What to Expect with Her First Period?

What to Expect with Her First Period?

 Detroit-based pediatrician Dr. Lisa Klein leads a Turning Teen workshop on puberty.



Most girls feel _____ about getting their period for the first time.

  1. Embarrassed 😳
  2. Scared 😱
  3. Excited 😁
  4. Nervous 😬
  5. All of the above


  1. e) All of the above!

All of these feelings are normal!  But most importantly, they should feel prepared for their period with all of the information and supplies they will need to handle it like a pro!

First of all, puberty is a process that occurs over many years (range of 2-5 years!), and it doesn’t start with menstruation.  A female will have breast development and pubic hair before their period will make its debut.  A general rule of thumb is that menses will begin about 2- 2 ½  years after the start of breast development. 

She will also have a growth spurt the 6-12 months before her bleeding begins. On average, a child grows about 2 inches a year. So the year leading up to her period, a female will often grow 2-3 inches! 


The average age of menarche (the start of one’s period) in the United States is ____ years old. 

  1. 11
  2. 11 ½ 
  3. 12
  4. 12 ½
  5. 13


  1. d) 12 ½ 

The average age of menarche  in the United States is 12 ½ years old.  That means it can be normal for younger girls (10 years old!) or older girls (15 years old!) to get their period for the first time. 

Sometimes family history can help figure out when a girl may start menstruating, as some follow in their mom’s footsteps.  There are so many other factors affecting menarche (weight, environment, exercise) that it is hard to accurately predict!


The color of the blood of a first period will be _____.

  1. Red just like blood 🩸 
  2. Brown just like poop 💩 
  3. Pink like ballet slippers 🩰
  4. All of the above


  1. d) All of the above!

There are so many different ways a period presents itself! It may be a just a little bit of bright red blood in her underwear, or a pink tinge on the toilet paper after wiping in the bathroom. What surprises some the most is that it might not look like blood at all, but rather a dark brown stain. Old blood that has been sitting in a uterus for a long time can look very dark red or brown by the time it exits the vagina.

Once menarche begins, a period may show up monthly or may not make another appearance for many months!  It can take years for menstruation to have a regular schedule. 


Of course you have more questions! There is so much to learn about periods and how to take care of them! Questions about menstruation are the most commonly asked questions at our Turning Teen workshops! Follow us on social media @turningteen to learn more…or invite us to do a workshop in your area!


 -Lisa D. Klein, M.D. 


Dr. Lisa Klein is a board-certified pediatrician in Metro-Detroit and the co-founder of Turning Teen. She is passionate about helping tweens and teens get through adolescence without shame or embarrassment by providing them with knowledge about their bodies.  As a doctor mom, she loves sharing advice with parents too! Turning Teen is a team of pediatricians that starts the conversation about puberty and sexual health with educational programs in classrooms, community settings, or at home.

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