Although the standard infant growth charts at your pediatrician's office can help monitor the growth of most babies, they don't include a lot of information about healthy weight and length for preemies. If your little one arrived a bit too early, you can use this free printable chart to get an idea of the average weight, length, and head circumference typical of preemie development.
Free Printable Preemie Growth Chart
A full term baby is typically born at around 40 weeks, and a baby born from 23 weeks to 37 weeks gestation is typically referred to as premature. This growth chart, which uses information from an important study published in the journal Pediatrics, allows you to see the average measurements for premature babies based on their gestational age. Remember that a baby's gestational age is the number of weeks since the first day of your last period.
If you need help downloading the chart, check out these helpful tips.
How to Use the Chart
Here's how to use this growth chart to keep an eye on your baby's development:
- Click on the chart to save and print it. Keep it handy to reference as needed.
- Each week, measure your baby. Start with her length. Lay your little one flat on a firm surface, and stretch her legs out as you hold a tape measure flat. This will be easier if you have someone to help you!
- Next, measure your baby's head circumference. The best place to wrap a tape measure on your infant's head is just above his or ears and eyebrows. You want to measure the largest part of the head.
- Finally, take your baby's weight. With preemies, every ounce makes a difference, so using digital scales is your best bet.
- When you're done measuring, compare your baby's stats with the average length, head circumference, and weight for her gestational age.
You can use this growth chart to track your baby's progress at home, but keep these important considerations in mind:
- Your measurements may not be as accurate as your pediatrician's. If in doubt, always use your pediatrician's measurements.
- It's also important to remember than this chart lists average measurements. Your baby may be larger or smaller and still be perfectly healthy. Always consult your pediatrician about any concerns you may have.
- Also, remember that this printable chart includes the standard and metric systems of measurement. If you are taking your baby's weight in grams, be sure you are reading the column that lists the weight in the same units.
Your Doctor Is Best
This free printable growth chart is great for keeping an eye on your preemie's development, but your doctor is the best resource for monitoring your little one's growth. There's more to healthy development that simply growing longer and heavier. Your doctor can help make sure your baby's organs and systems are developing properly too.