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How your child's growth is measured

Growth measurements check your child’s overall health and development. Normal growth is helped if your child has a healthy balanced diet and is emotionally secure. Other things, such as genes, health and sickness can affect your child’s growth pattern.

Your GP or public health nurse will record measurements of your child’s weight, length or head circumference.

These checks are usually done in your local health centre, GP surgery or at home.

The results are recorded on your child’s growth chart. This record plots the growth of your child from birth onwards and shows if your child is growing as expected.

Growth charts

Growth charts show the pattern of growth healthy children usually follow. There are different charts for boys and girls because they usually have slightly different growth patterns.


When you look at a growth chart, you may notice that it has curved lines. These lines are called centiles. These show the average weight and height gain for children of different ages. The growth of your child will usually roughly follow a centile line.

Their measurements may go up or down by 1 centile line, but it's less common for them to cross 2 centile lines. If this happens, talk to your Public Health Nurse or GP, who can advise you.

All babies are different. Your baby's growth chart will not look exactly the same as another baby's, even their own brother or sister.

Page last reviewed: 16 December 2022
Next review due: 16 December 2025