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Newborn's Growth & Measurement

Over the next few months you will be able to see how much your baby grows and develops. At each visit to the pediatrician during the first year, your baby's head circumference, weight and height will be measured to indicate her general health and well being. The normal range during any age is very wide but there is an average range to gauge growth changes. The general practice will be for your doctor to plot the numbers on a chart of national averages for children of the same sex and age. (This will not apply to premature babies.)

Percentile Charts

This is a graph which has printed 'centile curves' to depict the measurements of a large number of babies. Your doctor may mention baby's percentile to you - an example is if your 2 month old is in the 75th percentile for weight this simply means that 75% of the 2 month olds in the country are lighter and 25% are heavier than your baby. Conversely if your baby's weight is on the 25th percentile curve it means that 75% of all babies measured will be heavier and 25% will be lighter than your baby. These measurements serve the purpose of being a general guide to keep track of your baby's development. It is important to remember that the rate of growth and not baby's exact position on the charts is what counts. Parents should not be overly concerned about percentiles - if at all they should watch out for baby's steady growth which is much more important at this stage.

How is Baby measured..

Head circumference. Your baby's head and brain continues to grow during the first year unlike her other vital organs which are fully formed at birth. Using a measuring tape the pediatrician will measure baby's head by placing the tape just above her eyebrows and ear and around the back of her head. This measurement is essential as the growth reflects the growth of the brain. An unusually large or small head circumference may be an indication of an abnormality of the brain.

At birth: the normal range is between 31 -39 cm (12-15¼ in) with 35 cm being the average.

At 4 weeks: the normal range is between 33 - 40 cm (13-15¾ in)

At 6 weeks: the normal range is between 34 - 42 cm (13¼-16½ in)


Newborns differ greatly in weight; nutrition, placenta and race issues influence baby's weight. Term babies' weight lies in the 2.5-4.5 kg range (5½-10 lbs). A woman with a shorter pregnancy will have a lighter baby. Girls generally weigh lesser and twins are likely to weigh less than a single baby. It is normal for baby to lose weight in the first few days post birth as her body adjusts to the feeding routines. The usual weight loss at this time is about 115-170 g (4-6 oz), after which baby starts to regain her birth weight steadily over the next 10 days. Steady weight gain assures us that food intake is sufficient and absorption is good. For the first three months baby should gain an approximately 150-200 g (about 6 oz). For accuracy baby will be totally undressed and placed on a scale which has been set to a zero. However it is not unusual to dress baby in a vest and nappy to prevent distress.

At birth: the normal range is between 2½ - 4½ kg (5½-10 lbs)

At 4 weeks: the normal range is between 3 - 6 kg (6½-13 lbs)

At 6 weeks: the normal range is between 3.2 - 6½ kg (7-14 lbs)

Length/height Until baby is old enough to stand still on his own, he will be measured lying down. Sometimes a special device with a head and foot board will be used for accuracy. A long baby doesn't necessarily mean he is going to be a tall adult. Further, length measurements can be wrong because babies this age tend to lie curled up - measuring length depends on how far the baby's legs can be stretched.

At birth: the normal length is between 45 - 57 cm (17½-22½ in)

At 4 weeks: the normal length is between 48 - 60 cm (19-23½ in)

At 6 weeks: the normal length is between 51 - 62 cm (20-24¼ in)

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Disclaimer: Information contained on this Web site is intended solely to make available general summarized information to the public. It should not be substituted for medical advice. It is your responsibility to consult with your pediatrician and/or health care provider before acting on any advice on this web site. While OEM endeavors to provide up-to-date and accurate information, it is not liable for any advice whatsoever rendered nor is it liable for the completeness or timeliness of any information on this site.
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