If you are a mom, you know how significant your monthly menstrual cycle is to your everyday life. It seems complicated, and so we might be hesitant to try to teach it to our daughters, even though we want them to have the information.
To help you as you help your daughter, I have a simple diagram you can use to make sure she has the big picture. This diagram is based on a 28-day menstrual cycle.
This is the first day that your period starts. Usually there is a little more blood on the first day or two, and then there is much less on the remaining days. Most periods last about 4-6 days. The total amount of blood that comes out is about 2-3 tablespoons.
Day 1-Day 13
A hormone from the ovaries called estrogen tells the uterus to get ready to take care of a fertilized egg. The inside lining of the uterus becomes thick with tiny blood vessels and glands.
An unfertilized egg is released from one of the ovaries. This is called ovulation. If this egg is joined by a sperm, it becomes a fertilized egg and it can grow into a baby in the uterus. If the egg does not join with a sperm, it remains an unfertilized egg. When an unfertilized egg arrives in the uterus, it disappears.
A new hormone called progesterone is sent from the ovary that let go of the egg. It tells the tiny glands in the uterus to pour out their fluid so there are nutrients waiting if a fertilized egg arrives in the uterus.
These are the few days right before you period starts. They are called premenstrual days. You might feel some tenderness in your breasts, your pants might fit a little tighter and you might feel a little cranky. When your period starts, these signs will go away.
This simple diagram is a good place to start. It might be fun for you to go through it together. There are a few apps available to her now, that guides her through the cycle based on when her period starts. They help her to think about when she is ovulating and when her next period might start.
I hope this information is useful for you as you prepare your daughter for this significant transition in her life. If you would like to fill in the details and also provide her with additional information to prepare her for her first period, see my book, I’m a Girl, Hormones!