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109 CHAPTER 28: THE FEMALE REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM Chapter Overview Introduction Physiologically the female makes the larger parental investment in placental mammals as she maintains the embryo and fetus within her body (along with the attendant risk and pain of pregnancy). She is also the one able to make milk for the newborn. Chapter 28 explores the more complex gametogenesis in females, the control of the events surrounding pregnancy, and the mechanics of birth control. Key Concepts Here are some concepts that students should have a better understanding of after reading this chapter: differentiation and development of the female reproductive organs; compare and contrast the construction of the ovaries with that of the testes; discuss the external genitalia; follow the route of an ovum from the ovary to the vagina, describing the gross and microscopic anatomy of each organ; detail the functions of the accessory glands; form and function of the mammary glands; origins, diagnosis, and treatment of breast cancer; initiation and course of female reproductive maturation and of menopause; the process of oogenesis and the changes in the ovarian follicles; the menstrual cycle including the various phases and the hormonal changes; the stages and processes of the female sexual response: excitement, orgasm, and resolution; prenatal development; the hormones related to pregnancy and their effects; changes during pregnancy in the mother’s body and their causes; onset of childbirth, contractions and their regulation, the stages of labor, and puerperium; certain phenomena related to lactation: mammary duct development; production and importance of colostrum; milk formation and its regulation; milk release; nutritional composition compared to cow’s milk; disorders of pregnancy; and the relative merits and mechanisms of contraception. Topics for Discussion 1. Breast cancer continues to kill too many women. The importance of self-examination should be stressed. Triennial Pap smears are a must also. Perhaps one or another of students would like to present a sample public health talk to convince women to take these important preventative steps. 2. A few students may be interested in the drug approval process. The course of mifepristone to approval is instructive of the various components of decision-making, whether scientific, market-oriented, or political. Mifepristone is usually considered to be an abortifactant and has been approved for distribution and sales in the United States. Discussions of artificially induced abortions can keep a class buzzing for weeks. However, spontaneous abortions are a less frequent point of dissention. Students may be interested to learn that a high percentage of these occur in fetuses that would have had
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This note was uploaded on 02/09/2012 for the course BIO 102 taught by Professor William during the Spring '11 term at Harvard.

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