Do you remember when you got your first period?
We all do.
Where we were and how we felt when we first saw the blood. Perhaps we felt surprise and excitement, or perhaps it was more like fear and embarrassment. Most people with periods wish they had been better prepared and knew more ahead of their period’s first arrival.
So we can support the pre-teens in our life to have a great menstrual experience right from the start, it’s important that we know what to expect and have ideas to make this transition smooth for them
Our first period is called menarche (pronounced “men-arch”) and while the average age is around 12-13, it can come anytime from 8-15 years old. Just a few generations ago the average age was 16-17 so you can see that has become much younger over the years.
We cannot predict exactly when menarche will happen but our bodies give us clues which we can look out for.
I love the rhyme – boobs, pubes, grow, flow!
Breasts develop around 1-3yrs before menarche. The breast buds are often one of the first signs of puberty for tweens and they can start to grow anytime from the age of 8. The breast buds may feel tingling, aching or itching which is totally normal as the breast grows.
Hair growth. This often starts with hair on the arm and legs getting thicker and darker. Then she may notice hair in her pubic area and underarms. This hair is fine at first and then becomes thicker and coarser.
Growth spurt. In the year before menarche many tweens grow 10cm. During puberty their body will begin to build up fat, particularly in the breasts and around the hips and thighs.
In addition there are can be 3 more signs.
Sweatier and oilier. Hair and skin become oilier, with small breakouts on her face, as well as more sweatiness.
Cervical fluid. Your tween may notice white or yellow stains in her underwear. This starts 6 months to 2 years before menarche. The few weeks leading up to the first period this fluid can become thicker and more like egg white.
Mood changes. In the couple of years leading up to the first period, the tween may start experience big emotions – both that they are easily upset or suddenly moody and that they feel hugely giddy with excitement and energy.
Remember though, that all menstruators are different, so these are just general guidelines.
Want to know how to prepare your tween for when they get their period or what is normal for periods and moods during the teenage years? My Period Ready Workshops were created to empower the next generation to be confident about their periods and their bodies. Interested to learn more? Drop me an email at email@example.com with any questions you have.