Talking to your daughter about her first period – an experience she will go through for approximately 40 more years of her life – may seem daunting, but it shouldn't have to be.
Start an open and honest conversation early, to build on her understanding later. This way, you eliminate any confusion right from the start and leave enough space for her to gain more information when she is ready.
For some parents this conversation may come easy. But for those who find it tough to broach the subject, here's how you can go about it.
How To Talk To Your Daughter About Her Period?
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Period talk should be treated as just another normal conversation and not a taboo subject. Begin the discussion by teaching your daughter that menstruation is a natural process and that there is no shame attached to it.
As you know, most Asian girls get their periods between the age of 10 and 15 years old. The average age is 12 years, but every girl has her own body schedule and so this average might change. There are some cues that it will start soon.
- A girl mostly gets her period about two years after her breasts begin to develop
- Your daughter will also start noticing vaginal discharge fluid (like mucus) in her underwear. It usually begins about six months to a year before a girl gets her first period.
Since (on an average) periods can start before a girl turns into a teenager, an early discussion preparing her for it is advisable. Preferably when she is between 7 and 10 years of age.
It is also important to answer all her questions patiently and share your personal experience so she doesn't feel alone or scared.
Also read: Why And How I Taught My 7-Year-Old Son About Menstruation
5 Questions To Answer When Talking To Your Daughter About Periods
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As mentioned before, starting them early is always a good idea.
You can begin with a conversation about private parts and their function and follow it up later by building on to it. For instance, the information about bleeding each month, use of sanitary napkins or tampons, and cramping.
Once your daughter is aware that menstruation is a natural phenomenon, you talk about the many changes it brings about. At this juncture, it is also a good idea to tell them about the function of the uterus and the timetable of periods – that can act as a sign of normalcy in a woman's body.
In addition to this, here are some important questions and answers you can share with her.
Why do women bleed every month?
A period is a natural vaginal bleeding that takes place every month as the lining of the uterus thickens and the egg is released from the ovaries.
When there is no pregnancy hormones (in young girls) – oestrogen and progesterone levels fall. They hit a level that tells the body to begin menstruation. During periods, the uterus sheds its lining and it’s passed along with some blood out of the body through the vagina.
The average woman who menstruates loses about 2 to 3 tablespoons of blood during her period.
What is the duration of a period?
Periods usually last about five days. But they can last shorter or longer, depending on a girl's physical makeup and hormones. Some girls may also experience irregular periods. If they continue for more than a few months its best to consult with a doctor and get checked for PCOS/D.
Can a girl get pregnant while menstruation?
Yes, they can conceive as soon as the period starts. Do take note that a girl can even get pregnant right before her very first period. So along with periods you should also talk to your daughter about safe sex.
How often does a period happen?
Periods usually happen about once a month. The time between periods (last day to the first day) typically averages 28 days. But some girls may experience them once every 3 weeks. While others may get their periods once every six weeks.
What is PMS?
This is also a good time to talk to your daughters about PMS (premenstrual syndrome), which is essentially hormonal fluctuation leading to physical and emotional changes. So they may experience mood swings, anxiety, and/or bloating. This usually subsides after the first few days of the period.
When To Consult The Doctor
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Most girls don't necessarily face any problems with their periods and it starts naturally. But in case you notice the following it is best to consult a doctor immediately.
- If your daughter is 15 and her periods haven't started yet
- She has extremely heavy cramps and she is unable to get out of the bed
- Her blood flow is too heavy and she needs to change her pad or tampon in less than two hours, which can also lead to anaemia.
Mums, what you can do:
- Teach your daughters the best way to wear a sanitary napkin or a tampon early (around 8-10 years). So when the time comes and you are not physically present to help them, they won't panic.
- You can teach them the differences between maxi-pads, tampons, and panty-liners.
- Ask them to always carry an extra pad or tampon in their school bag to be ready for the inevitable.
- If they are in school and their period starts, ask your daughters to speak to their teachers and not hesitate to ask for help.
- At home, you can ask your husband to also be a part of the period conversation.
Today, children have access to various sources of information on the Internet. But nothing can compare with a healthy and open discussion that only you can have with them.
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