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Identifying and Definitional Attributes
QH 042081 v1
Data Element
Data Element
Information Management Strategic Governance Committee (IMSGC), Queensland Health
The head circumference of a baby at birth, measured in centimetres.
Queensland Perinatal Data Collection (QPDC)
Head circumference at birth (QPDC)
Representational Attributes
Quantitative Value
Permissible Values


Valid values in the range 00.0 - 99.7
Supplementary Values


99.8Not measured
99.9Not stated/unknown
Collection and Usage Attributes
This metadata item applies to newborn babies. It enables the calculation of growth centiles which requires the measurement of head circumference and birth weight and/or length. Baby head circumference together with other anthropometric measurements assist with determining whether a baby is small for gestational age or has experienced intrauterine growth restriction. In addition, head circumference measurement enables identification of newborns with microcephaly, either primary or as an association with other pathology, for example, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

Head circumference should preferably be measured in the first hour of life at the same time as the birthweight is measured, to maximise comparability of these two measures in percentile calculations. A narrow, flexible, inelastic tape measure with clearly legible intervals and labels should be used.

Ideally the circumference should be plotted on a percentile chart to ensure it is within the 10th-90th percentile curves and consistent with the length and weight percentile.
Queensland Perinatal Data Collection (QPDC):
Must be a number to one decimal place in the range 00.0-99.9.
Must not be null.
The maximum head circumference should be recorded. Often after birth, the newborn's head has some moulding so care needs to be taken to find the maximum circumference. Generally this is found with the tape passing just above the eyebrows anteriorly, above the top of the ears and around the maximum point of the occiput posteriorly - the Occipito-Frontal Circumference (OFC).

The measurement should be repeated at least twice, and until two measurements are found within 0.5 cm of each other. Record the greater measurement.

Queensland Perinatal Data Collection (QPDC):
Do not transmit the decimal point. Transmit as a three character string, zero filled from the left.

For national reporting of the Birth-head circumference, total centimetres (NHDD) data element values 99.8 (Not measured) and 99.9 (Not stated/unknown) are mapped to value 999.9 Not measured.
Relational Attributes
Related Metadata References

Related Metadata References_IR

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ViewRelationshipMetadata Item TypeMetadata Item SubtypeNameIdentifier & VersionApproval Status
Has been superseded byData ElementData ElementProduct of birth-head circumference, total centimetresQH 042081 Version 2Current
Implementation in Metadata Sets


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ViewMetadata Item TypeMetadata Item SubtypeNameIdentifer & VersionObligationApproval StatusEffective FromEffective To
Information AssetData CollectionQueensland Perinatal Data Collection (QPDC)QH 020003 Version 1MandatorySuperseded01-Jul-200030-Jun-2019
Data Supply RequirementHHS Service AgreementQueensland Perinatal Data Collection (QPDC) Baby Data Supply Requirement (DSR) 2016-2017QH 020355 Version 1MandatorySuperseded01-Jul-201630-Jun-2017
Data Supply RequirementHHS Service AgreementQueensland Perinatal Data Collection (QPDC) Baby Data Supply Requirement (DSR) 2017-2018QH 020358 Version 1MandatorySuperseded01-Jul-201730-Jun-2018
Data Supply RequirementHHS Service AgreementQueensland Perinatal Data Collection (QPDC) Baby Data Supply Requirement (DSR) 2018-2019QH 020449 Version 1MandatorySuperseded01-Jul-201830-Jun-2019
Source and Reference Attributes
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
METeOR data element: Birth-head circumference, total centimetres NN[N].N, Identifier 568380, Health standard 04/09/2015: https://meteor.aihw.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/568380/meteorItemView/long