Somewhere between the age of 9 and 16, most girls will get their first period. That’s why it’s so important for your daughter to understand what menstruation is early on. Girls as young as 8 can start menstruation, and the last thing you want is for your daughter to be completely caught off guard. While some parents might find it an uncomfortable topic to approach, it’s important that your daughter is prepared for the changes her body is about to go through.
Know the Facts
Before you begin talking to your daughter about her first period, be sure you have all the facts straight. It’s important you know what you are talking about so you can answer any questions she may have. Here are just some of the basics about your daughter’s menstruation:
- Most girls get their first period between the age of 9 and 16, and puberty normally begins around the age of 8 to 14.
- Most girls will not start menstruation until they weigh at least 100 pounds
- Puberty hormones lead to girls developing breast, hips, pubic hair, and growing in height.
- Menstruation means that a girl is now physically able to become pregnant. About once a month, the ovaries release an egg. If this egg is not fertilized, the uterus sheds it’s lining in the vagina. This is what causes a period.
- Before a girl gets her period, she may have some vaginal discharge. This is clear or white mucus that shows up in her underwear.
- First periods are generally very light. The blood may be bright red or brown and sticky.
- A period can last between two and seven days.
- Your daughter may experience premenstrual symptoms (PMS) before her period. This may include cramping, food cravings, mood swings, headaches, backaches and acne.
- There are many different types of feminine hygiene products. Most girls find it easier to use pads when they first get their periods. You will want to discuss how to use these products.
These are just some of the basic facts you will need to know when discussing your daughter’s period. The more you know about what you are taking, the more confidants your daughter will feel.
How to Talk to Your Daughter About Her Period
Learning about menstruation is only half the battle. Bringing up the topic is a whole other story. Many parents, especially fathers, feel uncomfortable bringing up the subject with their daughters. Some ways you can break the ice include:
- Giving your daughter a book about menstruation. While this is a great way of introducing the topic, be sure you speak with her before and after you give her the book to ensure she fully understands what she is reading and know why you are giving it to her.
- Ask her what she knows about menstruation. You may be surprised at what you child already knows. This will give you a chance to clear up any misconceptions she has about periods and gauge her level of understanding.
- Start talking about periods from a young age. There is no need to “hide” menstruation from your child. This will make the talk easier when she is older.
However you decide to talk about menstruation with your daughter, be sure you speak openly. Answer all of her questions honestly. You will be amazed at how well you daughter can handle this information. Most of the time the “talk” is harder for parents than daughters.
Get all Her Questions Answered
At OB-GYN Women’s Centre, we are dedicated to providing you with the gynecological information you need. If you need help giving your daughter the talk, then come visit us! We will be happy to meet with both of you and answer any questions you may have. Give OB-GYN Women’s Centre a call today, and get your daughter the answers she needs.