It's important to start discussion early about body changes and a girl's first period. Also, make sure your daughter feels comfortable to ask you questions about these subjects.
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Juli Auclair: Some girls are absolutely dread, the thought of getting their first period, others cannot wait for it to come. Well, either way, it's important to know what to expect so that you'll be ready. Here is Dr. Michelle Francis to explain when you might get your period and what it might be like. Dr. Michelle Francis: If you are between the age of 9 and 16 you are probably about to get your period. When do you know you are going to get your period? I would say, look at your breasts, look at your axilla, which means your armpit, and look in your groin area. If you start noticing that you are getting pubic hair, if you notice that your breasts are getting larger then your period is probably going to come within the next two to three years. When your period first comes it's not going to come on time; on time meaning once a month, about every 28 days. It's very common for your periods to be irregular for the first year, meaning that you'll get it one month, you might skip a couple of months and then you'll get your period again. During those phases you might notice that your periods are heavy and you might notice that you'll have a lot of cramping. If you do notice that your periods are so heavy that you are changing your pads all the time or the cramping is so bad that you don't want to go to school you need to see a doctor. Your periods usually last between four and seven days. Again, if it's shorter it's perfectly fine, but if it's longer than that and you are changing your pads a lot, I would say give your doctor a call, or at least let your parents know. It is perfectly safe for you to use a tampon, it may be a little uncomfortable at first but as you get used to it you'll be happy to use it and it's perfectly safe so long as you change it on a regular basis. I would say talk to your doctor about that. Juli Auclair: All right, thanks so much Dr. Francis! And it's not always easy for moms and dads to talk to their daughters about their first period, so we have brought in Family Therapist; Arden Greenspan-Goldberg to help us figure out exactly what to say and it's so good to have you back in the studio. Arden Greenspan-Goldberg: Hi! How are you? Juli Auclair: Hi! Well, you know a lot of women say, my mother never talk to be about my period, she just handed me a pamphlet or gave me a sanitary pad and that was it and I was confused. And I think a lot of women want to do things differently than their mothers did, but they don't know where to start. So where should they? Arden Greenspan-Goldberg: Absolutely, I think you start right from the beginning that you are an emotionally accessible parent and warm and engaging. And I think, again, we have to have the finger on our child's pulse and development. So I know little girls now that are very excited about getting pubic hair and underarm hair, and I think that's the beginning of where we have to talk about. Body changes and part of the body changes would be anticipated and embracing once period as well. Juli Auclair: Okay, so well for some little girls are excited, others can be emotional about it, confused, embarrassed, what can moms say? What can they do to make it a more comfortable experience with their daughters? Arden Greenspan-Goldberg: Well, you could say, I know how it was for me that I was overwhelmed and I was scared, but the difference here, sweetie, is that I am here for you, whereas grandma didn't talk about it at all with me and it kind of came upon me all of a sudden. This is different, you and I are going to talk about this a lot, and with dad as well, and you are going to know also. We are going to have a calendar for you and you are going to cross off days when to anticipate, when you do get your period. But know that there is going to be times where you are going to have moody swings and feel irritable and not quite yourself, but know that daddy and I will be extra, extra, extra, extra caring and comforting and loving of you, during that time. Juli Auclair:

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