Seeing your Doctor

If you are worried about your baby’s development, or your child’s height, the best thing to do is to see your doctor. He or she will be able to assess whether your concerns need further investigation.

When to see your doctor

You may not be sure whether the issues around your child’s height warrant a visit to the doctor, but if in doubt don’t hesitate to discuss it with him or her. 

Below are some of the signs of growth deficiency that you should look out for: 

  • Slow growth - this may be noticed in infancy and continue through childhood, but in some cases may not be obvious until a child is 2 or 3 years old.
  • Short height - your child may be much shorter than most children of the same age and gender. 
  • Chubbiness - your child may still have normal body proportions though body build may be chubby. 
  • Young face – your child’s face looks younger than children of the same age. 
  • In older children, puberty may be delayed or may not come at all.

Preparing for a visit to your doctor

When you visit your doctor for the first time, you might want to take along some things that will help them make an accurate assessment of the situation.

These include: 

  • A growth chart of your child’s height and weight, taken over regular periods, if available. However, even if you have not been measuring your child’s height at home, it is still worth visiting your doctor so they can keep a log of it. 
  • The birth length and weight of your child.
  • Heights of both (genetic) parents (without shoes).
  • Information about whether puberty was early, late or average for both parents. 
  • Information, if any, about family history of short stature, late puberty or any diseases.
  • Details of any medication your child is taking.

Typically your family history and a physical examination of your child will be used to determine what factors might be influencing their growth and development.

Why is it important to see my doctor? 

If your child has a condition that is affecting their growth, it is important that they get treatment early. Sometimes slower growth can be the first sign of an infection or an underlying condition such as those affecting the kidneys, heart, digestive or hormonal systems.

Overlooking symptoms can lead to delayed diagnosis and treatment, which may affect not just your child's height, but also their health overall.

Questions to ask your doctor

  • Should I be worried about my child’s height?
  • If no: what should I do to monitor my child?
  • If no: what else can I do to help my child to grow? 
  • If yes: what are the next steps? 
  • What types of tests would my child need to find out if there is a problem with their growth?
  • If my child has a growth problem – what can we do about it? 
  • What are the types of treatments for growth disorders? 
  • How would a growth disorder affect my child’s development in other areas, such as intelligence, co-ordination and ability to be independent?
  • Where can I get more information? 
  • Where can I get support? 

Questions your doctor is likely to ask you

  • How long have you been worried about your child’s growth?
  • What was your baby’s birth height and weight?
  • What are the heights of the child’s (biological) parents?
  • Does your child have any other symptoms such as aches and pains or feelings of restlessness? 
  • Does your child have any illnesses?     
  • Does your child take any regular medication?
  • Does your child eat well? 
  • Are there any diseases in the family? 
  • At what age did both parents enter puberty? 
  • If you have any other children, do they have any growth or development issues? 

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