As a parent, we can feel overwhelmed with all of the important information we want our daughter to have as she prepares for her first period. Making sure she has a pad and change of underwear with her all the time is a great start. She will feel more confident if she is prepared.
Another way to help her feel less anxious is to teach her about the basics of the menstrual cycle so she can understand what is happening in her body. This chart explains the basics in beautiful color.
Here are the key points using a 28 day cycle:
- Day 1 of her menstrual cycle is the first day that she notices blood from her period. This is an important landmark because all of the other events are not so obvious.
- The important hormone in the first two weeks is estrogen. It is produced by the ovaries and it prepares her uterus for the possibility of pregnancy.
- At ovulation, an egg is released from one of her ovaries and starts on its way to the uterus.
- Progesterone, with a little help from estrogen, are the important hormones in the next two weeks. They are produced by the ovary that let go of the egg. If the egg does not join with a sperm after ovulation, the egg vanishes when it arrives in the uterus. The ovary slowly stops making progesterone/estrogen and the uterus prepares for her next period. From about days 25-28, she might feel some cramping and emotional changes.
There are different apps available to her that help her track her period over several months. They are wonderful for planning. Having an understanding about her menstrual cycle will help her make great use of one of these apps.
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