Some have been eagerly await­ing their first period for a long time, while oth­ers are afraid of it. Oth­ers simply ignore the topic or don’t even know what might come up soon. In any case, feel­ings around the first period are often mixed. Nev­er­the­less, the begin­ning of men­stru­ation is a spe­cial day. It is a day that will be remembered by many. To help you be per­fectly pre­pared for your first men­stru­ation, we have cre­ated a small check­list with the most import­ant tips for you. Together with us, you can wait calmly for your first period arrive.

How do I know I will be get­ting my period soon?

You’re prob­ably won­der­ing: Will I know when it’s time? Usu­ally yes, because the first men­stru­ation does not start without any signs. Puberty often begins with slight phys­ical changes, such as the growth of breasts or vulva hair. The hor­monal changes in the body announce the first period well in advance. This is because the first bled­ing usu­ally occurs later in puberty. Are there spe­cific signs of the first period? Shortly before the onset of men­stru­ation, for example, phys­ical com­plaints in the form of abdom­inal pain or breast ten­der­ness may occur. Impure skin can also be an indic­a­tion that the first period is approach­ing. How­ever, the hor­mones are prob­ably chal­len­ging the skin dur­ing the entire period of puberty any­away. So maybe not the best sign after all. Pimples on the face or décol­leté are prob­ably on the daily agenda. How­ever, a reli­able sign is vaginal discharge.

Vaginal dis­charge as a sign for my first period?

The appear­ance of vaginal dis­charge (no blood yet!) sig­nals that your uterus has become act­ive and is work­ing. The hor­monal changes have star­ted in your body. You are won­der­ing what exactly the vaginal dis­charge is or what it looks like? It is a whit­ish-milky fluid that comes out of the vagina and is com­pletely nor­mal – as long as it does not smell or itch. You prob­ably see small whit­ish spots in your under­wear every now and then. Some people notice them more than oth­ers, but we all have them. If you like, you can use (wash­able) panty liners or period under­wear. This is the fore­run­ner for the first period, which is com­ing soon. The only ques­tion now is: how long does it take until the first period startes after noti­cing dis­charge for the first time? Men­stru­ation prob­ably starts about a year after the first dis­charge. So it takes it’s time, but the exact time of the first period can be determ­ined at least roughly.

How do I pre­pare for my first period?

It is best to inform your­self and start ask­ing a lot of ques­tions about men­stru­ation and the cycle. Read books and talk to people in your fam­ily or circle of friends about your period – be brave! Also here on Vul­vani you will find a treas­ure on period know­ledge and you can send us all your ques­tions! Because the more you know about your own body, the more com­fort­able you will feel with your men­stru­ation. When you get your period for the first time, you are (men­tally) already well pre­pared for it and know dir­ectly what is really going on.

Our best advice for you: Emer­gency kit for your period

You are won­der­ing how you could best pre­pare for your first period? Here is our best advice for you: ALWAYS KEEP MENSTRUAL PRODUCTS IN YOUR BAGS. It’s like a little period emer­gency kit! If you notice that you’re begin­ning to have a whit­ish vaginal dis­charge, check in your bath­room to see what men­strual products you can find there. Or talk to your par­ents or sib­lings about the fact that you might need some products soon. Just in case, always have a pad, tam­pon or even a panty liner in your bag. If your first period sur­prises you (which it usu­ally does), at least you are well pre­pared and have the right products at hand. That’s going to be so worth it  in such a new, some­times a little over­whelm­ing situ­ation! But even after your first period, it is advis­able to always have a small emer­gency period sup­ply with you. Because espe­cially at the begin­ning your men­stru­ation is rather irreg­u­lar. Just make sure that the products are well pro­tec­ted when you’re on the go and that the pack­aging doesn’t acci­dent­ally rip and your products get dirty. The best way to do this is to use a small extra bag with only your period products in it. Then everything is stored safely and cleanly.

What am I sup­posed to do when I unex­pec­tedly get my period for the first time?

In any case, keep calm! And take a good look at everything in the bath­room. If you have men­strual products at hand, everything is great and you can use them. If noth­ing is within reach, a little toi­let paper will help at first. It is best to tear off sev­eral sheets at once and fold them neatly over each other. And voilá, your first self-made pad is ready to be used. It should at least catch the blood until you can go to the toi­let again or until you are at home and can use a real period product. A little tip: If you are sur­prised by your first period at school, it’s worth going to the nurse’s office. The first aid kit often con­tains a few pads or tam­pons for emer­gen­cies. Apart from that, you don’t really have much to do dur­ing your period – except maybe a little more rest. Try to observe your body care­fully to under­stand how you feel dur­ing your period. And talk to the people you live with or who are close to you. They prob­ably all know your situ­ation and often it helps to talk about your feel­ings and get tips from the exper­i­enced people. They can prob­ably answer all your ques­tions instantly.

Do you feel ready for your first period?

If you still have ques­tions that this art­icle could not answer, please feel free to write us a mes­sage. With us no ques­tion should be too unpleas­ant or embar­rass­ing for you. Because we were once where you are now and prob­ably had exactly the same ques­tions as you. So we are happy to share our period wis­dom with you!

You are not alone!

Are you curi­ous how other men­stru­at­ing people exper­i­enced their first period? Then take a look at the art­icles from the series ‘Men­stru­ation around the world‘ and read how oth­ers exper­i­enced their first men­stru­ation. You can read my per­sonal story about my first period here.

Britta Wiebe, period education, Vulvani
Britta 
Co-Founder Vul­vani | britta@vulvani.com | Web­site | + posts

Britta Wiebe is the co-founder of Vul­vani. She loves research­ing, writ­ing and design­ing new art­icles or innov­at­ive edu­ca­tional con­cepts about men­stru­ation all day long. When she is not trav­el­ling the world, she enjoys spend­ing time with her loved ones in the beau­ti­ful city of Ham­burg in Germany.