Friday, January 18, 2013

Tracking your Childs Growth

The most important part of the doctor visit for our girls is when they are measured and weighed. Both of my girls are preemies. Samantha was born 6 weeks early weighing 4 pounds 6 ounces and Madison was born 4 weeks early weighing 5 pounds 8 ounces. It is always interesting to see how they compare to other children who are the same age.

So how does the growth charts work?

At your childs doctors visit, they measure your childs length, weight and head circumference and mark those numbers on a chart of national averages of children who are the same age and sex. If your child is in the 75th percentile this means that 75 percent of children weigh the same or less and 25 percent weigh more.

Since both of my girls were born prematurely, we have to take their gestational age to plot on the growth part as opposed to their birth age. For example, Madison was born 4 weeks early, therefore I would compare her to other babies who are 4 weeks younger than her. This is normally done until the child reaches 2 years old when they are said to have caught up to children who are the same age.

In the past few years, I have reviewed many growth charts that are available online. The easiest growth chart to navigate, read and use was the one on the Dietitians of Canada website. Each chart is printable and is available for children all the way up to 19 years old.

When Samantha was first born I use to worry about which percentile she would fall into. Over the years I have come to realize that growth charts are just a general guide to assess a childs growth. Each child will grow at their own rate and what is important is that you see a steady increase in growth and development. 


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