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This site is designed to support and expand the Hillendale Health Curriculum.

Learning about how your body grows and develops and how to take care of your body is an important part of Hillendale Health class. The following information deals with the changes that occur to a girl's body especially the reproductive system as girls go through puberty. Find information by reading the information below or click on the contents button to look for answers to specific questions.

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Female Reproductive System

What is ovulation?

Ovulation is the release of an egg cell from one of the ovaries. This event occurs approximately once a month near the midpoint of a women's menstrual cycle. Upon release, the egg travels into the fallopian tube and then begins a four to five day journey to the uterus. The fallopian tube is only about five inches long and very narrow, so this is a slow journey. The egg cell moves about one inch per day. The movement of the egg cell is caused by two factors. First, the tiny muscles that surround the fallopian tube gently squeeze the egg cell pushing it along slowly. Second, are the millions of cilia (microscopic hairs) inside of the fallopian tube that gently sweep the egg toward the uterus.





egg cell

sperm cell

What is fertilization?

Fertilization is when a sperm cell from the father meets and joins with an egg cell from the mother. Fertilization occurs when the egg cell is inside of the fallopian tube. Fertilization can occur as a result of sexual intercourse. The egg and sperm need to meet and combine in order to make a baby. When they do, a woman becomes pregnant.

Where does a baby grow inside of the mother?

Each month during the menstrual cycle the lining of the uterus gets ready for a fertilized egg . The blood vessels of the uterus swell, flooding the uterus with a rich supply of blood for the spongy tissue that lines the inside of the uterus. This inside lining of the uterus is called the endometrium. If a fertilized egg cell reaches the uterus it will attach itself to the endometrium and slowly begin to grow into a baby. The lining of the uterus will supply nourishment to the egg cell and from the endometrium will grow the placenta and umbilical cord which will provide the baby with everything it needs for the nine months it will spend growing and developing inside of the mother.

What is menstruation?

For most of a women's life the egg cell that is released approximately once each month will not become fertilized, so the lining that develops each month for the possibility of a fertilized egg cell won't be needed. Over a period of days the blood vessels shrink and the uterus will shed the unneeded lining, which is made of a small amount of blood and tissue. The lining flows down the uterus through the cervix into the vagina and out of the body. This is called menstruation or the menstrual period. The amount of blood being lost during menstruation is relatively small. Only about two to four ounces over a three to eight day period slowly flow from the vagina. A women has approximately 120 ounces of blood in her body that is constantly being replenished. Some girls and women may experience discomfort during their period. Sometimes this discomfort may be called cramps. There are ways to deal with the discomfort that may accompany a period.

Having a period is completely natural and healthy. Menstruation is an important part of the menstrual cycle.

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Puberty | Contents | Glossary | Phys Ed | Health | Site Map Index | Being Born

Male Reproductive System | Female Reproductive System | Review