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AFAB Puberty

Puberty For Female Assigned People

Most changes during puberty happen to everyone, but some are unique to each depending on your body and hormones. This page deals with how estrogen affects your body during puberty. Some things to keep in mind:

  • People born with ovaries naturally produce estrogen.
  • People born with ovaries/uteruses are often assigned female at birth (AFAB).

Read below for information on what AFAB folks could expect during puberty:

Hormonal Changes

  • Hormones are chemicals that carry messages throughout the body.
  • When puberty starts in AFAB folks, sex glands called ovaries begin to make more of a hormone called estrogen.
  • Estrogen plays a part in many of the physical and emotional changes you may experience during puberty.

When will I get my first period?

  • During puberty you will start to menstruate (or “get your period”) on a regular basis.
  • Most AFAB folks will get their first period when they are around 12 or 13 years old, but some will get it sooner and some later.
  • For more information on menstruation and your period, check out Period Basics.

Important tip: You can still become pregnant right before you get your first period, so don’t assume that if you haven’t started having your period that you can’t get pregnant.

When will I start to grow breasts?

  • Your breasts will start out as small buds below your nipples on your chest. When you are around 8 or 9 years old, they will start growing.
  • Breasts come in all shapes, sizes, colours.  They can grow slowly or it may seem like they sprout overnight!
  • Your breasts may continue to grow into your early twenties.
  • For more about how your breasts will grow and develop, see Breasts 101.

What is this sticky stuff in my underwear?

  • You may notice a sticky fluid that is clear, white, or even yellowish in your underwear.
  • This fluid is called mucus or discharge. It is how your vagina cleans itself.
  • Vaginal discharge is normal but if the amount, colour, consistency, or smell changes in a way that isn’t usual for you, let your health care provider know.
  • It’s always a good idea to become familiar with your changing body so you know when there may be a problem.

What is douching and should I do it?

  • The word “douche” means to wash or soak in French. Douching is washing or cleaning out the vagina with water or other mixtures of fluids
  • Most health care providers do not recommend douching because it can change the delicate balance of vaginal flora (organisms that live in the vagina) and acidity in a healthy vagina.

What other changes can I expect?

  • During puberty, your body may become curvier, especially around the hips, butt and thighs. These are totally normal changes! It’s also normal if these changes don’t happen for you.
  • Your emotions might change quickly at times.
  • You may start to develop sexually and discover the who, what, when and how of attraction.
  • You may also start to experience wet dreams, sexually charged dreams which may cause your vagina to discharge lubricating fluid.