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Categories: Obstetrics or Midwifery

Small bodies are contained in the ovaries. These are called eggs or ova.

The human egg is about 1/125 of an inch in diameter. This egg enlarges and

one or more escape from the ovaries, usually about the time of the monthly

sickness, and are caught by the ends of the Fallopian tube, enter its

canal and are carried into the womb. After they have arrived in the womb

they are, as a rule, cast off with the secretion and leave the body.
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the course of its travel from the ovaries, through the tube to the womb,

the female ovum or egg meets with the male elements, fertilization or

impregnation may take place. If then it is not cast off it generally

lodges in the womb and pregnancy has begun. The male and female elements

are usually supposed to meet in the outer portion of the Fallopian tubes,

fertilization then taking place; but this can occur any place from the

ovary to the womb. When the fertilized egg enters the womb it is usually

arrested in the folds of the womb membrane nearest the opening of the tube

and at once attaches itself to the womb wall. The folds by which it is

surrounded then grow forward and their edges unite over the egg or ovum

forming a sac--the decidua reflexa. Then follows the development of this

ovum and with it the development of the womb, and this growth or

development constitutes the process which is called pregnancy.

The Embryo or impregnated egg is nourished in the womb by measures

preparing for it. The placenta or after-birth forms during the third month

of pregnancy. Its function is to furnish nourishment breathing

(respiration) and excreting power to the embryo or impregnated egg. The

fully developed after-birth is a roundish spongy mass with a diameter of

about eight inches and weighs about one pound. It is usually thickest at

the center, the edges thinning out to the membranes. The inner surface is

smooth and glistening and is covered by a membrane (amnion) and beneath

this two arteries and a vein branch in all directions.

The cord is attached to the inner surface of the after-birth and is of a

glistening white color, varying in thickness, and is about twenty-two

inches long, but it may be longer or shorter. It contains two arteries and

a vein, which run in a somewhat spinal course.