A Baby growth chart tends to induce a lot of anxiety and confusion in parents and more than once new parents find themselves wondering about their child’s head circumference, height and weight percentiles. Parents are a competitive lot, seeing your baby bigger and healthier than their peers can induce a sense of pride and a sense of worry if vice versa seems the case.
A lot of times however, growth patterns are based off a standard curve. Babies come in different shapes and sizes, literally. If your baby appears a tad bit smaller than their peers, it’s not a cause for alarm. Pediatricians have multiple ways to look at a growth chart before they determine whether a child is undernourished or have erratic growth patterns. Here are a few reasons to tell you why growth charts are important, even the rough ones you keep at home.
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Growth Charts were first introduced in the US in 1977. With more patient and consumer exposure parent and pediatrician relationship evolved, today doctors regularly share information with parents to keep them aware of their child’s growth rate and patterns. However, it does become problematic when parent want their kids close to the 100 percentile, like the growth of the baby was a school paper that required the best grading of 100 percentile.
Pediatricians today routinely share growth charts with parents due to parents demanding for more medical involvement in their children’s cases. Basically a growth chart has three fundamental scales to measure a child’s appropriate growth ratio
All of these are measured against a “growth curve” and this is a ratio and not a standard. Different children have different ratios and different percentile scores; there are no fixed standards for the growth chart.
Sometimes parents tend to confuse the percentile lines, namely, 5%, 10%, 25%, 50%, 75%, 90%, and 95% as a glorified score card. Whereas, the child might fall under any specific ratio and be quite normal, not every child is meant to be near the 100th percentile.
These percentile lines on a growth chart represent the average height, weight or head circumference. All of these lines are running parallel to each other. Here is how a newbie parent can understand the chart, suppose a child’s growth line is near the 50th percentile line. There is no need for alarm; it simply means that out of a 100 normal children your baby’s age, 50 will be bigger and 50 smaller. Having your baby in the 95th percentile will mean that out of a 100 babies your baby’s growth is more than 95 babies.
The point of the chart is to measure the ratio; more than a higher percentage, good consistent growth is important. To keep a track of the baby’s health and whether they are receiving proper nourishment especially during the breastfeeding stage is very important. If a child is falling off a specific curve of the growth chart then it is a matter of serious concern. A child could have any of the following issues if the growth ratios are not proportionate.
A Growth chart is standard procedure with all babies these days. A pediatrician will provide the chart as a routine part of a child’s checkup. Why is this important? A growth chart, though confusing for parents, is an incredible tool for keeping track of a baby’s growth patterns. For pediatricians and other health care professionals it provides a good comparison and a record of a baby’s growth with its peers. The growth charts issued by WHO and CDC function differently and deal with different data. While the CDC based chart focuses on the growth of a child based on what’s happening in particular environment like the growth rate and patterns of children in the US through 1990-2000. While the WHO chart deals with global data of children up to the age of 5.
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