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Man carrying child who is high-fiving a health care provider
Man carrying child who is high-fiving a health care provider

Talking with your child’s doctor about growth.

If you’re concerned about your child’s growth rate, talk with their doctor. To help you prepare, let’s walk through the why, when, and how to talk to your child’s doctor about their growth.

Talking with your child’s doctor about growth.

If you’re concerned about your child’s growth rate, talk with their doctor. To help you prepare, let’s walk through the why, when, and how to talk to your child’s doctor about their growth.

Why talk to the doctor?

This conversation is an important first step toward understanding whether your child has a medical issue—and taking action if they do. If your child isn’t growing at the same rate as friends or siblings, or isn’t reaching certain milestones, there could be an underlying medical reason. Voicing your concern to the doctor could be step 1 in determining whether or not there’s an issue.

When is it time to start the conversation?

You could start as soon as you suspect a problem with your child’s growth. The sooner you find out if there’s a medical reason for a below-normal growth trend, the sooner you can explore next steps. Quick action may lead lead to appropriate diagnosis, treatment, and improved outcomes.

Did you know?

If the doctor thinks there might be a problem, they may want to measure your child more often to confirm whether there’s an issue.

Two children, seen from behind, walking down a dirt road with arms around each other
Two children, seen from behind, walking down a dirt road with arms around each other

Did you know?

If the doctor thinks there might be a problem, they may want to measure your child more often to confirm whether there’s an issue.

Two children, seen from behind, walking down a dirt road with arms around each other
Two children, seen from behind, walking down a dirt road with arms around each other

How to talk to the doctor about your child's growth

Having a conversation with the doctor is easier when you feel prepared. Here’s a list of questions you may want to ask.

Questions to ask the pediatrician.

  • Could you explain my child’s measurements?
  • Do my child’s measurements suggest a problem with their growth? 
  • Has my child’s height and weight percentile changed since the last visit? 
  • What’s my child’s annual growth rate? 
  • What is my child’s midparental height and are they on track to reach that number? 
  • Does my child need to see a specialist?
Icon of a calendar page with a ringing bell

Add a reminder to your calendar.

When life gets busy, it’s easy to forget to reach out to your child’s pediatrician. Our calendar reminder can help.

Just choose a date on this calendar and then select “Add a Reminder” below. A reminder to make an appointment with your child’s doctor will be added to your calendar. You’ll also get a handy list of questions to ask during your visit.

What to expect if your child is referred to a specialist.

Most children who trend below the normal range for height are healthy. But, if your child’s doctor thinks there is a reason for their slow growth, they may refer you to a pediatric endocrinologist for further evaluation.

Should you ask for a referral to a specialist?

Sometimes, doctors advise parents to take a “wait and see” approach when a child experiences slow growth. You may decide to ask for a referral to a specialist if your child’s measurements have been tracked and:

  • They’re not catching up in growth
  • The doctor has taken no further action

Questions to ask your doctor:

  • Have you ruled out underlying conditions that could be causing my child’s slow growth trend?
  • Is there a possible medical issue that requires a specialist’s evaluation?
    • Is there any reason we shouldn’t see a specialist?
    • What potential impact could waiting have on my child’s health?
3rd percentile
3rd percentile

1 sign of growth hormone disorder is growth below the 3rd percentile.

Woman and child sitting on a bench with doctor who is showing something on a computer tablet
Woman and child sitting on a bench with doctor who is showing something on a computer tablet

Talking with the specialist.

If your child is diagnosed by a specialist, it’s important that you understand as much about the diagnosis as possible. Here are some questions you may want to ask.

Questions to ask the specialist.

  • What has my child been diagnosed with?
  • How long will my child have this condition? 
  • What impact will this condition have on my child’s life?
  • What can I do to manage my child’s condition?
  • Will my child need to have treatment and what will that involve?

Learn about growth disorders.

Do you know about the medical conditions that affect growth?

Accurately measuring growth.

Are you familiar with the equipment and practices used for measuring your child?

Why is it important to talk to my child’s doctor?

Determining if there is indeed a medical reason for your child’s slow growth takes regular measuring and plotting. It might require a referral to a specialist for an evaluation and diagnostic tests. All of these steps can take time, so it’s important to get started when a problem is first suspected. The sooner your child is referred and diagnosed, the sooner any problems can be addressed.

What type of doctor treats children with growth disorders?

Pediatric endocrinologists are specialists who diagnose and treat growth disorders in children.

Stay up-to-date with information from Novo Nordisk.

•    Learn more about growth disorders
•    Get related news and updates
•    Stay informed about patient support services

Stay up-to-date with information from Novo Nordisk.

•    Learn more about growth disorders
•    Get related news and updates
•    Stay informed about patient support services