Females: Outside changes

Breasts

In most girls, the first sign of puberty is when breasts start to develop. You might be 8, or you might be 13 when this happens. Either way, this age range is perfectly normal. You may also find that your nipple area becomes more sensitive at the start of puberty. Breasts come in all shapes and sizes. Some girls worry about the size of their breasts and think they are too big, or too small. Some girls worry about the shape of their nipples. There is no one right way for breasts to be. All breasts, whatever the size or the shape, are capable of producing enough milk to feed a baby when the time comes.

When should I get a bra?

There is no set right time to start wearing a bra. It is a good idea to talk it through with a trusted older female first. Then, have someone experienced come with you to buy a bra with good support and that will suit your needs.

Getting hips

During puberty, your pelvic region begins to change so your body will be capable of bearing children later in life. During this process, your hips may widen and your thighs may become more rounded and you may gain some weight. Have a look at the other women in your family. Their body shapes are probably the form your own body will take. Women come in all shapes and sizes. If you are happy and healthy and comfortable with your body, then you will find it easier to be happy being you.

Body hair

As you go through puberty, you will start to notice hair under your arms, on your legs and in your pubic area. This will be fine and straight at first, and will become thicker and curlier as you get older.

Should I shave?

Some women choose to shave or wax the hair under their arms, around their pubic area and on their legs. There is no health reason for doing this; it is a matter of choice. You might like to talk your decision over with a parent or a trusted adult before you do it. Avoid sharing razors with other people as it can pass on viruses like hepatitis B and C.

Your genitals

Your genitals are made up of many parts, some of which you can see. The vulva is the outside part if a woman’s genitals and includes the pubic hair, the inner and outer labia, the clitoris and openings of the vagina and urethra.

The labia minora and labia majora will often change in appearance during puberty. Like all other changes that happen during puberty, this is completely normal.

Everyone’s genitals look different and healthy vulva's come in many different shapes, sizes and colours. It is important to remember that vulva’s you might see in pictures online or in magazines are often photo shopped. If you are worried or think that you don’t look the same as everyone else you can have a look at the Labia Library (external site) which attempts to bust myths about how normal labia look.

 

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