Physical Changes During Puberty
Your daughter is about to go through some really amazing changes.
- Breasts start to develop. If your daughter seems to be concerned about her breasts for any reason, remind her that breasts come in all shapes and sizes, none of which is “perfect.” Together, you might want to schedule a time to shop for bras.
- Girls experience a growth spurt before they begin to menstruate. Although she might still grow another few inches, when your daughter gets her first period, she has reached about 95 percent of her adult height.
- Her hips and rear will become curvier, and her waist will become more defined.
- Pubic hair appears at around the same time or soon after breasts begin to grow.
- Hair growth occurs under the arms, and heavier hair growth appears on the legs. You may want to discuss shaving.
- Sweat glands “switch on.” You might want her to start using a deodorant or antiperspirant and remind her that good hygiene will keep her smelling and feeling fresh and clean.
- Pimples may appear, caused by oil blockages in pores. Pimples can often be managed by keeping the face clean and the pores unclogged. Consult a doctor if they become a persistent problem.
- Menstruation begins. On average, it begins between the ages of 10 and 12, but a girl can get her first period any time between the ages of about 9 and 16.
- Her weight increases about 10–20 percent during puberty. This weight gain is normal and healthy. However, as in every stage of life, good nutrition and exercise are important to maintain a healthy body. Try preparing healthy meals and snacks together.
- Girls will also experience vaginal discharge, a completely normal part of their cycle. Starting your daughter on pantiliners at this time might be a good idea. If the fluid is a darker color, or it itches, burns or has a strong odor, consult a doctor to check for possible infection.
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