Female Reproductive System
# The female reproductive organs consist of the vagina, cervix, the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. The uterus is a pear-shaped hollow, thick-walled muscular organ located in the lower abdomen between the bladder and the rectum.
# The narrow end of the uterus is the cervix.
When a woman is pregnant, the fetus grows in the uterus until birth
# The vagina extends from the labia to the uterus, and is located behind the bladder and in front of the rectum.
# At the top and on each side of the uterus are the fallopian tubes and ovaries.
Ovaries are two glands that produce various hormones and contain follicles. An ovary is about the size of an almond. Fallopian tubes are two tubular structures that connect the ovaries with the uterus. Fringe-like projections
called fimbriae (located at the opening of the fallopian tubes) sweep an egg released from an ovary into the tube.
# The ovaries are the main source of female hormone: estrogen and progesterone. These hormones control the development of female body characteristics from puberty onward. They also regulate the menstrual cycle and pregnancy.
# Estrogen stimulates the inner surface of the uterus to grow thick in preparation for pregnancy. Progesterone stops the thickening process and causes the glands to mature so they can nourish the new pregnancy; in most tissues it blocks the stimulating effect of estrogen.
# The process of fertilization starts with the union of an egg and a sperm. Sperm enter the uterus via the cervix during sexual intercourse. After penetrating the cervix, they travel upward through the uterus into the fallopian tubes. In the outer one third of the fallopian tubes, a sperm may reach and penetrate an egg that has matured and been released from an ovary. This is called fertilization. The fertilized egg travels down the fallopian tube and implants in the inner lining of the uterus.
# After implantation, the embryo continues to grow; from the 8th week until birth, it is referred to as the fetus.