5 Stages of Puberty for Grils
With questions and answers below.

  1. Age Range: Usually 8-11
    In Stage 1 there are no outside signs of development, but a girl’s ovaries are enlarging and hormone production is beginning.
  2. Age Range: Usually 8-14. Average: 11-12
    The first sign is typically the beginning of breast growth, including “breast buds.” A girl may also grow considerable height and weight. The first signs of pubic hair start out fine and straight, rather than curly.
  3. Age Range: Usually 9-15. Average: 12-13
    Breast growth continues, and pubic hair coarsens and becomes darker, but there still isn’t a lot of it. Your body is still growing, and your vagina is enlarging and may begin to produce a clear or whitish discharge, which is a normal self-cleansing process. Some girls get their first menstrual periods late in this stage.
  4. Age Range: Usually 10-16. Average: 13-14
    Pubic hair growth takes on the triangular shape of adulthood, but doesn’t quite cover the entire area. Underarm hair is likely to appear in this stage, as is menarche. Ovulation (release of egg cells) begins in some girls, but typically not in a regular monthly routine until Stage 5.
  5. Age Range: Usually 12-19. Average: 15
    This is the final stage of development, when a girl is physically an adult. Breast and pubic hair growth are complete, and your full height is usually attained by this point. Menstrual periods are well established, and ovulation occurs monthly.

Question: Kate (12-14) asks about development:
How can you tell when a girl will begin to menstruate for the first time? Are there any signs?

Answer: Menarch (the beginning of menstruation) usually happens in “Stage 4″ of puberty, but can happen late in Stage 3 as well. While there are no real “signs” of an impending first period, there are signs that may let you know when it is likely to happen. Use the following guide to see where in puberty you are, and you’ll get an idea of when your first period may happen.

Credit: J. Geoff Malta, MA, EdM, NCC Adolescent Therapist