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Dr Tariq Miskry, Consultant Gynaecologist & Obstetrician
Getting your first period is full of excitement and anticipation.
But what does your first period look like? It’s a question on a lot of girls’ minds.
Most girls get their period somewhere between the ages of 10 and 13. Don’t worry if you get yours earlier or later than your friends. Everyone is on their own schedule, and there’s no “good” or “bad” age to get your period. But when it does come, it’s pretty exciting!
You go to the loo – and TA-DA!! There it is. Period blood. But it may not be that straightforward.
Your first period (and the next few after that) may just look like brown spotting in your knickers. It’s not the red blood you may have been expecting. So what actually DOES your first period look like?
What will my first period look like
A lot of girls are surprised when their first period looks like just a few brownish spots in their knickers. But isn’t period blood supposed to be red? Well, sometimes. Brown blood is just blood that isn’t fresh.
When menstrual flow is very light, blood often takes a little longer to come out of the body, and thus turns brown before coming out of the vagina, this is completely normal!
How much will I bleed during my first period?
Your first period, as well as the next few after that, are often very light. That’s because your body is just getting a hang of this whole menstruating thing and hasn’t quite sorted out what to do with all the new hormones floating around your body.
Your period may get heavier after the first day or so, or it may stay light. Your body will do its own unique thing. There is no right or wrong. Just keep in mind that you may not bleed much on your first period.
How much blood will I shed?
The average female loses about 4 to 12 teaspoons of menstrual fluid during her period. But only a small amount of that is blood. Since your body contains 4 litres of blood on average, it doesn’t miss the little bit lost during a period – and your body makes up for it quickly.
The first few days of your period are likely to be the heaviest and the last few days will get lighter. But don’t worry - your period will never spurt out all at once!
If you are worried that your period is too heavy or if it lasts longer than 7 days, you should check with your doctor.
How long will my period last?
Your period will last between 3 to 7 days. Once your menstrual cycle is more predictable, your period will come regularly, about every 28 days. You may want to mark down on a calendar when you get your first period.
This way, you’ll have some idea when your next one will come. Your period will likely be irregular at first. It’s totally natural. It can take a while for your body to settle into a regular cycle.
What to do when I get my first period?
When you get your first period be sure to tell your mum or a trusted adult. (No one will know you have your period unless you tell them!). It can be good to tell them, so they can help support you and provide you with what you need (period products, tips…).
Next, you’ll want to put on a sanitary towel in order to absorb period blood and protect your knickers and clothing from it.
Where to get sanitary pads for my period?
Keep a pack of pads on hand before you get your period, so you’ll be prepared for the big day. Or, ask your mum or older sister for a pad. She most likely has one lying around. If not, you can always use some toilet paper until you can go buy some pads.
Wad up a good amount of toilet paper and put it in the crotch of your knickers to tide you over. But don’t wait too long! Toilet paper isn’t as absorbent as a pad and may not be enough even if you don’t bleed much on your first period.
What pads should I use for my first period?
Always Ultra pads are a great option. They provide up to 100% leakage protection, with an absorbent core that uses special technology that turns liquid into gel.
Always Ultra Pads keep wetness away from your skin, so you’ll feel clean, fresh, and confident – no matter what your first period looks like.