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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Describe human female reproductive anatomy
  • Describe oogenesis and discuss its differences and similarities to spermatogenesis
  • Describe the roles of female reproductive hormones
  • Describe major events of gestation and labor

Human reproductive anatomy

Female reproductive anatomy

A number of female reproductive structures are exterior to the body. These include the breasts and the vulva, which consists of the mons pubis, clitoris    , and labia . ( [link] ; [link] ).

Side and front views of female reproductive organs are shown. The vagina is wide at the bottom, and narrows into the cervix. Above the cervix is the uterus, which is shaped like a triangle pointing down. Fallopian tubes extend from the top sides of the uterus. The Fallopian tubes curve back in toward the uterus, and end in fingerlike appendages called fimbrae. The ovaries are located between the fimbrae and the uterus. The urethra is located in front of the vagina, and the rectum is located behind. The clitoris is a structure located in front of the urethra. The labia minora and labia majora are folds of tissue on either side of the vagina.
The reproductive structures of the human female are shown. (credit a: modification of work by Gray's Anatomy; credit b: modification of work by CDC)

The breasts consist of mammary glands and fat. Each gland consists of 15 to 25 lobes that have ducts that empty at the nipple and that supply the nursing child with nutrient- and antibody-rich milk to aid development and protect the child.

Internal female reproductive structures include ovaries, oviducts, the uterus, and the vagina ( [link] ; [link] ). The pair of ovaries is held in place in the abdominal cavity by a system of ligaments. The outermost layer of the ovary is made up of follicles that surround, nourish, and protect a single egg. During the menstrual period, a batch of follicles develops and prepares their eggs for release. At ovulation, one follicle ruptures and one egg is released. Following ovulation, the follicular tissue that surrounded the ovulated egg stays within the ovary and grows to form a solid mass called the corpus luteum    . The corpus luteum secretes additional estrogen and the hormone progesterone that helps maintain the uterine lining during pregnancy. The ovaries also produce hormones, such as estrogen.

The oviducts , or fallopian tubes, extend from the uterus in the lower abdominal cavity to the ovaries, but they are not in contact with the ovaries. The lateral ends of the oviducts flare out into a trumpet-like structure and have a fringe of finger-like projections called fimbrae. When an egg is released at ovulation, the fimbrae help the nonmotile egg enter into the tube. The walls of the oviducts have a ciliated epithelium over smooth muscle. The cilia beat, and the smooth muscle contracts, moving the egg toward the uterus. Fertilization usually takes place within the oviduct and the developing embryo is moved toward the uterus. It usually takes the egg or embryo a week to travel through the oviduct.

Sterilization in women is called a tubal ligation; it is analogous to a vasectomy in males in that the oviducts are severed and sealed, preventing sperm from reaching the egg.

The uterus    is a structure about the size of a woman’s fist. The uterus has a thick muscular wall and is lined with an endometrium rich in blood vessels and mucus glands that develop and thicken during the female cycle. Thickening of the endometrium prepares the uterus to receive the fertilized egg or zygote, which will then implant itself in the endometrium. The uterus supports the developing embryo and fetus during gestation. Contractions of the smooth muscle in the uterus aid in forcing the baby through the vagina during labor. If fertilization does not occur, a portion of the lining of the uterus sloughs off during each menstrual period. The endometrium builds up again in preparation for implantation. Part of the uterus, called the cervix, protrudes into the top of the vagina.

Questions & Answers

wat are e constituents of blood
marybertiny Reply
Can a cell be destroyed by the bacteria
Makhanya Reply
anamia. because of loss of blood
fon Reply
Name the element which is liquid
Sandeep Reply
hg
RC
CO2
Maureen
Bromine
Aaron
what is the dept of respiration plz?
Maureen
Maureen where are you from
Omokaro
mercury
VANESSA
bromine
VANESSA
which of the muscle can work with out getting tired?
nikkita
heart
Anam
Hg
Samiullah
what is the unit of muscles?
Samiullah
acid are organic or inorganic
Samiullah
why is the baby formed in the uterus n not else where?
Ekali Reply
you may help me ,to know why
mar
lo i am inn
mar
the womb is to protect the baby because inside the womb the lay in a fluid called the amniotic fluid which keeps the baby warm and it also have the placenta which the baby feeds from
Maureen
atom, molecules, organelle, cell, tissue, organ, organ system
Cheila Reply
sub atom atom molecular molecules and cells.
Advertus
cells structural level.
Advertus
what is microorganisms I am a laboratory student.
Advertus
a small organism
Rahbliss
small organism that can only be seen under a microscope
Maureen
i am just interested to be part of ,to learn
mar
explain why is it that old peoples as from the age of 60 usually have eye problems?
Kenn Reply
most old people suffere eye problems.because of short sight where individuals with this kind of problems see only near objects clearly but not distance objects, this is cause by elongated eyeball so light from distance is focus infront the retina so the image on the retina is blurred .
Munyah
plasma DNA cytoplasm Ribosome
Pearl Reply
cell, tissue,organ, organ systems,organism
Pearl Reply
cell is the build block of Life
Pearl
also a smallest unit of life
Frankline
sure..
Pearl
consistsof cytoplsm enclosed with in a membrane which contains many biomolecules such as proteins and nucleic acids
Frankline
differences in the effects of infection by HIV and influenza A virus on host genetic variability.
Yo Reply
i dont know
Ubah
hiv is direct contact of blood or body fluid and if not treated can break down the immune system faster and lead to acids with complications of pneumonia skin infections inflammation of the brain etc.while influenza A is a air borne virus which can cause the common cold pain fever and can be cured
Maureen
A.I.D.S
Maureen
suggest bioingormatics research article plz
peermehirali
what makes the heart to pumps blood?
Jamer Reply
sa node
Ubah
i do think its the nerve tranmission to the brain
Frankline
The contracting and relaxing of the atria and vertricles but the electrical system of the heart is what makes this possible.
keynia
yes which is called autorhymicity
Maureen
Yes,,by sucking blood leading to the weakening of cells,and finally it will be destroyed....
R0se
adrenoline action in brains
Frankline Reply
please describe the human heart brefly
Shah Reply
the size of the heart is like a fist. it has four chambers. the left and right upper atrium which push blood in the lower left and right ventricles which in turns pump blood to the lungs or the rest of the body.
Maureen
how do u prove it
Frankline
Maureen is correct ,
Davis
right
Kenn
right
Ubah
hi
horyaal
mxaa lahayaa
horyaal
What is housing?
Baldwin Reply
is where located you
Ubah
Hi, my name is Syedul Mostafa from Bangladesh Refugees camp. I would like to study under your.
Mostafa Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Human biology. OpenStax CNX. Dec 01, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11903/1.3
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