Do you remember your first period? We at Moody have compiled a list of your questions we wished we knew the answers to when we got our first periods.
There’s no one way to get your first period.
Whether you’ve been waiting for years in anticipation or it surprised you in the least fun way possible (periods have a habit of doing that sometimes), every first period story is unique.
But in all those stories, there’s one thing that every woman has in common when it comes to our first periods — and that’s questions.
A lot of them.
Despite all the talk with your friends and the biology lessons in school, we at Moody understand how unsure you can feel about your first period.
And guess what? You’re not alone in your curiosity. It’s actually great that you’re looking for answers and trying to understand your body.
How Do You Know You Had Your First Period?
Here’s the thing — no matter how much you prepare, seeing it for the first time can still take you by surprise. After all, it’s not every day your ovaries begin releasing eggs into your uterus and you begin your menstrual cycle. This is a new phase in your life and it can be scary and confusing.
Take a deep breath. You’re okay and everything you are feeling is completely natural.
Are you getting your first period?
First of all, let’s establish that you are, in fact, getting your first period.
What age will you get your first period?
A lot of girls start their periods anywhere between the ages of 9 and 16 (where puberty happens).
Your own biological clock is different from your friends, so there’s nothing wrong if you’re the first or the last in your group to have your period.
How can you tell when your first period is coming?
You may have noticed a few things:
- Developing breasts – Your breasts may have started to develop (you may even be wearing a training bra by now).
- Growing pubic hair – You might start to notice hair growing in places it hadn't previously. The hair will be soft and thin at first, but it will get coarser as you grow older.
- Vaginal discharge – A white or yellowish fluid is usually a sign that your period is on its way, especially when the amount increases. You can wear a pantiliner during days that it gets heavy.
- Premenstrual Syndrome – Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) happens because your hormones are changing. Common PMS symptoms are: discomfort in your lower belly (cramps) or lower back, acne, sore breasts, feeling bloated and increased tiredness.
Can you predict your first period?
There’s no way to know when it will happen exactly. You can be in school, at home, or at your friend’s house. But you will get the hang of your period schedule the more you experience it.
For now, make it a habit to mark on your calendar the first day of your period. Count 21 to 35 days from the first day to know approximately when your next period will start.
You can even use these period tracking apps to help you. Remember to take pads/tampons with you when your next period is near.
What will your first period look like?
You will feel like there’s something gooey or wet in your underwear, which will prompt you to go to the bathroom and check.
What does it look like?
Your first period will not be the same colour as when you cut your finger. It will look dark reddish to brown. This will then turn redder in colour in your next periods.
How long will your first period last?
Your first period may last anywhere between 2 to 7 days. Some have it again a month after, others after a couple more months.
While the ‘typical’ cycle of a woman is to get her period every 21 to 35 days, your first few months may not follow this.
But don’t worry — this will regularise and be more predictable after a few months.
How will you feel on your first period?
You may feel a mixture of anxiety concerning something new that you don’t quite understand yet, combined with a little excitement that you’re finally experiencing what everyone was talking about.
You may also get a few PMS symptoms before and during your period like cramps, lower back discomfort, feeling bloated, and/or mood swings.
What Do You Do When You Get Your First Period?
You cannot unfortunately choose the time and place of your first period. If you’re at home or at school, the first thing you should do is find a trusted adult to assist you.
How do you talk to about your first period?
There’s no need to feel embarrassed talking to an adult about your period. They know that this is a natural body function and they will best know how to support you.
If you’re in a public place and wouldn’t want others to overhear, pull your parent (or a trusted adult) aside and talk to them in private. Let them know that you got your period and would like some assistance.
If you got your period in school, approach the school nurse or a trusted teacher and ask for help.
As for your friends, remember that it’s your decision whether you want anyone else to know about it. But if you feel comfortable to share, you should do so. We’re pretty sure your other friends are going through the same thing.
What’s normal for your first period?
First of all, there’s no such thing as ‘normal’ for women and their periods.
Each woman feels different every month, experiences different kinds of PMS symptoms, and has different period schedules.
Why is your period blood brown on the first day?
When you begin your menstrual cycle, your ovaries will release an egg from your ovaries, which then travels down the fallopian tubes into the lining of your uterus. Unless your egg is fertilised by sperm, your body will clean out this unneeded blood and tissue — which then comes out as that reddish-brown blood that you see.
Is it normal for your first period to be brown?
Yes. It will start turning more red the more periods you have.
Should your first period be heavy or light?
Your period will start with a light flow (maybe some spotting). It will then turn heavy by the second to third day, then start being light again.
But some women have heavy periods right at the beginning. You may even see blood clots, which is nothing to worry about. Blood clots form when the anticoagulants that break down thick menstrual blood before it leaves your body don’t have enough time to break down the blood as it is expelled faster during a heavy flow.
Remember when we said every woman has a different experience?
Whether your first period is heavy (lots of blood) or very light (not a lot of blood), those are both normal. Some would need to change pads after two hours, some won’t need to change until four hours.
How much blood will you lose on your first period?
We know it looks a lot, but you’re only losing 3 to 5 tablespoons of blood.
And like we mentioned, it’s not all blood. You’re also shedding tissues.
What will your emotions be?
If you notice yourself getting sad, angry, or irritable within a short period of time, that is called a ‘mood swing.’ This is caused by your hormones changing which is natural. The sooner you recognise that this is caused by your period, the better you can understand and manage.
How should you manage discomfort throughout?
It’s common for women to feel discomfort (lower belly or lower back) before and during their periods. This is called “dysmenorrhea” and it usually happens during days when you’re bleeding heavily.
You can take over-the-counter medications to help you. A hot compress also works.
Do some light exercises like jogging, walking, or stretching, especially on days before your period. Avoid eating anything with caffeine (eg. Coffee) and salty food, as these can worsen the pain.
Tampons, Pads, Or Cups?
There are three products that you can choose from, each with their own pros and cons. Remember to use what you feel most comfortable with.
- Great for first timers
- Can be worn overnight
- Easy to use
- You can monitor your flow regularly
- Change every 2 to 4 hours, depending on your flow
- You’ll feel blood when it comes out of you
- You’ll be very conscious that you’re wearing one
- If your blood flow is heavy, you risk leakage especially when you move a lot or when you’re sleeping
- You can develop a rash due to the pad rubbing on your skin
- You can wear them for 4 to 8 hours
- You can swim and participate in sports wearing a tampon
- They are small and can easily fit in your pocket, hand, or purse which you can take to the restroom
- You don’t feel a ‘wet’ sensation when the blood comes out
- You don’t feel it when you wear one
- Can be a bit complicated for first timers, since it involves an applicator
- It can be uncomfortable when it’s not full upon removal
- Might get pushed out when you move your bowels or when you urinate
- Can cause infection if not changed regularly
- Can wear one for 12 hours with no leakage
- Reusable cups make it a cheaper option in the long term
- Good for the environment since one cup can last 6 to 10 months
- Insertion and removal can be difficult
- You can get blood on your hands or clothes if you don’t do it right
- Cleaning can be cumbersome since you need to sterilise it after use
While you may feel uncertain and anxious about your period, remember that you’re going through the next phase of your journey towards womanhood and that it’s completely natural. Talk to a trusted adult with whom you can share your worries.
And to further guide you, you can also read our articles regarding periods:
- All Swelled Up
- Eight Tips To Be Kinder On Your Vagina On Your Period
- The Monthly Map
- How to Practice Yoga For Your Period