Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Baby

Font Size

Baby Growth Charts: What Influences Your Baby’s Growth?

WebMD Commentary

Q: My baby is small but my pediatric provider says she is "following the curve" so he is not worried. What does that mean? I'm still worried!

A. If your baby is "following the curve" of the growth chart, she's paralleling one of the percentile lines on the chart, and the odds are good that her caloric intake is fine, no matter how much or how little milk she seems to be drinking.

On the other hand, if she is "falling off the curve," she's dipping below two or more percentile lines on the growth chart, and she may have inadequate nutritional intake. This could represent a real problem.

Growth Charts: How They Work

There are separate growth charts for weight, height, and head circumference.

These simply represent the average weight, height, or head circumference of a bunch of normal children. You will see the percentile lines on the chart running parallel to each other. The percentile lines include 5%, 10%, 25%, 50%, 75%, 90%, and 95%. (For more information, see the CDC's web site:

If a child's weight is at the 50th percentile line, that means that out of 100 normal children her age, 50 will be bigger than she is and 50 smaller. Similarly, if she is in the 75th percentile, that means that she is bigger than 75 children and smaller than only 25, compared with 100 children her age.

What Growth Charts Tell Us

The growth percentiles by themselves don't say much. What really matters is the rate of growth:

  • A normal rate of growth means the child's growth points closely follow a percentile line on the chart.
  • We usually don't worry about insufficient (or excessive) growth until a child's growth rate has crossed at least two percentile lines (e.g., from above the 90th percentile to below the 50th).
  • If a child's weight, height, or head size is below the 5th percentile, it's important to see if her growth points have always paralleled the 5th percentile line -- which would mean her growth rate is normal -- or if she is suddenly falling further behind, which is more concerning.

To see if your child is too skinny or overweight, there is a "weight for height" chart or a "BMI" index. These tell if your child's weight is close to what it should be, given her height.

Baby's First Year Newsletter

Because every week matters, get expert advice and facts on what to expect in your baby's first year.

Today on WebMD

mother on phone holding baby
When you should call 911.
parents and baby
Unexpected ways your life will change.
baby acne
What’s normal – and what’s not.
baby asleep on moms shoulder
Help your baby get the sleep he needs.

mother holding baby at night
mother with sick child
Chinese mother breast feeding newborn baby girl
Track Your Babys Vaccines
Baby Napping 10 Dos And Donts
Woman holding feet up to camera
Father kissing newborn baby
baby gear slideshow