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Does Growth Stop with Onset of Menstruation?

Pediatrics Expert Advice from Shari Nethersole, M.D.

Q: Hi, I am almost 13 and I just got my period 3 months ago and I am only 4' 11". I heard that when you get your period you don t grow very much anymore. I was wondering if there is any way that you can figure this out scientifically (my mom is 5' 3" and my dad is 5' 5").

A: It is true that a girl s growth slows down once she starts her periods, but it doesn t stop completely. For the next two years after the period starts, there is usually a little bit more growth, about one to three inches. There are usually not large growth spurts once the period starts.

There is a formula that we use in pediatrics to estimate the size one expects a child to be, based solely on the parents heights. This is called the mid-parental height. It does not give an accurate prediction of a child s ultimate height, but does give a range, based on genetic factors. If either of the parents had health problems as a child, then this estimate may not be accurate.

The way that this formula works is that if the child is a girl, you subtract five inches from the father s height, and then average the result with the mother s height. This average is the mid-parental height, and you would expect the child to be within a few inches of this height (either above or below) as an adult. For a boy, you add five inches to the mother s height and then average it with the dad s.

Based on your parents heights, your mid-parental height is 5' 1-1/2" give or take 3 inches, so we would expect your height to be in a range from about 4' 10" to 5' 4". In other words, you should not expect to be a lot taller than you already are, but you may grow a few more inches.

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Shari Nethersole is a physician at Children's Hospital, Boston, and an instructor in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. She graduated from Yale University and Harvard Medical School, and did her internship and residency at Children's Hospital, Boston. As a pediatrician, she tries to work with parents to identify and address their concerns.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

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