her son had a 14 inch head!

I just keep thinking that she probably didn't need it anyway and now the dr. is just covering his you-know-what.
post #11 of 20
My baby's head was 14 1/2 inches with no molding. Everyone remarked that he had the head shape of a few-months-old infant, at least. I also ended up with an episiotomy after amost an hour of pushing...but I still have to wonder what would have happened without it. (As far as I can tell I had no other tears.)
post #12 of 20
My 1st ds was 7lb 15 oz head 14.5 in... DS2 -8lb12oz head 14.5... DS 3 -9lb8oz head 14.75 in. My mother laughed and said she can guess my pelvic size
post #13 of 20
My dd had a 14.75inch head she was 8lb, 2oz
post #14 of 20
My head is written as 19 around... they thought I had water on the brain (can't remember. Hydroencephalous?). THAT'S big.
I didn't have it, I probably had IUGR. My head is still kinda big, but not abnormally so.

My mom had me vaginally. No pain killers.
post #15 of 20
my sons head was 14". what impressed me the most is that his chest was 14.75"! nearly an inch bigger. i remember yelling OUCHIES when his shoulders were born and after seeing his measurements i'm not at all suprised i felt that.

everyone kept telling me he had a huge head although he was so chubby all over it looked small to me. but then he was a big'un at 9lbs 10oz.
post #16 of 20
My DD's head was 14", but she was only 7 pounds, 4 ounces and 18" long. And she came so freakin' fast that her head didn't mold - seriously, round as a cantaloupe. She was a wee little thing but her head seemed gigantic, at least to me. Surprisingly, I only needed one long stitch, thanks to some good support while I was pushing.

I say this was karmic revenge for me saying, when I was pregnant, that I didn't care how big the baby was, as long as it had a little-bitty pinhead. Funny in retrospect!
post #17 of 20
our smallest was 14, the others were 15. babies ranged from 7-9lbs and Thats average I guess.
post #18 of 20
Both my kids had 14" heads. One was 7 lbs. 9 oz. and the other was 9 lbs. 1 oz. but their heads were the same, I think that is funny. Neither had any molding and with the second I only had the tiniest tear. The vagina really is amazing! I remember reading with my first that 13.9"-14" is average for newborn boys so probably a little smaller for girls?

I think the 10 cm diameter of dilation versus x inches of head circumference confuses a lot of people. I remember having to sit down with a calculator and convert it all after my first was born, because it just didn't seem possible!
post #19 of 20
When I had my older son, I was told the average head circumference was 13".
Everyone was commenting because my son's head was 16" at birth - it was HUGE. He still has a big head, though he's really started to grow into it over the past few years. Yes, he DID have a conehead. That was my first comment on seeing my newly born, firstborn child... "He's got a CONEHEAD!" lol... Poor kid. I often wonder if his head was so large because he was so late. But his weight was normal (8lbs, 4ozs).

I remember knowing he had a big head, because beside having to push for an hour to get just his head out, I couldn't buy any of those cute little baby hats for him - when he was a little boy, I always had to get adult hats for him or open the back latch to the biggest point.

So, your babes sound normal to me. My second son had a "normal" sized head (14").
post #20 of 20
Originally Posted by LaceyTX
My baby's head was 14 1/2 inches with no molding. Everyone remarked that he had the head shape of a few-months-old infant, at least.
Me too. I did tear... but then I was in a modified lithotomy position and my DD was posterior with her hand up near her face. It's amazing what the human body can do
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