Puberty can be confusing and daunting. Sudden physical changes, accompanied by changing behaviour, can leave both children and parents perplexed. While preparing your daughter for her first period can seem like a difficult task – it doesn’t have to be! An open, honest and positive conversation with her can completely change her outlook towards the monthly experience she will have for the next forty-odd years.

Most girls get their first period around 10-15 years, but each body is different. However, it is essential to talk to your daughter much before her first period. The start of menstruation is a significant event in a girl’s life. Sufficient information and empowerment to deal with the new changes in her body can help your daughter navigate a new time in her life with more ease.

What Do I Talk About?

You might be bombarded with questions from your child, or might have to start the conversation. These are some frequently asked questions by children about menstruation which can help guide you!

1). What are periods?

As a girl grows up, her body changes so she can have a baby. The baby grows in a place called the uterus inside the mother. The body needs to make sure the uterus is ready for a baby to live and grow for nine whole months!

So, every month the uterus wall gets ready for a baby. If there is no baby, the uterus wall is discharged from the body and bleeds a little. The blood comes out a woman’s vagina. The body makes a new wall every month to prepare for a baby.

2). How come only girls have them?

Boys and girls have different types of bodies. Sp, the way they grow up is different. Boys go through other puberty changes like deepening their voices and facial hair growth. Periods happen because of the uterus shedding its internal lining, and the uterus itself is body part girls have, but boys do not.

3). Do girls have their periods for the rest of their lives?

No, a woman stops having her period usually between the ages of 45 and 51, which means she will no longer be able to have a baby. Your first period is known as menarche, and your last period is known as menopause.

4). How long does it last and how much blood is there?

The duration of periods varies for each girl. Some have their period for three days, and others have it for a week. Periods can be light, moderate, or heavy, and there can be a total of 2-4 tablespoons (30-59 millilitres) of blood. And this can vary from period to period in the same girl.

5). Do girls always have cramps?

Period cramps are a pain in the stomach, uterus, back and shoulder area during menstruation. Most girls experience menstrual pain throughout their menstrual cycle; however, cramps usually last only for a few days.

It is essential to let your daughter know not to ignore and disregard her period pain. Ensure she talks to a parent or trusted adult, who can help relieve her pain with a hot water bottle or heat pad. If cramps become unbearable, it is advisable to consult a medical expert.

Tips for Talking

It can be uncomfortable to broach the topic at first. Just like parents might find it embarrassing to talk to their daughters about menstruation, children too might find it awkward.

Here are some tips to help you make the conversation more honest and open discussion:

1). Get the right information

Educating our children with correct and up-to-date information is necessary. Instead of shying away from menstruation aspects that might be uncomfortable to deal with, we should talk about all aspects. Speak to your family doctor and get verified information, and ways to explain menstruation in kid-friendly ways.

Brush up on what you know about periods, and have reliable sources of information readily available for your child to refer to. Look for good books or videos to help you have a more educational discussion.

2). Make it a discussion, not a lecture

To break the ice, start the conversation by asking your child some questions. Ask whether she knows about periods, about the ads she has seen on television or if she has spoken to her friends and peers about it.

Please talk about your own experiences with menstruation, and add how you have dealt with it. This empowers your daughter to approach periods with a healthier attitude, knowing that women all over go through it.

If you hear your child mention something regarding periods, start a conversation by asking where the information came from. It can be a great way of clearing misconceptions and myths about menstruation.

3). Discuss female hygiene products

Explore menstrual products together, and make sure your child knows it is her choice which product she wishes to use. Be hands-on about explaining how to use the product and describe each product’s pros and cons. Empower your daughter to deal with any situation, whether her first period when you aren’t around or a leak.

To sum it up:

It is essential to educate our daughters about menstruation, which they will go through for several years. To have an open and honest discussion, we must be comfortable and answer all their questions – even if they may make us awkward. Arm yourself with up-to-date and verified information, and consult a medical expert to help you have the conversation if necessary. Consult India’s top gynaecologists from the comfort of your home on DocVita:!