Yes, talking about periods is a difficult conversation, but your daughter’s body is going to go through significant changes once she enters puberty. Remember how difficult it was for you? There’s no reason to be embarrassed about opening the doors of communication with your preteen, and Eagles Landing OB/GYN can guide you through the discussion of her impending menstrual cycle.
When to Open the Discussion
There isn’t a set rule as to when to discuss a period with your daughter. In fact, in most cases, children unintentionally open the door. Your daughter might see you purchase feminine products in the store and ask what you’re buying, or she may walk in on you when you’re changing your pad or tampon. Don’t be shy – no matter her age. If she’s young, you can simply explain that this is normal for women and she, too, will one day have a monthly period. That your body prepares itself each month to have a baby and if you don’t get pregnant, the blood flows out of your vagina. Assure her you are not hurt; this is normal.
If your daughter doesn’t ask or a door is not opened to tell her when she’s quite young, most medical professionals recommend talking with your child about puberty when they reach six or seven years old. This might seem as if it’s too young, but kids have the ability to comprehend puberty at this age. Another thing you can take into account is when you began to develop and got your first period. If, for example, you began to develop at age 10, talk with your daughter prior to her tenth year. She has your DNA, and chances are her puberty will mimic yours.
The Talk Itself
There are several things you should tell your daughter when you open the menstruation discussion. They include:
- Every girl gets a period and most start menstruating between 10 and 15 years of age.
- Once your daughter begins to develop breasts, her period should start in about two years.
- She has a period because her hormones have changed.
- These hormones (estrogen and progesterone) signal her uterus to grow a lining along its walls.
- Each month, an egg leaves her ovary and travels down a fallopian tube to settle in the uterus.
- If the egg is fertilized, it will attach itself to the uterine lining and grow.
- If it isn’t fertilized, the egg will break down and the lining will shed from the uterine walls.
- This blood that comes out of the vagina once a month is that broken down lining.
It’s also important to let your daughter know that, at first, her periods may be irregular but they should be every 28 to 30 days once her hormones settle. Depending on your cycle, your daughter should expect to have her monthly menstruation last anywhere from five to seven days, although the average is five days. It’s also wise to open the discussion on sex and pregnancy at this time because it ties in with the talk about a fertilized versus unfertilized egg.
If you are still uncomfortable discussing puberty and menstruation with your daughter, set up an appointment with Eagles Landing OB/GYN. We are located in Stockbridge, GA, and you can reach us at 770-474-1919.