When you are growing up, it can be easy to trick yourself into thinking that everyone—everyone in the world!—experiences the important stuff before you do. Like, you know, first kisses. First significant others. First periods.
This isn’t true, of course, but it’s totally understandable as to why you might feel this way—after all, the only people you hear talking about these traditional milestones, probably, are the ones who have already gone through them. Not the ones who haven’t.
In any case, this probably isn’t all that helpful when you’re trying to figure out when something is going to happen to you. Like, for instance, your first period. But this is something that’s actually pretty easy to track! It’s not a perfect science, because everyone and their bodies are different, but there are some signs that most people experience that could indicate that you’re about to get your first period. Check out what they are here:
You're Sweatier Than You Used To BeWhen I was in fifth grade, my teacher gathered everyone in our class together to let us know that, after recess, the room was smelling a little "funky," and, because of this, we needed to start wearing deodorant. If you're around the same age, it's possible that your teacher might want to do the same thing! Your sweat glands start to become more active during puberty, so if you've started to notice that you're sweating a lot more than you usually do (and it definitely smells a little more than it used to), this is a pretty good indicator that your period isn't too far away. If you're worried about the smell, it's pretty easy to deal with--just try to shower and wear deodorant daily. Image source: Getty
You've Been Developing Breast BudsHave you had a training bra in steady rotation for a year or two? If so, this is a pretty good sign that your period is on its way--for most people, breast buds (small lumps that form under the nipples before breasts start to grow) generally develop about two years before their first period. Image source: Getty
Your Boobs Feel TenderIf your breasts are a little more developed, it's possible that they will feel tender, or even a little sore, before your first period starts. This is because the hormones in your body fluctuate before your period starts, which can cause your breast ducts to enlarge. This doesn't always happen right before a period, and it definitely doesn't happen to everyone. Still, if you've noticed some sensitivity in your breasts, don't be surprised if your period follows shortly after. Image source: Getty
You're Growing Pubic HairShortly after you start developing breasts, you will probably start growing pubic hair. (And, most likely, start growing more hair on your legs and armpits.) This hair will start off light and fine, but eventually become coarse and dark. According to Always, you can expect your period about a year or two after you start getting pubic hair. Image source: Getty
You've Been Experiencing Vaginal DischargeAround the same time you start growing breast buds and pubic hair, you'll probably start seeing some vaginal discharge in your underwear. This is a small amount of white or yellowish fluid that gets emitted from the vagina, and it's generally a sign that you'll get your period in about six months to a year. You don't have to do anything about this discharge--you might feel it, but no one else will notice--but if you feel uncomfortable with it, you can wear pantiliners to make sure the discharge won't get in your underwear. Image source: Getty
You've Started Breaking OutSince your hormones are in flux during your period (and during, like, all of puberty, tbh) it's possible that you could start experiencing some breakouts around the time your first period is on its way. Breaking out is more of a general sign of puberty than anything else, so if you get a pimple, it doesn't mean that you're going to get your first period, like, tomorrow. Still, if you start getting some acne, and you've been noticing some other period indicators, too, your period is probably on its way. Image source: Getty
You've Been SpottingHave you been noticing some small spots of blood in your underwear? If so, you aren't dying--chances are, you're just experiencing spotting. Lots of girls experience spotting a few months to a year before they get their first period, which basically just entails a few drops of blood here and there, usually mixed in with discharge. If you've been spotting, it can't hurt to wear a pantiliner or stick a few pads in your backpack just in case--the spotting shouldn't be enough to leak through or totally ruin your underwear, but it'll be helpful for your peace of mind. Image source: Getty
You're About The Same Age Your Mom Was When She Got Her First PeriodDo you know how old your mom was when she got your first period? If so, you can start anticipating your period when you reach the same age. This isn't an exact science, obviously, since every body has its own schedule. Still, if you know your mom got her period when she was, say, twelve, don't be surprised if you get yours when you're the same age. Image source: Getty