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Normal Head Circumference for Newborns and What Smaller Head Sizes Mean

By: Anapol Weiss

Having a normal head circumference for a 3-month old, approximately 15¼ to 16¼ inches can be an important indicator of a newborn’s health and is one of the key measurements your pediatrician will take regularly through this important developmental stage. Having a significantly smaller than average newborn head circumference could indicate the presence of certain conditions, some of which are avoidable with proper medical care.


When discussing a lower than normal head circumference for a 3-month old, you may also hear the terms “microcephaly” and “microencephaly” used interchangeably. In this condition, the head and brain do not grow at the expected rate, exhibiting a difference of 2 standard deviations or more from the normal infant head circumference range. This can indicate that the child’s brain or bones are not growing properly, in which case medical interventions may be necessary.

While some cases of microcephaly are congenital, others are acquired, often as the result of a traumatic brain injury at or near the time of birth. Often linked to either asphyxiation or hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), this occurs when the brain is starved of oxygen, either by the child becoming entangled in the umbilical cord or other reasons. These cases are often avoidable and have been linked to developmental delay, disabilities, and even cerebral palsy.

During childbirth, the child is subjected to pressure and compression during contractions from the womb until it’s born that can affect newborn head circumference even in normal births. In some cases, an infant who has not achieved the proper birthing position can become cramped, the umbilical cord may wrap around the child, or the umbilical cord could itself become constricted, keeping the baby from getting the oxygen it needs. Hospital staff monitor for signs of these conditions so appropriate steps, such as an emergency c-section, can be taken to ease the child’s distress and reduce the risk of injury.

After the child is born, head measurements are among the vital statistics collected, but an infant’s head circumference measurements at birth are often inconclusive as the newborn’s head is still soft and the skull unfused. When they measure for a normal head circumference for a 3-month old at the child’s pediatrician, it offers more accurate insight into any potential abnormalities.

What To Do If Your Child Has A Traumatic Brain Injury

If you believe your child may have been injured resulting in a smaller than normal head circumference for a 3-month old, you need to consult an experienced personal injury attorney. Not all cases of microcephaly are from an injury, and those that are may not be attributable to avoidable causes or incorrect medical decisions. Your attorney will talk to you about your personal situation and help you understand your options.

Fighting For Just Compensation

If your infant’s injury was the result of malpractice or negligence, we’ll stand by you to get the compensation you deserve. In cases of hypoxia or HIE, proper monitoring and intervention can help restore proper oxygen flow and prevent the development of microcephaly.

If your care did not meet accepted standards and resulted in less-than-normal head circumference for a 3-month old, we’ll work to get you the settlement or judgment you’ll need to offset medical bills and provide your child the care they may need as they grow.

You don’t have to suffer through the financial and emotional hardship of a TBI to your child alone. Contact us today for a free consultation with a personal lawyer who’s ready to make your case their cause. We’ll help you fight for the money you need to put your life back together. Call Anapol Weiss today.