Gynecologic Health

Premier Health providers answer frequently asked questions about prevention and wellness for women.

What are steps I can take to help my daughter prepare for her first period?

Some steps that a parent can do to help their child prepare for her first period is to talk about, first of all, the products that you can use for your first period. I usually advise women to start with pads for their daughters, menstrual pads, and they can use the ones that their mother is most comfortable with so they could go shopping for pads so they can tuck one in her backpack in case she gets her period at school for this first time. Talking about menstrual cramps can be helpful if the girl’s mother has had menstrual cramps herself but you don't want to scare your daughter about the pain because many women don't have pain with their periods at all and I think it is important to emphasize that things like exercise and eating right, all of those are things that make your first period and periods generally better.

You can help your daughter prepare to have her first period by talking to her about what she can expect to happen with her body and also talking about your own experiences.

After you talk to her about what to expect when her period comes, take her to buy products she’ll need, including menstrual pads and tampons, Premier Physician Network (PPN) providers say.

Even if she is going to start with pads and not use tampons right away, having them can help her understand and feel comfortable with them.

Once she has pads, she can tuck some in her backpack in a discreet place so she can be prepared in case her first period comes while she is at school.

Without worrying her, also talk to your daughter about menstrual cramps, feelings of tiredness, and mood swings. Help her to understand that these are normal changes that can come along with a period, but don’t affect everyone the same way.

It’s important also to let her know that she will have a clear or white vaginal discharge for months before her first period comes, which is normal and nothing to worry about, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Menstrual cycle hygiene – including how often to bathe and how often to change tampons and pads – is another important topic. It’s good to talk about before your daughter gets her period, but she’ll probably need gentle reminders after her period comes.

And, make sure she knows that having her period shouldn’t keep her from being active and doing the things she loves. She’ll still be able to participate in team sports, gym class, swimming, gymnastics and anything else she enjoys.

For more information about how to help your daughter prepare for her first period, talk with your doctor.

Learn more:

Source: Rashmi Bolinjkar, MD, Upper Valley Womens Center; Jeremy Crouch, MD, Womens Health Specialists and Midwives of Dayton; Heather Hilkowitz, MD, Hilltop Obstetrics and Gynecology; Amanda Fox, CNP, Dulan and Moore Dulan Family Wellness Center; Kathryn Lorenz, MD, Hyatt Family Care; William Rush, MD, Lifestages Samaritan Centers for Women; Jerome Yaklic, MD, Wright State Physicians Obstetrics and Gynecology; Mansi Amin, DO, SureCare Medical Center; Amy Renshaw, MD, Center for Womens Health and Wellness; J. Scott Bembry, Premier OB/GYN; L. William Rettig, III, MD,Lifestages Centers for Women; Elyse Weber, PA, Lifestages Centers for Women; Rhonda Washington, MD, Center for Womens Health and Wellness; Stacy Hudepohl, CNM, Center for Womens Health and Wellness; Larry Holland, DO, Premier Womens Center

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