Lesson 1 Female reproductive system

  • Understand and identify the female reproductive system
  • Understand the menstrual period and its function

The image shows the internal sexual organs of a woman:

  1. Vagina
  2. Cervix
  3. Uterus
  4. Fallopian tubes
  5. Ovaries

Image copyright Sensoa (Zanzu.be)

A woman is born with all her egg cells. They are stored in the ovaries.

Each month a mature egg cell leaves one of the ovaries. This is called ovulation.

The fallopian tube then transports the egg cell to the uterus.

The egg cell can now be fertilized by a sperm cell of a man.

The uterus prepares for pregnancy: the mucous membrane in the uterus grows to form a nest for the fertilized egg cell.

If the egg cell is not fertilized, the woman is not pregnant.

The mucous membrane and blood come out of the uterus and leave the body through the vagina. This is called a menstrual period.

Images copyright Sensoa (Zanzu.be)

The menstrual period lasts about 3 to 7 days. The length is different for each woman. The images show the different stages of a woman’s menstrual period.

At the start of the menstrual period the mucous membrane starts to grow again and a new cycle starts.

A woman can insert a tampon in the vagina to absorb the blood or a menstrual cup which collects the blood. Both need to be changed or emptied regularly. She can also choose to use sanitary towels or pads in her panties to collect and absorb the blood coming from the vagina. There are also washable and reusable sanitary towels made from tissue.

Click to learn what a sanitary towel, tampon and menstruation cup looks like.