Female Reproductive System – Reproductive Health
By knowing how the female reproductive system works, you can better protect yourself and your family against reproductive hazards.
The main reproductive tissues in women are the ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes. Hormones produced by the brain, the pituitary gland, and the ovaries primarily control these tissues. These hormones also control:
Why hormones are important
The ovaries produce estrogen and progesterone. These hormones are responsible for sexual development and preparing the uterine wall to nourish fertilized eggs during pregnancy. A reproductive hazard that alters your estrogen and progesterone production can also reduce your general health.
About the menstrual cycle
- As girls go through puberty, they begin to have periods (menstruation) and menstrual cycles.
- Each menstrual cycle begins with a few days of menstrual flow (period). When each new cycle begins, a few new eggs begin to grow in the ovaries.
- After about 2 to 3 weeks, the ovary releases eggs (ovulation) into the fallopian tubes.
- If sperm does not fertilize the egg, it will die and leave the body in the menstrual flow. Then the process begins again with a new menstrual cycle, a new period, and new eggs.
- Women are born with all the eggs they will ever have. Damaged or destroyed eggs are not replaceable.
When an egg undergoes fertilization
- If sperm fertilizes an egg, the process of reproduction continues. The fertilized egg travels down the fallopian tube to the uterus, where it attaches to the uterine wall.
- A specialized tissue called the placenta forms between the uterus and the developing baby. The placenta transfers oxygen and nutrients from the mother to her baby.
- During the first 3 months of pregnancy (first trimester), the baby forms the major organs.
- During the remainder of the pregnancy, these organs mature, and the baby grows rapidly.