What is happening to her body?

Learn About the Physical Changes During Puberty

The good news: your daughter is showing a healthy curiosity about the changes her body is going through (or is about to go through) during puberty and she's coming to you with some important questions.


Your daughter needs you to help her grow up safely and to build self-confidence, but you might need some help in knowing what to say to her. Not to worry, parenting tips are at hand. Here's a heads-up to help you explain the main developments during puberty.

Below, you'll find useful topics and practical information which you can use as a loose 'script' or just as a conversation starter. It's okay if these things haven't happened yet. Changes usually happen in the order listed below, but this may not be in the order that they happen to your daughter.

Growing really fast

This is a time when you may grow faster than you did during childhood. This is known as a 'growth spurt'. First, you may notice your feet and hands getting bigger. Next, your arm and leg bones grow, making you taller. This can be an awkward time until the rest of the body catches up and you feel more in proportion. You might also gain some weight to match the increase in your bone size.

Getting breasts

Your breasts develop in stages. At first you may notice what feel like little 'buds' or swellings under your nipples. After that, your breasts will gradually get bigger and fuller, and may become a little sore. One breast may grow more than the other at first, but they'll even out later (most women have one breast that is larger than the other, but the difference is usually small). Remember, every girl is different. How large or small your breasts become depends on the physical, genetic traits in your family. Full breast development takes two to three years.

Growing body hair

During puberty, hair starts growing in the pubic area from your lower stomach to between your legs. In some girls, pubic hair may appear before breast development. At first, this hair is soft and there's not much of it. Later, the hair grows longer and a little curly. Although it starts growing between the legs, it eventually covers the entire pubic area and may include the upper, inner thighs. This happens gradually and takes two to three years. A few months after pubic hair begins to grow, hair will also grow under your arms.

A more 'womanly' shape

As your pelvis (the large bone across your hips) begins to grow, your hips get wider, your breasts develop (see above) and your waist gets smaller. In other words, girls' bodies become softer and more shapely. Some girls also gain weight quickly during this time.

Increased sweating

Your sweat glands will become larger and more active, and you'll sweat more. This may happen even before your breasts develop.

Oily skin and hair

During puberty, the pores in your skin produce more oil, especially on your face. This can cause acne. You may have to wash your hair and face more often now that you're going through puberty.

Changes in your genitals

Your genitals also grow and change during puberty. Your outside parts (the vulva, commonly misidentified as the vagina) are enclosed by two sets of 'lips' (which are called labia). The larger lips have hair; the inner, smaller lips don't. These increase in size a little bit. Inside your body, the vagina is getting longer and the uterus is getting bigger.

Discharge

This is a word for fluid that's produced by your body to moisten and cleanse the vagina. Before you start your period, you'll probably notice yellow or white stains inside your underwear. This is natural moisture from the vagina. It's perfectly normal and it's a sign that menstruation will probably start in about a few more months.

The discharge may be heavy or barely noticeable – both are normal. However, if the discharge has a bad smell or you have any pain, soreness or itching in the genital area, it may be a sign of infection. In this case, you should see a doctor.

Your period

Menstruation can be very unpredictable for the first two years. It typically takes one to two years for cycles to become regular. Also, it is very common for pain to accompany your monthly periods. Check out these 7 tips to overcome periods pain here.

Read useful health tips for women here.

Check out helpful daily health tips at Reward Me and stay fit every day.

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