how to take measurements in babies


Anthropometric measurements in babies make it possible to monitor their health status to prevent and / or detect diseases early.
The most used measurements are:

  • Weight
  • Length (height)
  • Perimeters: brachial (arm) and cephalic (cranial).

Assessing the weight, length, and head circumference help identify the normal and adequate values and if the infant is growing properly. The upper arm circumference helps to determine the nutritional status.

Measurement Techniques for Babies

Taking the Weight of a Baby

  • Up to 2 years it must be done on a special scale called Baby Scale.
  • The infant must be without clothes and without a diaper, should be placed carefully in the tray of the baby scale, it must not be touched or held while reading the measurement.
  • For more precision take the measurement several times until they give two equal measurements.
  • If you do not have a baby scale available, you can use a very well calibrated normal scale and weigh the baby in the mother's arms, then the mother's weight is discounted.

how to take weight of a baby with a Baby Scale

Taking the Length of a Baby

  • Up to 2 years of age this measurement must be performed in an infantometer.
  • Two people are needed to perform it: One person must properly position the baby's head on the upper base and the other person must support the baby's feet helping to stretch them, placing the movable part of the equipment on the soles of the feet.
  • It is one of the most complicated measurements to take, so it must be carried out several times for more precision and safety in the measurement.

how to take lenght of a baby with an infantometer

Taking the Brachial Perimeter

  • It is taken from 6 months with a MUAC tape measure according to age.
  • First, the length must be measured to know the midpoint of the arm: Bend the infant's arm 90 °, position the tape with the 0 on the acromion (shoulder) and extend to the olecranon (elbow). Mark the arm in the middle of this measurement.
  • With the arm relaxed, place the CIMDER tape on the midpoint mark around the arm and without exerting pressure, read the measurement and the color indicated on the tape.
  • For more precision, take several measurements that do not differ by 1 mm.

how to measure mid upper arm circumference

muac tape measure Mid-Upper Arm Circumference MUAC Tape Measure

Taking Head Circunference of a Baby

  • This measurement takes from birth and is an important neurological indicator.
  • The infant must be supported by the guardian or if possible seated, must not have ornaments or caps on the head.
  • Place the head circumference tape with the 0 starting at the frown and the measurement should be read there. It should be around the most prominent posterior part of the head, the superciliary arch (the most prominent bone of the eyebrows) is taken as a reference. The headband must be at the same height in front of and behind the head, always horizontally

taking head perimeter

head circumference tape measureAnthroFlex Head Circumference Tape Measure


The measures are evaluated with the reference tables offered by the WHO, always according to the age of the infant. 

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