THE FEMALE REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM THE FEMALE REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM IS STRUCTURED TO HANDLE MANY DIFFERENT FUNCTIONS.
Reproductive system cont…..
It produces female reproductive cells
It transports these cells for fertilization
It aids in conception and implantation
IT IS ESSENTIAL FOR PREGNANCY AND MENTRUATION TO OCCUR!
FEMALE REPRODUCTIVE ORGANS
THE UTERUS- An organ also known as the “womb.” It is a pear shaped organ that houses a developing fetus. There are 2 parts: The lower part which is the cervix and the main section which is called the corpus.
THE CERVIX- The narrow end of the uterus that is closest to the vagina.
THE VAGINA- Known as the “birth canal,” this joins the cervix to the outside of the body.
THE OVARIES- Oval shaped glands that produce eggs and hormones FALLOPIAN TUBES- Attached at the upper part of the uterus, these tubes function as a traveling tunnel for mature egg cells to go from the ovaries to the uterus.
The female sex cell is known as an egg, it is also called an ovum or ova for plural.
They are produced and formed in the ovaries during the development of the embryo. They are the largest cells in the body. During puberty they mature and are released from the ovaries in a process called menstruation.
Menstruation is a process also referred to as a period. Every month after puberty a woman’s body prepares for pregnancy. A mature egg is released from the ovaries and travels down the fallopian tubes. When this egg is not fertilized by a male sperm the egg and the built up lining from the uterus (also known as the endometrium) sheds and releases in a bleeding process through the vagina. The average length of a period is between 3-7 days.
FERTILIZATION AND IMPLANTATION
Fertilization occurs when a woman has released a mature egg. During intercourse the male releases sperm into the vagina. This sperm travels up into the uterus into the fallopian tubes where typically one sperm penetrates an egg. Once this egg, which is now called a zygote has been fertilized, it travels down to the uterus. At this point the endometrium is ready and the egg implants itself into the uterine lining.
Pregnancy is what occurs after fertilization (conception). Fertilization begins the developmental process for the egg. Over a period of about 40 weeks the egg will develop from a zygote to an embryo to a fetus.
There are 3 trimesters in pregnancy, each lasting about 90 days.
At the beginning of the first trimester the brain, spinal cord and heart begin to form. Around the 6 th week facial features, arms and legs will begin to grow.
In the second trimester growth and development will continue. Around the middle, fetal movement can be felt. Due to the stages of development by week 16 ultrasounds are usually performed because the baby’s sex can now be determined.
The last trimester is considered the home stretch. Most of the weight gain occurs during this last phase.
Toward the end of this trimester the baby’s head descends into the pelvic cavity in preparation for labor and delivery.
LABOR AND DELIVERY
There are 3 stages of labor.-
The first stage is known as early labor. It is the longest stage, lasting anywhere from hours to days long. The contractions are 5 to 20 minutes apart and last until the cervix is dilated to 3 centimeters. The cervix should be 100% effaced and the woman should be at the birthing center of her choice.
Stage 2 is known as active labor. It can last from 1 to 5 hours. During this phase cervix dilation occurs faster. The mother will dilate from 4 to 7 centimeters. Contractions come every 2 to 5 minutes and last from 45 to 60 seconds long. It is the most intense stage of labor. The third stage is known as the “transition” stage. Contractions are every 2 to 3 minutes, and last from 60 to 90 seconds long. This phase last about 30 to 90 minutes. The cervix goes from 7 to 10 centimeters dilated. After stage 3 the woman will begin to push with each contraction she has. In a normal delivery there is no time frame on how long she will push. The baby’s head is usually the hardest part to push out. Once this is done the rest of the body will be delivered. Once the umbilical cord is cut, the delivery of the baby is complete. A few minutes later the mother will deliver the placenta.