Prepare Your Daughter For Her First Period
The onset of periods is one of the biggest changes that puberty brings for girls. Periods are part of the menstrual cycle, that affects the hormone levels in the ovaries and the uterus. Its time when you should talk with your daughter about puberty changes and general sexual health and wellbeing.
Your daughter needs to know what is going on in her body before she gets her first period. A female parent or another trusted grown-up with whom your daughter feels comfortable talking should talk to her. Having several smaller talks, rather than just one big talk, is a better way to go, keep any conversations about puberty open and honest.
When periods start
Girls have their first period when they are 11 to 15 years of age and are usually considered normal. When your girl has major growth spurt like developing breast, underarm hairs mean periods are just around the corner. The period cycle is usually between 25 and 35 days. For the first few years, there are no regular periods and the cycle may change from one period to next.
Although there is no right age for girls to get her first period, some clues will help you to guess that period is about to start soon. Firstly her breast will start developing, secondly, she will have vaginal discharge fluid (sort of like mucus) that she might see or feel on her underwear. This discharge usually begins about 6 months to a year before she gets her first period.
Suggested Read: Know About Period Problems
The first period will likely last between 2 and 7 days, but the length can vary greatly, depending on the girl. For some girls, it may be light spotting, but others may have a heavier period that doesn’t last as long. Your daughter will likely have cramps with her periods, where you need to help her with over-the-counter ibuprofen or heating pads/hot water bottles to ease cramps. Make sure she drinks plenty of water during those days.
PMS (premenstrual syndrome) is when a girl has emotional and physical symptoms that happen before or during her period. These symptoms can include moodiness, sadness, anxiety, bloating, and acne. The go away after the first few days of a period.
Suggested Read: Practicing Yoga to Ease Menstrual Troubles
What she will need
To avoid staining her clothes, your teen will need to use sanitary pads, panty liners, or tampons during her period. Sanitary pads and panty liners fit inside her underwear and stay in place with an adhesive strip on the back of the pad. There are a variety of pads available with various thicknesses, lengths, and absorbencies. Pantyliners are good for the beginning or end of a period when the flow is lighter. Tampons, which are inserted into the vagina to absorb menstrual flow, are another option.
Parents should also consider making a “first-period kit” for their daughter to carry with her, especially at school. Explain to your daughter what she needs to do if her period arrives at school or when she is away from home.
Your daughter would wonder what a period feels like, how she will cope with it, how long it will last, and how she will take care of it. So talk with her and answer her questions. Help her get ready for her first period day in advance. Buy a small zippered pouch and stock it with a couple of teen-sized sanitary pads and clean underwear. Tell your daughter to keep the pouch with her always with her just in case she may need it.
Suggested Read: Menstrual Hygiene Day
If your daughter is heading out for camp or someplace else for an extended period of time than its time she needs to think about it ahead and pack a few pads.
At last, don’t focus too much on the period problems, you can start by telling your daughter it’s normal for some girls to have cramps, back pain, or tender breasts before or during their periods.
Periods are a natural, healthy part of a girl’s life. They shouldn’t get in the way of exercising, having fun, and enjoying life. If you have more questions about periods, ask your doctor, a parent, health teacher, school nurse, or older sister.