What to expect from your first period

You can get your period when you are as young as 9 or as old as 16 (occasionally up to 18) and most girls get their first period around the ages of 12 or 13. If your period is yet to arrive chances are you are on the lookout for some indication about its progress, so here are a few signs that your first period might be just around the corner:

  • Hair growth under your arms and around your pubic area
  • White vaginal discharge (it's like white milky water coming out of your vagina). This is perfectly normal and nothing to stress about
  • You might feel bloated and get some cramps in your tummy area or lower back
  • Your mood may change without reason, so like being soooo happy the one minute and then very sad the next
  • Being sensitive to emotions, pain and hot or cold temperatures

These are all the normal tell-tale signs that your period is on its way. If you notice any of these things happening or are just plain worried, you might think about having a sit down with your mum to chat about her first period. Most mums will be so happy you want to talk about period stuff with them they won't even notice if you are a bit embarrassed!

When you first get your period it can be quite a surprise – especially if it is early, and you're not expecting it (and let's face it, none of us sit around 'waiting' for our period – we have lives!). Usually you will notice the arrival signs of your first period when you go to the loo. There may be some dark colouring in your undies, this is the menstrual blood of your first period – so congrats!

Menstrual blood is the lining of the womb that has done its job and is now clearing out of the body. The blood could look anywhere from bright red to dark brown so don't be fussed if it's not the colour you are expecting. The amount of menstrual blood you have is different for each woman but most have heavier bleeding at the start, and then it lightens up until it's all done. Sanitary products like tampons, pads and liners come in a range of absorbencies. This is so you can use the 'super' absorbency products for heavy days, 'regular' for medium flow and 'mini' for light days. Often, regular or super products are best during your period when the flow is heavier, and 'mini' or lighter for the very beginning or end of your period.

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