"What are signs of a girl's first period?" is a question that makes some parents nervous. It's good to be prepared with the facts so you can give answers and help your daughter prepare to take care of herself during the menstrual cycle.
When To Expect The First Period
A girl's first menstrual cycle can happen between the ages of 9 and 16, and it will generally occur about two years after breast development begins, and three to four months after pubic and armpit hair starts to grow. The first menstrual period is called menarche. The age of the first menstrual period varies according to genetic and cultural factors, as well as overall health and wellness. A severely underweight girl may not begin menarche until she weighs 100 pounds. It is good for girls to know that everyone gets her period according to her own body's biological clock, and she is not "abnormal" if her friends have theirs and she doesn't yet.
Signs Of Getting The First Period
The menstrual cycle begins with the period itself. The period may last up to seven days in length, with the amount of blood flow increasing toward the middle and then tapering off and changing colors toward the end. Before the first cycle starts, the girl may experience some stomach discomfort for a few hours a day, bloating, mood swings or fatigue. She may have menstrual cramps, in which case, an over-the-counter pain reliever will be helpful. The first period may be light, seen first as brown or reddish spots in the underwear.
You will also want to talk with your daughter about the use of a sanitary pad or tampon, the approximate length of the period and what to do if she has menstrual cramps. You should also make clear that menstruation is a sign of fertility, so proper education about the cycle and sexual health is advised.
Other Facts About The Menstrual Cycle
The first period or few periods may last just a few days, and may be very light. The cycles may be irregular in length for the first two years, coming between 21 and 40 days apart, or even skipping a month as the body adjusts and develops to the hormone fluctuations. If there is severe pain during the period, or other problematic symptoms, it is prudent to see a doctor. Let your daughter know that it is always okay for her to come to you with a problem.
Learn the common signs of puberty for both boys and girls. Girls generally begin puberty before boys and research indicates that they are entering puberty earlier than previous generations.
Breast development during puberty tends to begin around age 10 and continues until age 18. There could be some variation in these ages because every girl is different, but she will go through five stages of development.