Puberty and girls

Puberty is when a child’s body begins to develop and change as they become an adult.

First signs of puberty in girls

The first sign of puberty in girls is usually that their breasts begin to develop. It’s normal for breast buds to sometimes be very tender or for one breast to start to develop several months before the other one. Pubic hair also starts to grow, and some girls may notice more hair on their legs and arms.

Later signs of puberty in girls

After a year or so of puberty beginning, and for the next couple of years:

  • girls’ breasts continue to grow and become fuller
  • around 2 years after beginning puberty, girls usually have their first period
  • pubic hair becomes coarser and curlier
  • underarm hair begins to grow – some girls also have hair in other parts of their body, such as their top lip, and this is completely normal
  • girls start to sweat more
  • girls often get acne – a skin condition that shows up as different types of spots, including whiteheads, blackheads and pus-filled spots called pustules
  • girls have a white vaginal discharge
  • girls go through a growth spurt – from the time their periods start, girls grow 5 to 7.5cm (2 to 3 inches) annually over the next year or two, then reach their adult height
  • most girls gain weight (which is normal) as their body shape changes – girls develop more body fat along their upper arms, thighs and upper back; their hips grow rounder and their waist gets narrower

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