Back to Journals » Research and Reports in Neonatology » Volume 8

Trend of head circumference as a predictor of microcephaly among term infants born at a regional center in Malaysia between 2011-2015

Authors Sutan R, Yeong ML, Mahdy ZA, Shuhaila A, Rohana J, Ishak S, Shamsuddin K, Ismail A, Idris IB, Sulong S

Received 2 May 2017

Accepted for publication 26 October 2017

Published 25 January 2018 Volume 2018:8 Pages 9—17


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Robert Schelonka

Rosnah Sutan,1 May Luu Yeong,1 Zaleha Abdullah Mahdy,2 Ahmad Shuhaila,2 Jaafar Rohana,3 Shareena Ishak,3 Khadijah Shamsuddin,1 Aniza Ismail,1 Idayu Badillah Idris,1 Saperi Sulong4

1Department of Community Health, 2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 3Department of Pediatrics, 4Department of Medical Records, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Center, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Introduction: The aim of this study was to determine the trend of head circumference as predictor of microcephaly among term infants born in a teaching hospital in Malaysia from 2011 to 2015.
Methodology: This was a cross-sectional study using data from the electronic birth census. The independent variables were mothers’ age and height, parity, birth weight and birth length. All term newborns, both alive and stillbirth, with 37–41 completed gestational weeks, and a birth weight of at least 500 g was extracted from the census.
Results: A total of 26,503 newborns fulfilled the inclusion criteria (13,655 males, 12,840 females). The mean head circumferences for male and female newborns were 32.93 cm (± SD 1.32) and 32.56 cm (± SD 1.31). The average head circumference for Malaysian newborns was found to be smaller than the World Health Organization Standard Growth Chart for Term Infant. A total of 17.6% (n=4,669) of the total samples were observed to have microcephaly. Among them, 73.2% (n=3,419) were non-proportionate microcephaly with normal birth weight of 2.5kg and above. Bivariate analyses showed that all independent variables were significant predictors of microcephaly. Both simple and multiple logistic regressions demonstrated that low birth weight was the most significant predictors for microcephaly (adjusted OR 12.14, 95% CI 10.80, 13.65).
Conclusion: There is an increasing trend of microcephaly across the years and the low birth weight was noted as the main predictor of microcephaly. Future studies are needed to determine the possible cause of increasing microcephaly by controlling for birth weight and gestational age of the neonates.

Keywords: SGA, perinatal, growth chart, IUGR, birth parameter, occipito-frontal

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]