My baby's head circumference-need support - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 19 Old 05-15-2008, 01:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi
I think I might be obsessing a little but still need support. My baby girl is 4 months and 1 week old and had her dr's appt. today. Overall, she looks good and the dr. had no concerns. However, her head circumference is on the small size. She sort of dropped off a bit. Just at or below the 5th percentile. HC was 15 inches at 2 months and at 4 months one week its 15 1/4. ??? Its only grown 1/4 of an inch. She is developing normally, and meeting all her milestones. Her height is in the 50th % and weight in the 10th. She is long and thin. I dont look at her head and say, boy thats a small head! But she is definitely petite. I am also on ther smaller side being 5 foot 2 1/2 108 lbs and small boned. My husband is bigger boned and 6 foot 2. The dr. said he's not worried as long as shes developing normally theres nothing to really worry about. But how can I not, as a mom wondering why her head isn't catching up with her weight and her height. I trust my dr. but am kind of freaking out about it. I keep thinking negative thoughts like "whatif her head doesnt grow normally?". Maybe I am just being paranoid but I cant help it! Any other moms have head circumference issues and baby is normal/abnormal?
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#2 of 19 Old 05-15-2008, 01:43 AM
 
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Really? 15 is small? My LO had a 14.5" head at birth and was 16" last measured at ~3-4 months and they told me it's huge.

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#3 of 19 Old 05-15-2008, 01:45 AM
 
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My DD has a smaller head. It's always been in the low percentile. Typically a baby's head is out of proportion with it's body. DD's head looks proportionate. I have never thought twice about a possible problem. My advice is to try and relax a bit. Like the doc said, as long as she is developing normal, don't worry. Wait til her next appointment to see how her growth is then. Being a parent brings upon a whole new world of concerns doesn't it?

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#4 of 19 Old 05-15-2008, 01:52 AM
 
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Does her head look misshapen at all? I ask this because sometimes small head circumference can mean the bones of the skull have fused prematurely, but I'm pretty sure there are always visible/noticeable signs of this--prominent ridges or bulges in the head, etc.
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#5 of 19 Old 05-15-2008, 04:55 AM
 
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Head circumference is an easy measurement to screw up so I request a repeat to be sure they are measuring correctly if it's worrying you.
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#6 of 19 Old 05-15-2008, 07:09 AM
 
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I was told by the doc at 6 weeks that ds had a small head too. I was worried as you are but was then told a couple weeks later by another doc that he was perfect. I decided to stop the wbv at that point. Ds is 1 now and is developing just fine. Don't worry, as long as baby is growing and you can see she is developing and meeting milestones that is the main thing.

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#7 of 19 Old 05-15-2008, 07:40 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by becoming View Post
Does her head look misshapen at all? I ask this because sometimes small head circumference can mean the bones of the skull have fused prematurely, but I'm pretty sure there are always visible/noticeable signs of this--prominent ridges or bulges in the head, etc.

this is what happened with my ds. he had a ridge on the top if his head in the middle and no large soft spot on the top. you couldn't see the ridge but you could feel it. his head was still growing though- it just would have grown in an abnormal way over time. in fact, looking back at pictures of him at 5 mos, we can def see a pointed look to the top of his head (although at the time we never noticed).

my point in posting is to reassure you, with a caveat. i'm sure your baby is ok. this is a rare condition, only about 3 in 1000 have it (called craniosynostosis)! but doctors don't always pick up on it- i asked about the ridge at ds's 2 month visit, the doctor said it was nothing to worry about. at the 4 month visit, we saw a different doctor who noticed it herself and referred us to a specialist. the specialist said the ridge was a major red flag and tsk tsked that the first doctor didn't realize what it was. with these types of surgeries, the younger they are, the better, so of course we were upset with that first doctor.

again, if the doctor (or you) haven't noticed anything odd, i'm sure it's fine. the head is a tough measurement to take!
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#8 of 19 Old 05-15-2008, 09:29 AM
 
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My doc informed me that percentiles are based on white kids in Denver, Colorado because it's in the middle of the country, and they're basically meaningless. FWIW.

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#9 of 19 Old 05-15-2008, 12:03 PM
 
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Percentiles are BS. Kids develop at different rates, just because the head is one percentile does not mean everything else should be the same percentile. DS1 was gigantic and off the charts for everything by 3 mos, not he's 5 and perfectly proportioned. DS2 is tiny and fell off the charts for weight (in about the -10 to 20%) and his head is in the 50% - go figure. His head does not look big at all.

Charts really are silly, as long as your baby's head is not noticeably tiny (like the shrunken head guy from beetlejuice) then I wouldn't worry much.

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#10 of 19 Old 05-15-2008, 05:17 PM - Thread Starter
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"Charts really are silly, as long as your baby's head is not noticeably tiny (like the shrunken head guy from beetlejuice) then I wouldn't worry much."

LOL thats really funny!
No, she doesnt look disproportionate.

Thanks for responding and puting my mind at ease.
Lisa
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#11 of 19 Old 05-15-2008, 05:22 PM
 
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I posted nearly the same thing a few weeks ago! They really know how to mak us worry.
Our babies have close to the same stats. I wouldn't worry if she is growing and developing fine.

Trying to balance a preschooler and peace....
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#12 of 19 Old 05-15-2008, 11:21 PM
 
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Not that I really care, but my DS is 4 months today. As of Tuesday he weighted 13lb 14oz(10-25th), was 24.5inches(10-25th), and his head was 15.5(below 5th). My dd was always small and at 2 is still under 25lbs. I wouldn't fret personally.....

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#13 of 19 Old 05-16-2008, 01:52 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nausicaamom View Post
Head circumference is an easy measurement to screw up so I request a repeat to be sure they are measuring correctly if it's worrying you.
I agree that this doesn't seem to be the easiest to measure accurately. We've noticed that the various medical asst.s at our doc's office all measure in different places, which would really affect the outcomes! I wouldn't worry, I'm sure she's fine.

lucky mom to Oliver, 8/6/07, and Finn, 11/28/10, and wife to DH
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#14 of 19 Old 07-19-2008, 02:54 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aprilv View Post
this is what happened with my ds. he had a ridge on the top if his head in the middle and no large soft spot on the top. you couldn't see the ridge but you could feel it. his head was still growing though- it just would have grown in an abnormal way over time. in fact, looking back at pictures of him at 5 mos, we can def see a pointed look to the top of his head (although at the time we never noticed).

my point in posting is to reassure you, with a caveat. i'm sure your baby is ok. this is a rare condition, only about 3 in 1000 have it (called craniosynostosis)! but doctors don't always pick up on it- i asked about the ridge at ds's 2 month visit, the doctor said it was nothing to worry about. at the 4 month visit, we saw a different doctor who noticed it herself and referred us to a specialist. the specialist said the ridge was a major red flag and tsk tsked that the first doctor didn't realize what it was. with these types of surgeries, the younger they are, the better, so of course we were upset with that first doctor.

again, if the doctor (or you) haven't noticed anything odd, i'm sure it's fine. the head is a tough measurement to take!
Posting late to this, but I'm going to second this post. Our son has craniosynostosis, and his head grows fine for overall circumference. It's the shape that isn't right. There are 4 major sutures that are the usual culprits for early fusion and it occurs in 1 in 2000 births, depending on the type. You would see odd ridges, unusual head shape, and possible developmental problems. Head shapes can be triangular, egg shaped, long head viewed from the side or asymmetrical face (in our son's case, the latter is the issue for him). With the exception of metopic (suture in mid forehead), they all require surgical correction for best outcome for the child. Helmets alone will NOT fix it.

That said, it sounds like your cutie just has a small head. Doesn't mean anything really and they are just as smart as any other kids. Try not to worry. If you think head shape is odd, press your pedi. Most have NEVER seen craniosynostosis!
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#15 of 19 Old 07-19-2008, 10:39 AM
 
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They mess up head measurements all the time! In fact, at ds's 6m visit the dr came in and immediately grabbed the tape measure after reading the chart. I asked her why and she looked at me and said "they messed up the head circ". She re-did it, and it was 25% (like always) and the nurse had it at the 90%. If the dr trusted that reading she would have had to send us to neurology for a scan. So, if everything is going well and developing normally, I would say it's a miss-reading. Also, if the dr was concerned at all they would have sent you for a neuro consult. But I think the worry is normal (for me at least!).

Happy Mommy to one amazing girl (6y) and one sweet boy (2y), and wife to DH since 7/03 : :
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#16 of 19 Old 07-19-2008, 10:57 AM
 
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Posting late to this thread.

http://kidshealth.org/parent/growth/...th_charts.html

Quote:
Why Is Head Circumference Measured?
In babies, head circumference (the distance around the largest part of the head) can provide clues about brain development. If a baby's head is bigger or smaller than most other kids', or the head circumference stops increasing or increases quickly, it may indicate a problem.

For example, an unusually large head may be a sign of hydrocephalus, a buildup of fluid inside the brain. A head that's smaller than average may be a sign that the brain is not developing properly or has stopped growing.

So no, the charts aren't silly and should be taken seriously.

How is your child doing? Have you had another Ped visist since you originally posted this?

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#17 of 19 Old 07-19-2008, 01:33 PM
 
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We had the same thing happen at our 4 month appointment. Her head was 15" and had not grown in a few months. Now at 7 months she is completely where she should be with her head size.
Ask them to measure it again, with a different nurse/doctor. Its usually just measured wrong.

Trying to balance a preschooler and peace....
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#18 of 19 Old 07-19-2008, 02:28 PM
 
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Some people just have smaller heads. My babies heads were always about the 75% while their heights and weights were always above 90%. They are fine. It's usually genetic, my DH has kind of a narrow rather than wide head. As long as your baby is hitting milestones and learning new things, she is fine.

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#19 of 19 Old 08-19-2008, 01:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Turns out, the nurse measured wrong.
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