Puberty in girls – body changes

Puberty in girls – body changes

Boost your daughter’s confidence by helping her understand what will happen to her physically over the coming months and years.

Knowing what to expect is the best way for your daughter to deal with the changes that puberty brings. Remind yourself of the most noticeable physical changes so you’re ready when you daughter comes to you with questions. For ideas on how to approach those sometimes awkward moments, see Puberty talk – explaining what’s going on.

How a girl’s body changes during puberty

  • Breasts usually start to develop first. These can be very tender when they first start to appear.
  • Whisps of hair start to grow under arms and in the pubic area.
  • Body odour becomes more noticeable.
  • She may get acne.
  • She will grow taller and her hips will get wider.
  • She will start to get a white or yellowish vaginal discharge. It’s not very heavy and pantyliners can easily be used to protect underwear.
  • Her first period should begin a few months after the first discharge.

Puberty – the scientific explanation


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  • Puberty allows the body to change in order to reproduce.
  • Basically puberty is all about hormones. Hormones are substances produced by the body to trigger certain functions.
  • A part of the brain called the pituitary gland begins releasing more and more specific hormones, one of which stimulates the ovaries to produce oestrogen.
  • These hormones trigger most of the physical changes.

Weight during puberty

  • Educate your daughter about healthy eating and encourage her to participate in physical activities.
  • Reassure her that some weight gain is perfectly natural and normal.
  • Remind her she'll only put on more weight than her body needs if she eats too many fatty and sugary foods and doesn’t exercise.

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