A first period often meant a girl was ready to be married and start having children. Nowadays, most families in most cultures don’t boast to their friends and neighbors that a daughter has had her first period. Can you imagine? I’d be pretty embarrassed if everyone knew such a personal thing! Most of us prefer to be discreet.
Most girls have their first period between the ages of 12 and 13. For some, it’s earlier, and for some, it’s later. I was 15 when I got my first period. My mother was very shy and didn’t really tell me what to expect, so when it happened, I wasn’t prepared. But here are some tips to help you be prepared when you get your first period:
1. Learn More
If your mother, aunties, or older sister and cousins are too shy to answer all of your questions, there are dozens of books and websites that can help. WebMD in particular is helpful in answering detailed questions you may have.
2. Plan Ahead
Keep a sanitary pad in your purse, your locker at school, your gym or dance bag, and in your bathroom. That way, when you get your first period, you won’t have to scramble around and ask for one.
3. Have a Support Person
When you get to the age you might start having your period, make sure you have a woman you are close to that you can tell, and in case you have any questions, or if you need more pads. You may be too embarrassed at first to buy them yourself.
4. Don’t Be Shy
Getting your first period may seem embarrassing, but it’s completely natural and almost every woman does it. It is not the end of the world if someone finds out.
5. Be Prepared
Know what to expect your first time. Most girls assume their first menstrual blood will be bright red and a very heavy, obvious flow. That’s not always the case. For most girls, their first couple of periods are very light, and are a reddish-brown color.
6. Expect Some Discomfort
Most women get cramps or experience some discomfort. A heating pad can help relieve cramps, and there are certain foods to avoid during your period.
7. Take Some Time out
If you’re not feeling well because of your period, it’s okay to take some time for yourself, especially away from physical activity. For the first few months, until your body and hormones level off, you may need to skip the gym and try yoga instead.
8. You’re Normal
Most girls don’t have regular periods for the first few months. Some even skip a month after their first period. That’s normal, and after a few months, your body’s hormone level will even out, and you’ll become more regular.
9. Know when to Ask for Help
If you bleed heavily, pass a clot bigger than a quarter, or if you experience severe pain, you need to consult a doctor.
10. Consider Birth Control
This may be an embarrassing topic, but now that you’re menstruating, you are able to become pregnant, so if you are sexually active, you must consider your birth control options. Your doctor or Planned Parenthood can help you choose an option that is right for you.
Welcome to the sisterhood of women! We’re not going to announce to the world that you’ve had your first period, but we’re excited for you. Does anyone else out there have any tips to share, or anything they wish they would have known when they got their first period? Please share!