The procedure of creating an ovum and making the uterus ready for receiving a fertilized egg for beginning your pregnancy is known as the female reproductive cycle. This procedure may directly be linked with your menstrual cycle.
If an egg cell is released by your ovaries, but the fertilization does not occur, the reproductive cycle reorganizes all the way through your menstruation. The reproductive cycle is not very different from the female reproductive system. In the reproductive system, the reproductive organs work in complete synthesis of reproducing another living being.
In most women, the reproductive cycle generally takes about 28 to complete. But in some women, it may be long enough to take 36 days to complete or as small as of 24 days.
Ovum Creation and Ovulation
The ovaries of the female reproductive system get stimulated by the hormones, known as follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and the luteinizing hormone (LH). Influenced by these hormones, the follicles in your ovaries release a mature ovum in a biological procedure, called ovulation.
The ovulation takes place after about 14 days, depending on the duration of your periods, when oocyte attains maturity and is released by your ovaries as an ovum. Although many oocytes start maturing in the ovaries, generally just one ovum out of these is released by the ovaries in a cycle.
Once your ovaries release a mature ovum, the fimbriae catch hold of it and push it into the Fallopian Tubes for its onward journey down to the uterus. It takes nearly one week for the ovum to reach its ultimate destination i.e. the uterus.
If any of the sperm in the semen manages to reach and penetrates the egg cell, it gets fertilized and become a zygote. The zygote contains all the chromosomal information from both the partners. After the germinal development stage lasting for about two-week wherein the single-cell zygote gets divided into multi-cellular to become an embryo. The embryo, after that, will implant itself in the uterine lining of the uterus for its onward developing journey during your pregnancy.
As the ovum attains maturity, it begins its journey to the uterus through your Fallopian tubes. The endometrium, in anticipation of receiving a fertilized egg, begins growing and developing. In case the ovum does not get fertilized in time or fails to implant itself into the endometrium, the arteries in the uterus constrict to cut off the blood supply to the endometrium.
In the absence of blood flow in the endometrium, the endometrium cells begin dying their natural death and with that the endometrium starts breaking down. Hereafter begins the process of tissue shedding called menstruation or periods. Generally, in a menstrual cycle, the tissue shedding starts around Day-28 and lasts for about 3-to-7 days.
If the ovum gets fertilized by a sperm in the semen, the embryo may get implanted itself into the uterine lining, known as endometrium, and start forming, umbilical cord, an amniotic cavity as well as placenta.
During the first eight weeks of your pregnancy and before entering into the fetal period, the embryo continues to develop nearly all the organs and tissues found in an adult. Once the embryo enters the fetal phase, the fetus begins growing larger and becomes more complex before the delivery of a baby.
Lactation is the producing and releasing the milk for feeding a baby. Under the influence of the hormone prolactin, the milk production starts much before the delivery of a baby. Prolactin generation is linked with the infant sucking on your nipples. This means that your breasts will produce the milk as long as you indulge in active breastfeeding your baby.
Once an infant is weaned off the milk, the milk as well as the prolactin production ends thereafter. The milk releasing by your nipples is called the milk-letdown reflex, which happens because of the influence of the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin too is generated in reaction to infant nipple suckling. That means the milk is released only if an infant is actively breastfed.