Dr. Dunlap keeps showing us this graph every time she talks about our child’s growth. What the heck is that thing and what does it even mean?
Growth charts (more commonly known as growth curves) help your doctor see whether or not your child is following an expected standard of growth in several parameters: weight, length/height, head circumference and BMI (after age 3).
It is important to understand that it truly doesn’t matter where your child falls on the growth curve as long as they are plotting along approximately the same percentile over time. For example, if your child’s weight suddenly drops by several percentiles, it could indicate illness, poor nutrition or other problems. Conversely, if their weight suddenly increases by several percentiles, it might indicate overfeeding or other issues.
The growth curves take into account normal growth spurts and slowing of growth at the expected ages.
There are actually many different growth curves to account for the fact that children with specific needs don’t always grow according to the typical curve. These include, but aren’t limited to: Downs Syndrome Curve, Turner’s Syndrome Curve, Premature Infant Curve
If your child doesn’t appear to be following their curve appropriately, Dr. Dunlap will address that with you. She will show you your child’s growth curve at every well child check.