The female reproductive system is more complex than that of the male reproductive system. In addition to producing female sex cells, known as ova (eggs), the female body also protects and nurtures a developing baby for about nine months while it grows within the woman’s uterus (womb). A woman’s breasts can provide nourishment for newborns.
FEMALE REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM
During pregnancy, breast size increases as milk-producing glands known as lobules develop in preparation for breast-feeding. Breast milk can provide all the nourishment a newborn needs. As a newborn breast-feeds, the sucking action stimulates the release of oxytocin, a hormone that promotes milk flow.
The primary reproductive organs of a female are the ovaries, a pair of almond- shaped glands. At puberty, ovaries produce about 400,000 eggs. Each month an egg is released from the ovary and travels down one of the fallopian tubes. If the egg is released around the time of sexual intercourse and it meets and fuses with a male’s sperm, it becomes fertilized. If an egg is not fertilized, it moves from the fallopian tube to the uterus and then passes out of the body in the next menstrual cycle.
The uterus is a hollow, muscular organ located on top of the bladder. During pregnancy, a fertilized egg travels to the uterus, embeds within the uterine wall, and forms a fetus . Around 40 weeks after fertilization, the fetus is born. During birth, the baby leaves the uterus and travels through the mother’s vagina, a tube that extends from the uterus to the outside of the body.