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Understanding baby growth charts

Your baby's growth is documented at every appointment they attend in the 'red book' or personal child health record.

Key measurements include their weight and length. Length is the equivalent of height, but takes into account the fact that babies can't stand.

There are lines on the growth charts, called centile lines. Because children grow at different rates, depending on whether they are a girl or a boy, or where they start on the graph, the lines help track healthy development.

Babies usually stick fairly closely to their original centile line, but can go up or down a little over the months ahead.

Centile lines are based on average development of 100 UK babies. If one child out of this 100 is on the 50th length centile, 49 children would be shorter, but 50 would be taller.

Because children are anything but average, health professionals will look at the lines taking into account other factors, such as ethnic background, whether the baby was born prematurely and any health conditions they have.

Baby boys' growth chart


Baby girls' growth chart


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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on December 31, 2015

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