A mum’s guide: Preparing for your daughter’s first period
When will her period start?
As a rule, the first period starts more or less two years after the first signs of breast development, between the ages of 11 and 13. Other first period symptoms, include hair growth in the pubic area and under her arms, and white vaginal discharge. This can come all at once or appear gradually.
How can I explain it to her?
It’s important to tell your daughter what is going on with her body before her first period. Here’s a simple and straightforward way of breaking the news:
Up until now you had the body of a girl, but it’s starting to grow into a woman’s. This is called puberty. Your breasts will start growing and your waist will get thinner. Like every woman, you’ll start your period, which is also called menstruation. This means your reproductive system is getting ready for having a baby some day in the future.
Once a month you will notice blood coming out of your vagina – this is perfectly normal. When you experience it for the first time, it will feel like moisture in your underwear, especially if you stand up after sitting or lying down. Luckily there are many different products out there to make sure you’re comfortable and dry during this three to five day period.
More questions she might ask you...
How often will I have my period?
We won’t know this straightaway, because your cycle still needs to get stable. This differs from person to person and can vary from about 22 to every 43 days. After the first couple of years you will notice your period has become regular. The simplest way to know when to expect your next period is to mark the day when it starts in your calendar.
Will having my period hurt?
Usually it doesn’t, but some girls feel what they call menstrual cramps – muscle contractions in their lower abdomen. These can be painful and rather unpleasant, but you can learn to avoid them with special exercises, a balanced diet and good posture. A warm bath is a good solution too. If it gets really painful, a doctor can prescribe medication for the cramps, so you won’t have to suffer from the pain.
Can I use tampons?
If you feel comfortable with inserting a tampon, you can do it from the very first period. Often girls prefer to begin with Always® Ultrathin Pads with wings and then switch to tampons after a few menstrual cycles. Otherwise, Tampax® Lites are a good choice as first tampons. You can find more details at www.always.co.uk.
How do I choose the right products?
It will come with experience. You can try pads and tampons or a combination of both to see what works best for you. It might take some time before you find the perfect type of protection for your period.
Can I still do my normal activities during my period?
Of course, a period should not change your lifestyle at all.
Can I play sports when I have my period?
Yes, you can. You might probably want to avoid too much effort, but other than that, there is nothing you cannot do. You can even swim if you are using tampons.
Can anyone tell when I have my period?
No, no one can. When you are not used to wearing pads or tampons, you might worry that everyone is watching you. But with both Always® pads and Tampax® tampons you can be sure people around you will not notice anything.
What shall I do if my period starts suddenly when I am not at home?
First of all, you should remember that there is nothing scary about it. To be ready for this situation, it’s a good idea to keep one or two pads in your school locker and in your bag. You might also want to wear a panty liner every day, as you wait for your period to start.
Do I need to see a doctor when I have my periods?
While it is a good idea to regularly see a doctor for a check-up, there is no need to go too often unless something is bothering you. It is recommended to visit a gynaecologist approximately once a year after the age of 18 or when you have a boyfriend, whichever comes first.