First day of high school. First kiss. First bra. There are SO many firsts we have as girls!
Gahh. And getting a first period can be one of the most daunting and hella confusing firsts of all. But let us tell you, it is something that EVERY girl experiences and with some information, tips and tricks, it will be a first that is totally manageable.
Why do girls get periods?
To begin with, why do we even get periods in the first place? As females, our bodies evolve to have babies – our hips widen, we grow breasts and the big preparation is menstruation (getting our period). This development, called puberty, is kicked off by the release of a hormone called ‘oestrogen’.
So a period is just blood leaving our vagina, right? Well yes, but it is also more than that!
A period is made up of blood, mucus, tissue and other bodily matter that lines the wall of the uterus in preparation for a potential pregnancy. Each month, from when you’ve hit puberty, one of your two ovaries will release an egg. This egg (technically called an ovum) may become fertilised by a sperm if you’ve had sexual intercourse. The fertilised egg then attaches to the lining of the uterus and a baby begins to grow and develop. However, more often than not, the ovum won’t be fertilised so after a couple of days, it breaks down along with the lining of the uterus and is released by the body through the vagina. This girls, is a period.
This is the million dollar question, girl! Your first period may arrive anytime from when you are 8 to 16 years of age. While we don’t have a crystal ball, there can be some hints that your period is on its way.
- You reach the age when your Mum got her first period.
- Your breasts start to ‘bud’.
- Your hips get wider.
- Vaginal discharge. You notice a clear or whitish fluid on your undies.
- Hair starts to grow under your arms and over your pubic area.
- Your labia may grow and become pinker, or even more of a purple colour.
- You sweat more and the sweat is a bit smelly! FYI: All good, just start using a deodorant.
- You have a growth spurt.
- Your skin and hair may get a bit oilier. If your discharge becomes brownish in colour, your period is very close!
How do I prepare for my first period?
There are a couple of things you can do to prep for your first period. First up;
- Get Mum to buy you some pads, liners and/or tampons, and keep them in a small toiletries bag along with a fresh pair of undies. We recommend our Libra Girl range – it’s designed especially for petite bodies and is PERFECT for first periods. We also have a super helpful FREE Libra Girl Starter Kit to help get you prepped. Get yours HERE.
- Practice applying pads to your undies and start wearing them during the day. Think of this like how you might try out a new pair of shoes around the house before you wear them to a special event! That way, when your period comes, the feeling of the pad will be normal and you’ll be much more at ease.
- If you think your period may be close, wear our Libra Protect Active Liner. Not only will you be totally covered if your period arrives for the first time when you’re at school or out with friends, but you’ll also feel nice and fresh throughout the day.
How will my first period feel?
You may notice a slippery wet feeling around your vagina, but overall, there is no real sensation to your flow. A few days prior, you may experience some stomach cramping or feel a bit irritable.
Your first period will most likely be very light and a liner may do the trick to keep you protected. As the months go on, your period will begin to regulate and it may appear that you’re shedding a lot blood! However, the average period is only 100-120ml and only 40ml of that is actual blood (or around 2 and a half tablespoons). It just looks a little dramatic on a white pad!
How long will my first period last?
Most girls have their period for 3 to 7 days. But to begin with, it can be as few as 2 days, or as long as 7. It will take a few months for your body to show a pattern.
How often should I change my pad?
You should change your pad around every 4 hours. Perhaps change before school, at recess and then after school. Remember to put your used pad in the dedicated sanitary bin in the girls’ toilets at school. Whatever you do, don’t flush it! It will block the toilet causing a major #facepalm moment.
How do I manage my period ongoing?
- Use your school diary to draw a heart or star on the first day of your period, then count the number of days until your next period arrives. Keep this up for a few months, and you may start to see a pattern and be able to predict your period’s arrival. There are also heaps of great apps that do this for you! Flo Period and Period Diary are our faves.
- We always keep a small toiletries case in our bag with spare pads, liners and undies. You’ll be prepared and confident for whenever your period arrives.
- Try Libra liners. They are a great option to not only keep downstairs fresh throughout the month, but to stay protected from an early bird period arriving.
- You may experience premenstrual stress, commonly referred to as PMS, before the arrival of your period. Irritability, constipation, bloating and back aches can all be part of the PMS package. We wrote a blog with our top tips for managing these symptoms and recommend you check it out!
What if I have a leak or my period comes unexpectedly?
Believe it or not, we have ALL been there. We recommend tying your jumper around your waist if you’re at school and heading to the bathroom. Wash your dress with some cold water and soap, then dry via the hand dryer. Next ask a friend or the School Nurse if they have a pad that you could use. Trust us, your sisters will be happy to help! If you don’t have anyone to lean on, roll up some toilet paper into your undies. It will do the trick until you can get hold of a pad.
What products are right for me?
Pads, liners, tampons – where to start? Here’s the lowdown:
- Pads sit in your undies to absorb your flow. There are many different pad options and while they all do the job, your flow is unique to you so it’s a personal preference. We find many girls opt for our Libra Girl pads when they first get their period. Libra Girl is our specially designed range for petite bodies.
- Liners are great when you think your period is on its way, or even to stay fresh and collect discharge.
- Tampons are inserted inside your vagina to absorb your period. You’ll want to wear these if you go swimming, but you don’t need to worry about them for your first period if you’re not ready. It can take some practice getting used to using them.
- Check out our article on ‘Which product is right for me?’ for more details!
Remember you can talk to your Mum or a close female friend if you’re still unsure or have questions. You can also head over to Ask Gemmah – think of her as a big sis online, who’s done it all before and is happy to help you along your way.
Anything else? Asaleo Care makes no warranties or representations regarding the completeness or accuracy of the information. This information should be used only as a guide and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional, medical or other health professional advice.