Forgotten Diseases Research Foundation


Size at Birth by Gestational Age

The charts on this page were created by analyzing data from a study of size at birth in Malawian newborns (1). The study used data from ~1,400 babies born in the southern Malawian district of Chikwawa. There was a high prevalence of malaria in pregnant women in this area. Thus, the charts may underestimate the expected size of Malawian newborns whose mothers live in favorable socioeconomic circumstances. We compared data for full-term Malawian births (37-41 completed weeks gestation) with data from full-term Nigerian newborns of affluent mothers (2). The averages for the two groups are below:



Head (girls)

33.7 cm

34.6 cm

Head (boys)

34.2 cm

34.9 cm

Length (girls)

47.7 cm

49.2 cm

Length (boys)

48.2 cm

49.2 cm

Weight (girls)

2.97 kg

3.25 kg

Weight (boys)

3.07 kg

3.34 kg

Head Circumference


  1. 1. Kalanda BF et al. (2005) Anthropometry of Malawian live births between 35 and 41 weeks of gestation. Ann Hum Biol  32(5):639-649. Abstract on PubMed.
  2. 2. Patwari AK et al. (1988) Anthropometric standards of privileged neonates in Maiduguri, Nigeria. Cent Afr J Med  34(4):78-84. Abstract on PubMed.     Full text from publisher.

Page last modified on 18 April 2022.