17 Things to Teach Your Daughter About Her Periods
Onset of the menstruation cycle can give you and your little girl some sleepless nights. We bring to you some facts about periods that you should be aware of.
It is a rite of passage when every mother must sit her daughter down and explain to her about menstruation which will mark her transition into adolescence.
The onset of menstruation is a big day in any girl’s life and you must teach your daughter about her periods well before she gets them so that she is prepared.
Every girl reacts differently to her first period. There may be relief, excitement or even fear, apprehension and anxiety. Whatever her reaction be, she will be far better prepared if she understands what is happening to her and why her body is behaving that way.
Preparing your daughter for her period need not be one long extensive talk but a gradual educational process. But even if you decide to sit her down for that all-important talk, make sure you are well informed yourself.
Remember that the first period can be an overwhelming experience for a girl and you aren’t merely handing over a list of facts about periods. You are helping her understand what it means to turn from a girl into a woman.
We run through some important facts about periods that you can brush up on so that you can be confident yourself first. Be calm, patient, open and arm yourself with these 17 things to teach your daughter about her periods.
The first period is known as the menarche
The first period is followed by the development of breasts, hips, waist, pubic hair and a spurt in growth.
For most girls, the first period is quite light. It will probably be a few spots of blood or a brown sticky stain on the underwear.
Teach the basics
Menstruation is the monthly process through which the uterus sheds its lining of blood and tissue cells. This discarded lining passes through the cervix and is discharged through the vagina. This is the period.
Why is the uterus shedding lining to begin with?
The menstrual cycle indicates that the body is ready to handle a pregnancy. Along with other hormonal changes, the ovaries release an egg and the uterus walls thicken in preparation for a pregnancy. When the egg goes unfertilised, it breaks down, as does the unnecessary uterus lining.
What’s the right age?
Girls can get their periods between age 10 to 13 though some may get it even when they are 8 years old and some as late as 16.
Pregnancy at 12?
The first period is merely an indication that the hormones are doing the work and are capable of pushing the body to prepare for pregnancy. Ovulation or the release of an egg doesn’t usually happen during this first cycle.
The onset of the period is also related to weight.
What is also not widely known is that their period will stop if their body fat drops below 8 to 12%. Fat cells are key to estrogen and once these levels dip, menstruation stops.
What’s an ideal cycle
The average menstrual cycle is for 28 days but can vary from 21 to 45 days as well.
Is it a regular affair?
Initially, sometimes even for a few years after the first period, many girls have irregular periods. Means, instead of having a period every 28 days, they could have just a handful of periods during the entire year.
All that blood loss
No matter how it appears, on an average, a woman loses 1 to 10 tablespoons of fluid during her period. That is less than a cup.
Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!
It is normal to experience bloating, back pain and cramps during the period. The cramps occur because the uterus contracts due to a hormone called prostaglandin.
How many eggs are there in my body?
A girl is born with all the eggs she will ever have and they are created even while she herself is in the womb. While in the womb, this number is close to 7 million egg cells though they dwindle to about 2 million by the time she is born.
When she hits puberty, this number goes down to about 40,000.
What is ovulation?
Ovulation is when the egg is released from either of the ovaries. It moves from the ovary to the fallopian tube. This happens during the middle of the cycle, usually on day 14 of a 28 day cycle.
It’s a neverending cycle for the uterus
It gets no break after your period is over and it has finished shedding its lining. Right away it starts thickening again in preparation for the next egg.
So what exactly is a period?
Once an egg is released from the ovary, it survives for only about 24 hours if it is not fertilised. Once it starts disintegrating, hormone levels drop and you get a period.
Can I get pregnant?
Hence the chances of getting pregnant while having your period are very low, it is not entirely impossible. Women can get pregnant even while having their period.
Would you watch a movie about your period?
Well, Walt Disney did make one back in 1946. It was called The Story of Menstruation and was meant to aid in sex education. It’s believed to be the first movie to ever use the word vagina.
How is the female egg?
The human female egg is the biggest cell in the human body. In fact, it is so big that it can be seen with the naked eye, the only human cell which can.
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