How to Talk to Your Daughter About Her First Menstrual Period

Talking to your daughter about her first menstrual period is important for her preparation. And who better than you to inform her than another woman? Here are some recommendations.
How to Talk to Your Daughter About Her First Menstrual Period
Elena Sanz

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Elena Sanz.

Written by Ana Núñez

Last update: 13 December, 2022

At this stage of adolescent development, it’s common for parents to have a question, especially if they’re women: how to talk to your daughter about her first menstrual period. The key is to do it without making it an embarrassing conversation.

Keep in mind that a young woman’s period becomes one of the most transcendental and expected moments in this new stage of her life. The age at which it occurs varies according to genetics and the particular circumstances of each person. Since t could appear as early as 10 years of age, it’s a good idea to introduce the subject in case it hasn’t yet come up on its own.

How to talk to your daughter about her first menstrual period

The key is to approach the subject openly, without making it seem like a big deal. Doing so would stir up a feeling of shame which, although frequent at the beginning in some women, should be avoided in the face of such a normal, natural event as menstruation.

Every mother or father will surely be able to find the ideal moment to talk to their daughter about her first menstruation. Try to do it in privacy and not at a family gathering or when she’s in public or among friends.

And if you are one of those mothers or fathers who find it difficult to plan a conversation, take advantage of new technologies. Excellent professionals in the area have published many videos on this topic in digital formats that can be pleasant and easy to understand. You can watch them first and make sure you offer specialized content.

We think you may also enjoy reading this article: Is it Normal to Have Blood Clots During Your Period?

When is the right time to talk to your daughter?

The ideal time to talk to your daughter about her first menstrual period will depend on the age at which she brings up her concerns. The information should go hand in hand with her ability to process it, without underestimating it.

We all know of very precocious and observant boys and girls who surprise more than one mom or dad at a very young age with questions about growing up. Remember that there are books designed to accompany parents in this process written by qualified personnel.

There are some texts that deal with human development only with illustrations, others that opt for scientific explanations, and others that opt for fictional stories. You can use any of them to lay the groundwork.

How to Talk to Your Daughter About Her First Menstrual Period
There are more and more books on sex education, in many different formats. You can choose the one you like to support you.

How to talk to your daughter about her first menstrual period: Explain what menstruation is

Menstruation is a cyclical process that begins between the ages of 10 and 15 when estrogen hormone levels naturally increase, causing the mucous layer lining the uterus to thicken.

This layer is called the endometrium and has the function of thickening to  receive the fertilized egg in what is known as implantation. If this doesn’t  occur, because the egg has not been fertilized, it dissolves and hormone levels decrease, causing the endometrium to  peel , which is expelled in a mixture of blood and vaginal discharge. This type of description helps to dispel myths about menstruation and to understand the complex and fascinating physiology of her body.

What is important to talk to your daughter about her first menstrual period?

When talking to your daughter about her first menstrual period, you can approach the topic from two perspectives. One is what it usually triggers on an emotional level. Meanwhile, another is from the point of view of physical changes. In this regard, consider mentioning the following aspects.

How her body will change

As the body grows and approaches puberty, it will make noticeable changes that modify the childish figure. Legs will be longer, breasts will grow, hips will widen and body hair will be more profuse, especially in the pubic area.

Everything happens in parallel and reaches its peak with the onset of the first menstruation. Sometimes, there are only a few spots in this initial bleeding.

When does the first menstruation occur?

The first menstruation may occur on average at the age of 12, but it has no predetermined age. That is, it can happen earlier or later. There are even those who experience it around the age of 15.

What it feels like to menstruate

Prior to bleeding, you may feel discomfort in the lower back or abdomen. Some people get a headache, with or without nausea, and the breasts are often very tender.

Breast tenderness becomes for many women a sign that they are about to menstruate. This is in addition to ups and downs in mood.

How often and for how long you menstruate

The duration of menstruation is also not precise but can be estimated to last between 3 and 5 days on average. The menstrual cycle occurs approximately every 28 days.

The time varies more in the early years and can be shortened or lengthened up to 45 days. It’s considered normal for menstruation to be irregular at first.

Products to consider during menstruation

Menstruation is a natural process and the adolescent should become familiar with it. It’s necessary to teach her about the products she can use to contain the blood, such as sanitary napkins, cups, tampons, or pads.

It’s necessary that young women know them well and can choose the one that best suits their requirements, in addition to the options that each one would offer according to the circumstances.

It’s also motivating to clarify her questions and show that they’re all designed to go unnoticed and adapt to your menstrual flow – w hich, by the way, will be different from that of her friends. These differences are something she’ll becoming familiar with in time. 

Pregnancy, sexuality, and diseases

Finally, take advantage of the first menstruation to talk to your daughter about sexuality and the possibility of pregnancy. This may be the most uncomfortable point, but it should not be ignored.

The idea is not to frighten her, but to educate her about what’s biologically happening in her body. This is coupled with a definition of contraceptive methods and their effectiveness in preventing both pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

Embarazo no deseado en la adolescencia.
Addressing the issue of unwanted pregnancy is key. Its frequency makes it necessary to raise it from an early age.

What to avoid when talking to your daughter about her first menstruation

Don’t dramatize the topic. Also, don’t overwhelm her with demands, and don’t focus on the perceived problems of menstruation.

Children can also be educated on the subject

Children are not exempt from such a significant topic. Making them aware of it is part of parents’ responsibility. The first menstruation is an important milestone.

It also serves as a reference point to explain to them the equivalent of this sign in the evolutionary process of boys. And the physical implications of menstruation in the act of procreation. This will probably lead to a more extensive conversation about sexuality and protective measures.

Like this article? You may also like to read: A False Period: What Is It and Why Does It Appear?

When to seek professional advice

Most girls develop smoothly and their periods are regular. In view of this, most parents don’t consider a gynecological visit necessary, although the current trend is to promote this first consultation as a timely intervention.

However, there are cases in which due to different conditions, hormonal or otherwise, menstruations are delayed for more than 2 or 3 months. Other times they become very abundant or painful, to the point of becoming an impediment in the school routine or a deterioration in the quality of life.

Also, if their periods are too irregular, if they were regular and no longer are, or if they have three months without menstruating, it may be a good idea to talk to a doctor.

Similarly, it’s a reason to see a professional if the young woman has not menstruated despite having all the signs of development in her body and being over 15 years old. The same is true if the bleeding is prolonged for a long time when she does menstruate.

Talking to your daughter about her first menstruation is part of parenting

As we’ve already said, there’s no set age to talk to your daughter about her first menstruation. Be attentive to the signs that children send about doubts related to the subject and don’t miss the opportunity to give an explanation. And if this doesn’t happen, let yourself be guided by your gift as a mother or father to show them your knowledge.

Remind your daughter not to worry when her friends start menstruating – or if their periods seem different. Explain that menstruation, including cycle length and flow, varies from person to person and sometimes from month to month.

Among the many experiences to share with your daughter is keeping a menstrual calendar. This is the ideal method for tracking and noticing irregularities – information that will allow her to plan and report promptly at the time of her checkups.

Having the right information at the right time will allow them to make decisions that are not the result of chance and ignorance. Therefore, you will be providing them with a very powerful tool to safeguard their health.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.