Girls grow at a quick pace throughout infancy and childhood. When they reach puberty, growth increases dramatically again. Girls stop growing and reach adult height usually between the ages of 14 or 15 years, or a couple of years after menstruation begins. Keep reading to learn more about this process, what to expect when it happens, and when you may want to call your child’s pediatrician.
How does puberty affect growth?
Girls typically have a growth spurt in the 1 to 2 years before menstruation starts. For most girls, the growth spurt starts between the ages of 10 and 13. They then grow just 1 to 2 inches more in the year or 2 after getting their first period. It’s during this time that they reach their adult height.
Most girls reach their adult height by age 14 or 15. This age could be younger depending on when a girl first gets her period. You may want to contact your child’s doctor if your daughter is 15 and has not yet begun her period.
Puberty and breast development
Breast development is often the first sign of puberty. Breasts may start developing 2 to 2.5 years before a girl gets her period. Some girls may notice breast buds only a year after their first period. Others may not begin developing breasts for 3 to 4 years after beginning menstruation The buds may also not appear at the same time, but usually appear within six months of one another.
Q&A: Breast growth
When do breasts stop growing?
Breasts generally stop growing when puberty is complete, around 1 to 2 years after a girl has her first period. However, it’s not unusual for breasts to continue to grow slightly and change in shape or contour up until age 18. It’s also quite common to have one breast that’s a different size than the other.Karen Gill, MDAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.
Do girls grow at a different speed than boys?
Puberty hits boys slightly later than it does girls. In general, boys begin puberty between the ages of 12 and 15 years. This means their biggest growth spurt happens about two years after it does with girls. Most boys stop gaining height by age 16, but their muscles may continue to develop.
What’s the average height for girls?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the median height for adult women over 20 years old is 63.8 inches, or just under 5 foot 4 inches. The average height at the earliest start of puberty is around 50 inches, so that’s a lot of growth during a short period of time.
Median height by age
The following information comes from the CDC:
|Age||50th percentile height for girls|
|8||127.5 cm (50 in.)|
|9||133 cm (52 in.)|
|10||138 cm (54 in.)|
|11||144 cm (56.5 in.)|
|12||151 cm (59.5 in.)|
|13||157 cm (62 in.)|
|14||160.5 cm (63 in.)|
|15||162 cm (64 in.)|
|16||162.5 cm (64 in.)|
|17||163 cm (64 in.)|
|18||163 cm (64 in.)|
What role do genetics play in height?
Your height has a lot to do with how tall or short your parents are. Growth patterns tend to run in families. When looking at the growth of children, pediatricians often ask parents about their own height, family height history, and growth patterns.
There are a couple different ways to predict how tall a girl may grow. One of these methods is called the mid-parental method. To use this method, add the height in inches of the mother and father, then divide that by two. Then, subtract 2.5 inches from that number. To determine the predicted height for a boy, you’d add 2.5 inches to the number.
For example, if a girl has a father who is 72 inches tall and a mother who is 66 inches tall, the predicted height for the girl would be found with the following calculations:
- 72 + 66 = 138.
- 138 / 2 = 69
- 69 – 2.5 = 66.5
So the predicted height for the girl is 66.5 inches or 5 foot, 6.5 inches.
This number is a rough estimate, however. You may see a margin of error up to four inches up or down. In general, the taller the parents are, the taller the child will be, and vice versa.
There are many factors that impact growth, ranging from nutrition to medications. Some girls may see a delay in growth due to certain health conditions, such as growth hormone issues, severe arthritis, or cancer. Genetic conditions play a role as well. For example, girls with Down syndrome, Noonan syndrome, or Turner syndrome may be shorter than their family members. Girls with Marfan’s syndrome may grow taller.
If you have concerns about your child’s growth, contact your pediatrician. Once a girl reaches puberty, growth will typically stop a couple years after her first period. A teen who has delayed growth will have less time to grow before the end of their spurt.
Girls may gain a foot or more in height from childhood through puberty. Getting enough sleep, eating nutritious foods, and exercising regularly are all things that can help them grow in a healthy way.
If you have concerns about your child’s growth pattern, contact your doctor sooner rather than later. Your doctor will likely ask about your family’s growth history. They will examine your child and look carefully at your child’s growth curve. Sometimes, you doctor may use tests such as X-rays or blood tests to help them determine causes of growth delays.