Abdominal girth is the measurement of the distance around the abdomen at a specific point. This measurement is most often made at the level of the belly button (navel). Abdominal girth is used to diagnose and monitor the following:
If you decide to measure your child’s abdominal girth at home:
- Mark exact area of the measurement on either side of umbilicus at top edge and bottom edge of tape with a pen or marker.
- Complete the measurements at the same time each day and before meals.
- Document finding on a data sheet to share information with healthcare provider
Parents/caregiver/guardian need to contact a healthcare provider, when:
- Abdominal girth varies significantly from the child’s baselines.
- Rapid distention of the child’s abdomen is visualized and verify by measurement
- Child complains of ongoing abdominal pain.
- Paper measuring tape marked in cetmetes
- Ballpoint pen or marker
Example of an Unexpected Situation
- Child’s girth measurement is significantly different from previous measurement.
- Remeasure girth, ensuring that the tape measure is straight and not twisted under the child, that the measure is obtained in the same place as previous measures, and that the tape measure is placed snugly, but not cinched, around waistline.
- If Measure is still significantly different, assess child for abdominal and respiratory distress and elevate the head of the bed to reduce pressure on the diaphragm.
- Notify health care prescriber