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Are people maybe telling you that you’ve gone loopy? A minute ago you were so happy that you sang and danced, and now you’re bad-tempered and throw tantrums for any tiny thing. One moment you feel great, the next you’re depressed, and then … it’s as if nothing happened! Everyone bores you – your teachers get on your nerves, you have your lessons to do, mum and dad are pressuring you… And he hasn’t even glanced at you! “It’s no wonder” - you say to yourself – “when I’m the way I am…” What are you like? In a short while you will be a young woman… But being 11, 13 or 15 isn’t easy. You are leaving your childhood, you are growing up, developing, changing in every way. The ‘crazy years’ have arrived. Until now adults looked after you – mum and dad, grandma and others. But now you’re taking things into your own hands! But how does one cope in the new world? There are many things that you don’t know about yourself, your body and your feelings, and often you ask yourself whom you can ask for help, who can answer the many questions which trouble you. This book is intended to give you advice and information about many things. In it you will find advice which will help you to grow up more easily, to be healthy, well-groomed and full of energy. It will also help you to feel better in your ever-changing body. The self-confidence you will acquire in this way will help you to express all your qualities, including those not visible at first sight. Make use of it!


Everyone has to go through puberty, including you. Puberty is a time of changes which happen in a relatively short period and during which a child is transformed into an adult. From mum and dad’s little girl, you turn into a person seeking independence. Suddenly parents become tedious, and so do teachers. You are on the phone all day with your girlfriends. Everything becomes more important than studying and school, and even boys become significant in life. You look at yourself in a mirror, and instead of chubby cheeks you see a longer and more mature face (with a pimple or two). As the changes happen you gradually break your close ties with your parents because you see yourself as a self-sufficient and mature person. But it is not easy to cope with everything that is happening to you‌ In any case, you are changing - slowly but surely.


Girls enter puberty between the ages of eight and 13, and complete it when their bodies reach the height and weight of an adult, usually between the ages of 15 and 17, sometimes later. Girls mature before boys, and their changes are more visible. The following things happen during puberty: uyour physical development speeds up hairs begin to grow in your armpits fine pubic hair begins to grow, gradually becoming darker and more dense your breasts begin growing your hips spread you begin having periods (menstruation) you become aware of your sexuality. Your development is probably similar to what your parents experienced, and you can always ask them for their own experiences. As for your menstruation, it often begins at a similar age as your mother’s, and you can always talk to her about it. During puberty, the physical development of various parts of your body does not proceed at an equal pace, and it might seem to you that arms and legs are inappropriately long – but this should not worry you! You will also notice changes in the quality of your hair, your skin and breasts. All these things happen under the influence of hormones, chemicals created by your body in order to turn you from a child into a woman. You should not allow these changes to surprise you, so talk to others about them and read about them – learn as much as you can!


Some time between the ages of nine and 12, you will notice your breasts begin to develop. The nipple and surrounding ring begin to grow, sometimes even hurting a little. You should not be concerned – it is completely normal and happens to almost all girls. Sometimes one breast develops before the other, which should also not worry you – very soon things will fall into place, although in a few cases a woman’s breasts can remain unevenly sized and shaped throughout her life. It is not possible to predict the final size and shape of one’s breasts. They may not be identical to your mother’s or your sister’s. But if most of the women in your family have small breasts, you have a greater chance of also having small ones.


The development of breasts in puberty usually takes place in four stages, as shown in the illustrations. If it seems to you that you skipped a stage, don’t panic! Not all girls develop similarly. About four to five years pass between stage one and stage four. Your breasts will be fully developed probably around the age of 18.


If your breasts have already begun to grow, you may ask yourself if you should start wearing a bra and how you will know if you need one. It depends on whether your breasts are small of large. You might start by wearing a sports bra (top), especially if you’re into physical activity. If you have big breasts, it is advisable to wear a bra all the time. Don’t insist on buying a bra simply because you are the only girl in your class that doesn’t wear one. Get a bra when it becomes more comfortable for you when you wear one than when you don’t. It is important to carefully determine the size that will suit you best. Brassiere sizes are given by a number and a letter. The number is the circumference of the chest measured below the breasts, and the letter is the cup size – the size of your breasts. Bras are sold with the following cup sizes: A, AA, AAA, B, C, D, E… Sizes B and C are the most frequent. The sizes are 65, 70, 75, 80, 85, 90; 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or XS, S, M, L, XL. Besides determining the measurements, it is also very important to TRY ON the bra. Pick a shop with good booths with large mirrors, preferably a shop with a good range of models, colours, and (most importantly) sizes.


A good bra is one that you do not feel on you as you wear it. This means that its shape and size are well suited to your breasts. A sign of an excessively small bra are the marks it leaves on the skin when you take it off. On the other hand, a bra that is too big will not hold the breasts properly. An improper position of the breasts in a brassiere will do more harm than good to your developing breasts. Always take your bra off before you go to bed, as sleeping will be more comfortable without it.


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One of the first signs of the beginning of puberty is the appearance of pubic hairs in your armpits and around your genitals. Initially they are downy and usually light in colour, but then they get darker. As you age, these hairs get longer and may even spread to the inner sides of your thighs – in some women they even grow in a thin line all the way to their navels. From time to time you will notice on your underpants a transparent or whitish mucous (a thick sticky liquid excreted by glands) with a very specific smell. This should not worry you at all, as it is completely normal. In this period you must take special care of the cleanliness of your genitals and the area around them. The most important things are: to shower every day, and to put on clean cotton panties after every shower.

19


The first period (menstruation) is the most important event in the development of every girl. When blood from your uterus flows out through your vagina – that means that your periods have started. The first menstrual blood may be light red, dark red or even dark brown in colour. Sometimes only a few drops will appear, but there may also be more extensive bleeding. Usually it happens in the morning hours. Your menstruation is a sign that you are developing properly. Your body is preparing for what will happen when you mature completely and become an adult – giving birth to your own child. There is no one who can say with any certainty why some girls get their first period at the age of ten, and others at the age of 14, or even later. It depends on the pace of physical development, hereditary factors and many other things. The period between the start of one monthly cycle and the next one is called a menstrual cycle. It is usually 28 days, but may last from 25 to 35 days. Also, one month it might be 23 days, and the next month 28 days. The bleeds usually last three to seven days. From your first period the length of the cycle and days with discharges will vary. Initially, it might take three or even six months to get your second period. This is completely normal. Sometimes the bleeds last for weeks, in which case you should see your doctor, especially if the bleeding is excessive. After some time the periods will become more regular and their duration will be more or less the same.


You have certainly seen from many TV commercials that sanitary pads are used during the menstrual cycle. You cannot know when you will get your first period and it can always surprise you, so that it would be good to carry a sanitary pad with you in your bag. You might also try using a sanitary pad before you get your first period. If your first menstruation surprises you without a sanitary pad, go to the lavatory and take a dozen leaves of toilet paper (or several paper tissues), fold them together and place inside your panties between your legs. Talk to your mum, older sister or other person you can talk to freely and tell them that you got your first period.


Do not be too embarrassed to talk about it! Menstruation is a normal thing – all women have periods. It is a sign that you are entering into adulthood.

When you go to a supermarket, you will certainly ask yourself which of the many sanitary products on offer you should choose. The following things are important when choosing sanitary pads:

they should be made of cotton or other materials that let air through they should absorb well they should be self-adhesive, if possible with flexible wings (to keep them in place) they should not be too long (they should fit into a girl’s panties!) they should be thin (so they aren’t visible under your clothing).


Many sanitary towels on sale are good. You might try a few different ones and then pick one that suits you best. All packagings carry pictures of the pads inside which will show you their appearance, length and thickness. There is also a diagram with droplets, usually five or six, showing the absorption power of the pad, as shown below: 3 mm ultra thin 6–7 mm maxi

normal

normal plus

super plus

night

215 mm

235 mm

265 mm

320 mm

Pads marked super plus should only be used when the run-off is biggest (the first and second days) and at night. What this means is that you need to buy two types of pads – one type for the first few days and another for the remaining days. You might also have some mini-pads that you will use at the end of your period or when you are expecting it to begin. You may also try pads with self-adhesive wings which are the easiest to attach to your panties and keep in place.


Sanitary towels should be changed often – every two or three hours, and less frequently only during the last days of your period. If you keep them for too long blood might seep through into your clothing. Wearing them for too long could even cause an infection. Scented sanitary towels are also available, but it is better to fight odours with good hygiene and frequent changes of pads. Scented pads often cause allergies. Another thing: It is good to keep sanitary pads in small plastic bags, especially when away from home. Pads that have been used should be taken off carefully, rolled and placed in the bag which held the replacement pad. Then the used pad should be thrown in a waste basket – never throw them in the toilet! A single sanitary pad thrown down the toilet can clog the pipes. It is also not nice to throw unwrapped sanitary pads in a waste basket. If you have no plastic bag for a used pad, wrap it in some toilet paper and then dispose of it. Do not forget to wash your hands afterwards.


When you go to the lavatory, take a pad with its bag out of your bag and put it into a pocket. Wash your hands.

In the lavatory, take the used pad out of your panties. Take the new pad out of its bag and put the bag into a pocket temporarily. Take the adhesive tape off the pad and stick it into the part of your panties which is between your legs. Affix the clean pad well, making sure that its front and rear ends are well attached.

Now tape the wings to the outer side of your underwear. Fold the used pad into the plastic bag and throw it into the waste basket. Wash your hands again.


January M

Ma y M

T

W

5 6 7 12 13 14 19 20 21 26 27 28

7 14 21 28

February

T W T F S S 1 2 3 4 5 6 8 9 10 11 12 13 15 16 17 18 19 20 22 23 24 25 26 27 29 30 31

T F SMa y S 1 M2 T W3 T F 4S 1 2 3 7 8 11 9 10 8 1259136 1410 15 16 17 19 20 21 22 23 24 15 16 17 18 26 27 28 29 30 31 22 23 24 25 September 29 30 M T 31 W T F S 1 2 3 4 5 6 8 9 10 11 12 13 15 16 17 18 19 20 22 23 24 25 26 27 29 30

M

T

W

T

4 5 6 7 11 12 13 14 18 19 20 21 25 26 27 28

March

F S S 1 2 3 8 9 10 15 16 17 22 23 24 29

June S 4 11 18 25

S 7 14 21 28

M

T

W

T

F

S

2 3 4 5 6 7 9 10 11 12 13 14 16 17 18 19 20 21 23 24 25 26 27 28 30 Oct ober M

T

6 7 13 14 20 21 27 28

W 1 8 15 22 29

T 2 9 16 23 30

S 1 8 15 22 29

F S S 3 4 5 10 11 12 17 18 19 24 25 26 31

M

F

3 4 5 6 10 11 12 13 17 18 19 20 24 25 26 27 31 July

7 14 21 28

7 14 21 28

W

April

T

M

T

S S 1 2 8 9 15 16 22 23 29 30

T

W

T

7 14 21 28

T W T F S S 1 2 3 4 5 6 8 9 10 11 12 13 15 16 17 18 19 20 22 23 24 25 26 27 29 30 August

T W T F S S 1 2 3 4 5 6 8 9 10 11 12 13 15 16 17 18 19 20 22 23 24 25 26 27 29 30 31 November

M

M

F

3 4 5 6 7 10 11 12 13 14 17 18 19 20 21 24 25 26 27 28

M

T

W

T F S S 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 December

S S 1 2 8 9 15 16 22 23 29 30

M T W T F S S 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

You could draw a special table and enter everything in connection with your periods, but you can also a keep a record on an ordinary pocket calendar.

 use this mark to designate the start of the period and all its days use this mark to designate the expected start of the next cycle. Keeping this record will be important for determining ovulation, which will help you plan pregnancy. Ovulation usually takes place in the middle of the cycle, between the 9th and 16th days from the start of the period – usually on the 14th day for those girls whose period is exactly 28 days. During this period an egg is discharged from the ovary and makes its way to the uterus, where it will attach itself to the wall if it is fertilised. During these days you could become pregnant if you have sexual relations. Ovulation can sometimes be felt in the form of a brief sharp pain in the area of the ovaries. If you feel such a pain, you might circle the date in your calendar (‘O’ for ovulation). About 14 days later you will get your next period. This will happen when your cycles become regular.


A Book for Every Girl  

This book is for all girls aged 9 to 19. Here they can find out about puberty changes, personal hygiene, facial and body care. Girls and you...

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