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The Female Reproductive System


The female reproductive system is unique in it's own structure. In order to create new life through pregnancy and childbirth a reproductive system is essential. The process is done through a male and female sex cells.

The female reproductive anatomy includes external and internal structures.

The external structures of the female reproductive system are the labia majora, labia minora, Bartholin's glands, and the clitoris

Labia Majora The labia majora enclose and protect the other external reproductive organs. The outer lips are fleshy, covered by pubic hair, and connect to the thighs. Literally translated as "large lips."

Labia Minora The labia minora, or inner labia covers the vaginal opening and the urethra. They are two flaps of skin on either side of the human vaginal opening, situated between the labia majora. The inner lips can vary in color from pink to brownish black depending on the color of a woman's skin

Bartholin's glands These glands are located beside the vaginal opening and produce a fluid (mucus) secretion These glands release fluid to lubricate the vagina during sexual arousal.

Clitoris The clitoris is the spongy tissue that fills with blood during sexual excitement and becomes erect. It is very sensitive to the touch. The external tip of the clitoris is located at the top of the vulva, where the inner lips meet. The clitoris is covered by a fold of skin, called the prepuce, which is similar to the foreskin at the end of the penis.

The internal structures of the female reproductive system are the vagina, uterus, fallopian tubes, cervix and ovary.

Vagina The vagina is a muscular, stretchable passage that connects a woman’s external sex organs with her cervix and uterus. The vagina is about 3 to 5 inches long in a grown woman. Because it has muscular walls, it can expand and contract. The vagina has three functions. It allow menstrual flow to leave the body, sexual penetration and it allows a fetus to pass through during vaginal delivery.

Uterus The uterus or womb is the major female reproductive organ. It is a hollow, pear-shaped organ that is designed to house the developing fetus. The uterus contains some of the strongest muscles in the female body. When a woman isn't pregnant, the uterus is about 3 inches long and 2 inches wide. The uterus contains three suspensory ligaments that help stabilize the position of the uterus and limits its range of movement.

Fallopian tubes The fallopian tubes are two narrow tubes that are attached to a side of the uterus. Each tube carries eggs from the ovaries to the uterus. The fallopian tubes are about 4 inches long. At the end of each fallopian tube is a fringed area that looks like a funnel. This fringed area wraps around the ovary but doesn't completely attach to it. Sperm travels into the fallopian tubes to fertilize the egg. The fertilized egg then moves to the uterus, where it implants into the lining of the uterine wall.

Cervix The cervix is the opening to the womb. It's located between the vagina and the uterus and plays a major role in pregnancy and labor. The cervix is the structure that is intended to protect the fetus during its development. During labor, the cervix usually goes from being closed to 10 centimeters dilated so that the baby's head can progress out of the uterus and into the vagina.

Ovary The ovaries are small, oval-shaped glands that are located on either side of the uterus. The ovaries produce eggs and hormones. Every month during ovulation, either the right or left ovary produces a single mature egg for fertilization. Somewhere between ten and 20 follicles begin the process of maturation monthly.

In conclusion, the organs of the female reproductive system are specialized for the following functions:

  • Produces eggs (ova)
  • Secretes sex hormones
  • Receives the male spermatazoa during
  • Protects and nourishes the fertilized egg until it is fully developed
  • Delivers fetus through birth canal
  • Provides nourishment to the baby through milk secreted by mammary glands in the breast


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