Puberty can be mind-boggling. Here are the stages every girl goes through on her quest to womanhood.
Up to ages 8 to 12. Childhood stage — no visible signs of pubertal development.
May begin anywhere from ages 8 to 14 — Height and weight increase rapidly. Breast buds appear; nipples become raised and this area may be tender. Fine, straight hairs start growing close to the pubic area.
May begin anywhere from ages 9 to 15 — Height continues to increase. Breasts become rounder and fuller. Pubic hair becomes darker, thicker and curlier. Hips may start to widen in relation to waist, giving a softer, more rounded shape. Vagina begins secreting a clear, whitish fluid called vaginal discharge. For some girls, ovulation and menstruation begin late in this stage.
May begin anywhere from ages 10 to 16 — Underarm hair appears. The nipple and the dark area a round it (areola) may stick out from the rest of the breast. Pubic hair starts to form a triangular patch in front and around sides of genital area. For many girls, ovulation and menstruation begin during this stage.
May begin anywhere from ages 12 to 19 — Adult stage. Overall look is that of a young woman. Areola rejoins breast contour and breast development is complete. Pubic hair forms a thick, curly triangular patch. Adult height is probably reached. Ovulation and menstruation occur regularly.