Puberty in Females
Puberty is defined as the time when a child's body begins the transformation into an adult body. Puberty for girls happens sooner than it does for boys, with the first signs occurring on average around age nine. What happens during female puberty is explained below.
Growth and Weight Gain
The first sign that puberty is approaching is an increase in weight and height. Most girls will gain around 18 percent of their adult height between ages nine and 12. This is first seen in the limbs and later in the trunk of the body. The growth tends to accelerate right before a girl gets her first menstrual period. Weight is gained in the upper back and arms as well as the thigh area. The waistline will narrow as the hips widen and become more rounded.
Development of Breasts
Breast development begins around the age of nine, but it can start much earlier or later in some cases. Wearing a training bra may help a girl feel more confident about her changing body. The bust should be measured to ensure the right fit.
Puberty brings an increase of body hair especially in places where it has not grown before, such as the armpits and the groin. Most girls usually want to begin shaving their armpits and legs at this point and should consult with an older female for instruction and a choice of razor. It should be noted that in certain cultures, it is acceptable for girls to not shave.
Most girls experience their first menstrual period by age 13, although it can happen anytime between ages nine and 16. By this age, there should be sufficient education about puberty and girls that the event should not come as a shock. Periods can bring mood swings and pain as well as three to five days of bleeding, and it may take a few years for these things to adjust. A trusted female adult can be helpful in obtaining sanitary products and answering any questions that may arise.
Puberty for girls can be a stressful and challenging time. It is recommended that girls consume a healthy diet, watch their weight and get sufficient exercise and sleep during this time of change. Regular checkups with a doctor will ensure optimum health, and that the process is on schedule.