What Does the Uterus Do?: Anatomy, Size, and Function

What does it mean to be a woman and have sexual organs that are used during reproduction? Let’s look at the uterus and find out what this special organ is, how big it is, its structure, and what kind of role it plays during the process of pregnancy.

What does the uterus do?: Anatomy of the uterus

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The uterus is shaped like a pear and is situated in the back of your vagina – your vagina is the opening to the uterus. Supported by 5 ligaments and your pelvis, your uterus is made of unstriated muscles and these muscles can expand and contract during labor and delivery to push the baby out.

The uterus is present in a female baby from birth, but doesn’t function until the female reaches puberty usually at around 13 to 14 years old. The uterus is situated between two fallopian tubes, and at the end of these two tubes lies the fimbriae. The fimbriae sweep up the eggs produced by the follicles which act as a storage room for the eggs before they mature and are released.

The uterus during non-pregnancy is about as big as an egg; when a woman is pregnant, the uterus can expand to the size of about 11.8 x 9.8 inch (30 x 25 cm).

The uterus has many “supporting” roles to play, but its main function can be summed up into two points.

What does the uterus do?: Main functions of the uterus

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Function #1: Receive fertilized egg and allow pregnancy to be established

The lining of the uterus is called the endometrium. Every month, the endometrium thickens, breaks down and is expelled as blood during menstruation. Should a fertilized egg successfully implant itself into the endometrium, the menstruation cycle stops and the egg is allowed to grow as pregnancy is established. In other words, the uterus is the one and only place in which a pregnancy can be established.

When an egg is released from the fimbriae, it is transported to the tubes where the sperms are waiting. These sperms enter the uterus through the vagina and enter the fallopian tubes in order to meet the egg. After the egg is fertilized, it moves down the tubes back to the uterus and implants itself there.

 

Function #2: Protects the baby

Pregnancy is established – but that’s just the start. The fertilized egg implants itself and continues to divide. It becomes an embryo, and later on, a fetus. It takes 9 months for the fertilized egg to become a baby.

The uterus is indispensable to this whole process because it contains the amniotic fluid that protects the baby from external shock. Also, the amniotic fluid helps train the baby to be able to breathe. The uterus in general works to protect the baby and help them grow until they reach term.

What kind of relationship does the uterus have with the ovary and fallopian tubes

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The uterus isn’t the only organ playing a huge role in the whole pregnancy – don’t forget the ovaries and the fallopian tubes! The ovaries are where your eggs are stored and protected. From these ovaries, you release one mature egg during each menstrual cycle. The fallopian tubes are where the egg and the sperm will finally meet. After the destined meeting takes place, the fertilized egg moves down the tube and reaches the uterus.

If there are polyps in the tubes or if they are inflamed, the eggs and sperms cannot meet and this can prevent pregnancy from taking place. Therefore, to say that one is more important than the other isn’t fair – the uterus, ovary and fallopian tubes are all important.

Treat your uterus as your baby

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Your uterus and tubes are susceptible to cancer and other illnesses that can impede pregnancy. If you tarry in seeking treatment, this can not only threaten your health, but can also decrease your chances of getting pregnant. If you do become pregnant, problems in the uterus and tubes can affect your baby negatively. So, pay your uterus some mind. Treat your uterus as your baby, for it will, after all, carry your baby.