Period 101

As a mom of a pre-teen or teenage girl, you have been getting your period for a number of years now. Read on to brush up on what may be different from the days when you first started your period.

When will my daughter start her period?

Most girls can expect to have their first period between the ages of 11 and 14, but it is not uncommon to happen anywhere from age nine to 17. A few clues that your daughter's period is on the way include:

  • Breast growth - Your daughter will usually start her period within two to three years after her breasts first begin developing. She may want to start wearing a training bra when she begins developing. This may be a sensitive time for her as her body is changing. Let her know to expect this change and that it is normal. Be supportive and let her know you are there for her.
  • Pubic and underarm hair growth - Your daughter will begin to grow dark, curly hair in her pubic area and underarms, as well as fine hair on her arms and legs. If she's at a school with older girls that have already started shaving their legs she might want to shave as well. Expect her to start her period within one to two years after the hair development.
  • Vaginal discharge - The last major clue that your daughter's period is on its way is a discharge in her underwear. The color of the discharge can range from clear or milky white to yellow, but nevertheless it's a big clue that her period will start within six months or so.
  • Another way to figure out when your daughter might start is to think back to the age when you started your own period. Your daughter will likely start within a year or so of that age.

What should she expect?

Educating yourself on what your daughter may go through is a great way to help her through this time. Also, letting her know that you've been through the same experiences and are there to offer a helping hand. A few of the changes / symptoms she might experience include:

  • Puberty - Click here to read about what your daughter will experience as she goes through puberty.
  • Cramps - May girls will experience cramps before or during their period. The cramps may be dull and achy or sharp and intense and they are usually located in the stomach or lower back. To help ease your daughter's pain, suggest a heating pad or an over-the-counter medication (such as ibuprofen). Regular exercise may also help relieve the discomfort associated with her cramps.
  • PMS - Your daughter may be expressing feelings of sadness or acting irritable, she may also feel bloating in her stomach. These types of emotional and physical changes could be a result of premenstrual syndrome or PMS. As a mom, you may experience similar emotions and know that they usually only stick around until your period begins.

What should I do?

If you suspect your daughter's period is on the way, suggest that she begin carrying one of the various types of period protection with her. If she's in school, have her keep one in her backpack or locker. If it's summertime and she's on vacation or away at camp, have her toss a few into her overnight bag.


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