As your daughter ages, she goes through a lot of firsts. First date, first kiss, and first period. Like anything else in parenting, you want to be prepared to help her.
She’s bound to have plenty of questions, and while it may not be the most comfortable conversation, it’s a natural part of life that will seem a lot less scary with your guidance.
For help preparing for your daughter’s first period, here are six menstruation questions she might ask.
What is a period?
A period, more formally known as menstruation, is the monthly discharge of blood and other tissue from the internal lining of the uterus.
The menstruation cycle happens in four stages: menstruation, ovulation, the follicular phase, and the luteal or secretory phase.
During the menstruation phase, otherwise known as a period, women experience the release of fluids through the vagina, including blood, uterine lining, and mucus. This phase of the menstruation cycle typically lasts anywhere from three days to one week, with flow heaviness varying from person to person.
When will I get my period?
On average, most girls get their first period around the age of twelve. However, since every girl is different with a unique body, this age can range from nine to fifteen. The age when female relatives started menstruating can be a guideline for expecting your daughter’s menarche.
Generally, these signs are indicators that her period may start soon:
Pubic or underarm hair growth
If your daughter hasn’t started menstruating by the age of 16, it’s a good idea to seek medical advice from her doctor.
Will my period hurt?
Your daughter may experience various symptoms leading up to and during her period, such as abdominal cramps, bloating, backaches, and headaches.
Additionally, some girls experience mood swings, acne, body soreness, and even nausea during menstruation.
On average, these symptoms aren’t severe, don’t last very long, and can be treated with OTC medications, heating pads, and rest.
What do I do when I get my period?
Your daughter needs to be well-equipped and well-prepared for her first period, and that means having the right tools on hand.
There are three main methods that women use to manage menstrual hygiene:
Most girls will opt for a pad when they first get their period. Pads adhere to the crotch portion of the underwear using a sticky strip. Many people find this method to be the most accessible and most user-friendly period hygiene solution.
Tampons and menstrual cups can be scary and intimidating for many girls at first because they demand a more up-close-and-personal approach. Let your daughter know that she doesn’t have to try them right away but that she may find them helpful later on.
What if I get my period unexpectedly?
It’s pretty standard for your daughter to have an irregular cycle during the first couple of years of her period.
A usual cycle is 28 days. You can teach your daughter to track her period, but it’s always a good idea to give her an emergency period kit for her backpack containing pads, tampons, and extra clothes.
Can I still participate in my activities during my period?
Girls can certainly still participate in everyday activities, such as gym class or sports teams, while they are menstruating.
However, if your daughter wants to participate in swimming or water activities, she will have to use a tampon or menstrual cup. If she’s not ready for this step, she will have to sit out during her period.
Your daughter may also feel she needs a rest day due to symptoms like severe cramps. Let her doctor know if she consistently experiences severe pain that interferes with regular activities.
Puberty is often a difficult phase of life. Your daughter’s best weapon against uncertainty is a good education, so do your best to be open and answer any questions she has before her first period.