5 Signs To Look Out For Before You Get Your First Period

Getting your first period is a momentous occasion. It marks the first step into womanhood and should be celebrated as such. But let’s not beat around the bush here, your first period is also a bit scary, right? You’ve had the lessons at school, you’ve had the chat with your mum, you’ve read the books, and perhaps you’ve even chatted about it with friends who have already started theirs. But you’ve still got tonnes of questions…

What will it feel like?

How much blood will there be?

Will it hurt?

How will I know when my first period is coming?

We’re hoping to be able to answer some of these questions for you in our future posts, but for now we want to focus on helping you look out for some of the key signs that your body is preparing itself for the arrival of your first period. And the benefit of having this knowledge is that you will be able to prepare yourself for when that day arrives.

Here’s what you should be looking out for:

1. You’ll Develop Boobs

Roughly 2 years before you get your first period you’ll notice something different about yourself.

Where your chest was once straight up and down and your nipples were small and flat, suddenly your chest has developed into what can only be described as swollen lumps and your nipples have become larger and more raised. Don’t worry, this is all perfectly normal.

What you’re seeing are breast buds and the appearance of these is pretty much the first sign of puberty. Although no one can put an exact date on it, you’re first period will arrive approximately 2 years after you notice your boobs developing.

They may also start to feel a bit more tender and sensitive than usual. Again, this is all very normal and is another sign that your reproductive system is doing what it should be.

2. You’ll Get Hairier

Once your boobs have started to grow, you may then start to notice some other strange developments of a more hairy nature. Yep, we’re talking about pubic hair, underarm hair and leg hair.

You’ve probably never paid much attention to the surface of those particular body areas before, they’re just there. But you might suddenly start noticing the odd stray hair growing or a fine downy coating of soft hair starting to come through. Over time this hair will get longer, thicker, and darker and there will be lots more of it.

Interestingly, the places you start sprouting hair from can give us a good estimation as to when you’ll get your first period. Pubic hair and leg hair will likely come first, usually around the same sort of time as your breast buds, which means your period could be 2 years away. Your underarms will be the last area to grow hair and when it does most girls will get their period within the year.

It is very difficult to be more specific than this, as some girls take up to a year after underarm hair growth, whereas for others it could be just a couple of months. Just know that if you’re hairier than before, your period will be sure to make an appearance sometime soon.

3.Your Body Will Change Shape

Puberty is a time of huge growth, sometimes you can grow as much as 8cm a year, which explains all those growing pains you may have been experiencing. This growth reaches a peak at around 6-12 months before the start of your period and aside from getting taller you’ll notice a few other changes to the shape of your body too.

If, like most parents, yours also like to regularly track your height (eye roll), it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to start paying attention to what those numbers say. You see, fast growth followed by a dramatic slow down is a huge indicator that your period is on its way. You’ve probably noticed how some girls in school are way taller than others, well the chances are they’re the ones that have already started their period. Obviously, genetics play a part, however those first couple of years of secondary school will highlight substantial height differences.

Another thing you’ll notice is that your hips have got wider. This isn’t anything to worry about. Just as your body appears to be growing externally, so too are some of your internal elements. Your vagina, uterus and ovaries are growing with you and they need some extra room, hence the wider hips. You’re basically growing into your body, this is your design, who you were always meant to be, and it’s a beautiful and empowering moment.

4. You’ll Notice White Discharge In Your Knickers

One of the more icky signs that your first period is on its way is white discharge in your knickers. Now, firstly let’s make something very clear, this discharge is nothing to be ashamed of. It doesn’t mean you’re dirty, it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you, and every girl gets it.

Let me repeat… white discharge is normal.

But when you haven’t had it before it can feel a bit gross in your knickers. If the feeling bothers you, the best thing you can do is to start wearing a panty liner so that you can freshen up throughout the day and this will also help get you used to the logistics of what needs doing when your period comes.

This white gloopy liquid is vaginal discharge and it has a very important job of lubricating and keeping your vagina clean and clear of infection. Clever when you think about it. You’ll start to get this discharge about 6 months before your first period and you will continue to get it throughout your menstruation journey.

As your periods begin to get into a bit more of a regular cycle, you’ll notice that your discharge changes slightly throughout the month in accordance with when your period is due. At times it will be really thin and almost see through, whereas other times it can be thicker and more creamy in consistency. You only need to worry if there is a strong smell, if there is a green tinge to it, or if it makes you itch or is painful to wee, as this may mean that you have an infection in which case you should tell your parents and get them to make you a doctor’s appointment.

5. Your Hair And Skin Will Change

And finally, one other change that will happen to you, and this is likely to be just a few months before your period arrives, is that your skin and hair will change. Don’t worry it’s nothing too drastic, you’re not going to go bald, or change colour or anything like that, but you may start to have a few outbreaks of spots and your hair and skin may feel more greasy than normal.

During puberty, when our hormones are most active, our oil glands are stimulated and produce more oil. The consequence of this is greasy skin, which can lead to acne. There are heaps of products out there designed for teenage skin, so have a hunt around and see if you can get some samples to try to help you find something that suits your skin. Likewise, use a shampoo and conditioner suitable for greasy hair.

Puberty is a time of many changes, and it can all feel a bit much at times. But what you need to remember is that every girl goes through it, including your mum and other female family members, so it’s always worth speaking to them to get their advice. It may seem like an embarrassing topic, but trust me, they’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt, and they’ve got a wealth of knowledge to share with you if you’ll let them.

Try not to worry about when your first period is going to come. As long as you’re prepared with all of the period products you need and you look out for the signs above, then you will be absolutely fine, I promise.