Female Reproductive System

Vocabulary

antrum

fluid-filled cavity within the follicle

atresia

during folliculogenesis, the degeneration and reabsorption of ovarian follicles that are not ultimately ovulated

cervix

narrow neck of the uterus whose mucus protects the uterus from foreign materials. The cervix also dilates during childbirth to allow passage of the baby

clitoris

small organ containing tightly packed nerves that provides stimulation during intercourse

dilation

first stage of childbirth when the cervix softens and opens

estrogen

hormone responsible for many functions in the female body, including the promotion of the growth of the endometrial lining, inhibition of bone resorption, decreasing the risk of heart disease, and affecting fluid/electrolyte levels

fallopian tube

hollow tube between the ovary and the uterus that conducts eggs to the uterus during a woman's menstrual cycle

follicle

ovarian structure that houses the oocyte, surrounded by one or more layers of cells, inside the ovary

folliculogenesis

formation of the ovarian follicle

granulosa cell

cell that makes up the follicle envelope

human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG)

hormone that maintains the corpus luteum and results in increased levels of progesterone during the first trimester of pregnancy

labium (plural, labia)

flap of skin that protects the clitoris, the vagina, and the opening of the urethra; part of the external genitalia

lactation

secretion of milk from the mammary tissue of the breast

mammary gland

exocrine gland that produces milk in response to hormones

menarche

onset of the first menstrual cycle

menopause

time when ovulation and menstruation cease and fertility ends

oocyte

cell that will give rise to a mature ovum and three polar bodies via meiosis

oogenesis

development of the eggs, or ova (singular, ovum)

ovarian cycle

one of the two cycles that regulates a woman's fertility. It includes the events in the ovary that produce an egg each month

ovary

organ that produces and releases eggs and estrogen and progesterone

ovulation

release of the egg from the ovary

oxytocin

hormone that promotes uterine contractions during childbirth and causes milk ejection during breastfeeding

polar body

haploid (1n) cell produced during meiotic divisions of an oocyte that cannot be fertilized

progesterone

hormone that prepares the uterus for implantation of a zygote

prolactin

hormone that stimulates milk production hormone that stimulates milk production

relaxin

hormone that causes changes to the cardiovascular system during the first trimester of pregnancy, initiates labor, and facilitates delivery of the baby by dilating the cervix and increasing flexibility of ligaments and pubic bones

uterine cycle

sequence of changes in the uterine lining (endometrium) in response to ovarian hormones. Phases include menstruation, rebuilding of the endometrium, and preparation for implantation of an embryo.

uterus

organ where gestation occurs

vagina

tract in the female reproductive system that extends from the opening on the outside of the body to the cervix

zona pellucida

noncellular, protective layer that immediately surrounds the plasma membrane of an oocyte and helps with fertilization