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Preparing Your Preteen for Menstruation

By EmpowHER February 2, 2012 - 11:03pm
Elena Elisseeva, Photospin

Most girls begin their menstrual cycle around the age of 12, but a period can appear as early as age 8. Explaining menstruation to your daughter before she gets her first period is very important. Menstruation can be an awkward subject to talk about — especially with preteen girls, who become embarrassed very easily1.

Listed below are some easy steps that moms can take to get their daughter comfortable with the idea of getting her period.

Talk to her
The earlier you speak to your daughter about the changes she can expect in her body, the better. Discuss the various issues of periods from basic hygiene to fear of the unknown.

How to begin the conversation
To start the conversation of your daughter’s upcoming menstrual cycle, you may ask her what she has learned about puberty. Answer any questions she may have and explain the basic changes she will experience during this time. Share your own experiences; this will help alleviate any fear or anxiety of the unknown. Your daughter needs factual information about the menstrual cycle and all the other changes that puberty brings. Talking to her can also help influence the way she feels about her body. In addition, the conversations you have with your daughter about menstruation can lay the groundwork for future talks about dating and sexuality. Answer any questions your daughter may have openly and honestly.

Practical advice

What is your period?
Menstruation or your period means a girl's body is physically capable of becoming pregnant. Every month, one of the ovaries releases an egg. This process is called ovulation. At the same time, hormonal changes prepare the uterus for pregnancy. If ovulation takes place and the egg isn't fertilized, the egg passes through the uterus and out of the body, and the lining of the uterus is shed through the vagina. This is a period2.

Why do only girls have periods?
Explain that boys change in different ways during puberty and experience symptoms including deeper voices and facial hair. Beginning the menstrual cycle means a girl can have a baby.

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