Female Reproductive Structures

The female reproductive system contains two almond-shaped ovaries that are located in the lower abdomen. The ovaries (OH-vuh-reez) are the gamete-producing organs of the female reproductive system. Eggs mature near the surface of the ovaries, which are about 3.5 cm (1.4 in.) long and 2 cm (0.8 in.) in diameter. A mature egg is released into the abdominal cavity, where it is swept by cilia into the opening of a nearby fallopian (fuh-LOH-pee-uhn) tube, or uterine tube. Smooth muscles lining the fallopian tube contract rhythmically and move the mature egg down the tub. The fallopian tube leads to the uterus (YOOT-uhr-uhs), as shown in Figure 51-5. The uterus is a hollow, muscular organ about the size of a small fist. If an egg is fertilized, it will develop in the uterus.

figure 51-5

Ovaries are the gamete-producing organs of the female reproductive system. The uterus nurtures the fetus during pregnancy.

Menopause Emoji

The lower entrance to the uterus is called the cervix (SUHR-VIKS). A sphincter muscle in the cervix controls the opening to the uterus. Leading from the cervix to the outside of the body is a muscular tube called the vagina (vuh-JIE-nuh), as shown in Figure 51-6. The vagina receives sperm from the penis; it is also the channel through which a baby passes during childbirth. The external structures of the female reproductive system are collectively called the vulva (VUHL-vuh). The vulva includes the labia (LAY-bee-uh) (singular, labium), folds of skin and mucous membranes that cover and protect the opening to the female reproductive system.

Fallopian tube Ovary

Uterus

Cervix Pubic bone Urinary bladder

Vagina Urethra

Labia

Rectum

Rectum

Fallopian tube Ovary

Uterus

Cervix Pubic bone Urinary bladder

Vagina Urethra

Labia figure 51-6

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Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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