Reproductive system

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Ovaries

  • They are oval shaped and about the size of a large grape
  • production of eggs (ova)
  • hormone secretion (oestrogen & progesterone)
  • produce the corpus leuteum 
  • They are classed as endocrine glands because they produce hormones
  • The ovaries are attached to the fimbria which is tissue attaching the ovaries to the fallopian tubes
  • They stimulate the maturation and release of an egg once a month from puberty until menopause
  • The ovaries usually “take in turns” to produce an egg
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Fallopian Tubes

  • carries the egg from the ovary to the uterus
  • it is to deliver the eggs to the uterus 
  • nourishes the egg 
  • lubricates the path of the egg to the uterus 
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Uterus

  • accepts a fertilized ovum which becomes implanted  and then develops into an embyro and then a foetus (officially an embryo becomes a foetus at 6 weeks)
  • it expands during pregnancy  and contracts during birth 
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Cervix

  • allows the passage of menstrual fluid 
  • promotes fertility 
  • protects the uterus, upper reproductive tract, and a developing foetus from pathogens 
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Vagina

  • provides the route to deliver the baby from the uterus 
  • provides a path for menstrual blood and tissue to leave the body 
  • self-lubrication, reducing friction during sexual activity 
  • accepts penis
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Menstrual cycle part 1

  • the menstrual cycle may be divided into different phases, and the length of each phase varies from woman to woman and cycle to cycle (25–35 days) 
  • FSH – stimulates the follicles and
  • release of an egg
  • oestrogen – stimulate repair/rebuild of 
  • the lining of uterus  and stimulates production of LH 
  • LH - starts ovulation & stimulates 
  • Production of progesterone 
  • Progesterone - prepares/ maintains
  • the wall of the uterus, released by corpus luteum 
  • during the follicular phase of the
  • menstrual cycle,  the lining of the uterus thickens, stimulated by gradually increasing amounts of oestrogen 
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Menstrual cycle part 2

  • an egg that is fertilized by a sperm will become a zygote, taking one to two weeks to travel down the fallopian tubes to the uterus 
  • if the egg is not fertilised within about a day of ovulation, it will die and be absorbed by the woman's body 
  • if implantation does not occur within approximately two weeks, the corpus luteum will die, causing sharp drops in levels of both progesterone and oestrogen 
  • these hormone drops cause the uterus to shed its lining in a process termed menstruation
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FSH and LH

Follicular Stimulating Hormone

Produced by the pituitary gland – it stimulates one of the follicles in the ovaries to mature an egg

Luteinising Hormone

Produced by the pituitary gland and stimulates the mature follicle to release its egg.

This is ovulation

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Oestrogen

Produced by the ovaries – it stimulates the repair and build up of the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) so that it is ready to receive the egg so it can implant if it is fertilised.

If an egg is fertilised and it implants in the uterus then high levels of oestrogen and progesterone are released which prevent any other eggs from maturing in the ovaries.

Increased oestrogen levels near the end of pregnancy alert the pituitary gland to release oxytocin, which causes uterine contractions. Before delivery, the ovaries release relaxin which loosens the pelvic ligaments in preparation for labour.

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Progesterone

This is released as the egg passes down the fallopian tube.

It is produced by the corpus luteum which is a temporary gland formed within the ovary after ovulation.

LH stimulates the thickening of the lining of the uterus to receive the egg so it can implant if it is fertilised .  If the egg is not fertilised then the corpus luteum dies.

If an egg is fertilised and it implants in the uterus then high levels of oestrogen and progesterone are released which prevent any other eggs from maturing in the ovaries.

Progesterone prevent uterine contractions that may disturb the growing embryo and also prepares the breasts for lactation.

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Birth Process Phase 1 and 2

Phase 1

Divided into 3 phases:-

  • Latent phase  (4cm)
  • Active phase (7cm)
  • Transition  phase (10cm)

Phase 2

  • During this stage contractions steadily shift the baby down the birth canal to the entrance of the ****** until the baby’s head emerges (this is called crowning).  It is important that women do not push at this stage to the allow the muscles of the ****** and perineum to stretch.This will reduce the risk of tearing.At this point, some women may ignore the midwife completely and shout “I want this baby out of me” and push anyway!When the muscles have stretched the woman can push during contractions to push the baby out.

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Birth Process Phase 3

  • This is the delivery of the placenta and uterine membranes (or afterbirth).  The uterus will contract mildly to loosen the placenta before releasing it.  Many hospitals use an injection and tug on the umbilical cord to prompt this final stage of labour, but immediate breastfeeding can stimulate the placenta to detach naturally. There will some blood loss during this stage but the doctor or midwife will monitor this to ensure it doesn't lead to postpartum haemorrhaging, and also examine the placenta to check that nothing has been left inside (which can lead to a condition known as retained placenta).

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Urethra

  • conveys ejaculate in the reproduction process 
  • structure through which urine passes
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Penis

  • copulation/intercourse 
  • urination
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Testicle

  • produce sperm 
  • produce hormones 
  • produce seminal fluid to transport sperm
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Seminal Vesicle

  • secrete a solution used to neutralise acids 
  • it is also a nutrient fluid 
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Prostate

  • provides a nutrient fluid for sperm (which they use in energy production) 
  • hormone production / prostaglandin 
  • stops urine and seminal fluid exiting at same time
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Sperm Duct

  • conveys sperm from the epididymis to the urethra
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Epididymis

  • helps to improve sperm motility / matures sperm 
  • used for storage of up to a month 
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Why are the testes outside of the Abdominal cavity

because the temperature of the testicles must be lower than that of the rest of the body for optimal sperm production and storage

Why?

Because sperm production is temperature sensitive so for optimal sperm production the temp needs to be just right.

In cold weather, testicles pull up nearer to the body to maintain their consistent temperature

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