04.10 Female Reproductive Anatomy

Join NURSING.com to watch the full lesson now.

Included In This Lesson

Study Tools



  1. Components of the Female Reproductive System
    1. Ovaries
    2. Fallopian Tubes
    3. Uterus
    4. Vagina
    5. Vulva
  2. The female reproductive system is anterior to the urinary tract

Nursing Points


  • Ovaries
    1. Produce egg cells and sex hormones
      1. Eggs develop in fluid-filled bubbles called follicles
    2. Location
      1. Lateral aspects of upper pelvic cavity
      2. Anterior to ureters
    3. Structure
      1. Capsule – tunica albuginea
        1. Collagenous tissue
      2. Cortex –  contains follicles which contain immature eggs
      3. Medulla – contains major arteries, veins, and nerves
      4. Held in place by several connective tissue ligaments:
        1. Ovarian (medial)
        2. Suspensory (lateral)
          1. Contains the ovarian arteries, veins, and nerves
        3. Broad ligaments
  • Fallopian tubes
    1. Canals that extend from the ovaries to the uterus
      1. Enclosed by mesosalpinx – superior margin of the broad ligament
    2. Structure
      1. Outer layer – serous membrane
      2. Middle layer – smooth muscle
      3. Inner layer – simple ciliated columnar epithelium
        1. Ciliated cells and secretory cells  help move the egg from the ovary to the uterus
    3. Regions:
      1. Infundibulum
        1. Fared area at the ovarian end with feathery projections called fimbriae
      2. Ampulla
        1. The middle portion of the tube
      3. Isthmus
        1. End of the tube near the uterus where the tube narrows
        2. Connects to uterus
  • Uterus
    1. Thick muscular chamber
      1. Outside – “pear-shaped”
      2. Inside – lumen is triangular
    2. Location
      1. High in the pelvic cavity
      2. Anterior to rectum
      3. Tilts forward over the urinary bladder
      4. Suspended by Round Ligament
        1. Connects body of the uterus to tissue of labia major
        2. Through inguinal canal
        3. Over pubic bone
    3. Functions
      1. Harbor a fetus
      2. provide a source of nutrition to the fetus
      3. expel the fetus at the end of its development
    4. Regions
      1. Fundus – broad superior curvature
        1. Above where fallopian tubes insert
      2. Body (or corpus) – mid-portion
      3. Isthmus –
      4. Cervix – cylindrical inferior end of uterus
        1. Cervical canal:
          1. Internal os – superior opening into body of the uterus
          2. External os – opening into vagina
          3. Cervical glands – secrete mucus
            1. Prevent the spread of microorganisms from the vagina into the uterus
    5. Uterine Wall
      1. Perimetrium – external layer/serosa
      2. Myometrium – middle muscular layer that constitutes most of the wall
        1. Bundles of smooth muscles running in all directions
        2. Function – produces labor contractions to expel the fetus
      3. Endometrium – inner mucosa layer; site of embryonic attachment
        1. Contains columnar epithelium, compound tubular glands, and a stroma with leukocytes, macrophages, and other cells
        2. Stratum functionalis – half that is shed during the menstrual cycle
        3. Stratum basalis – half that remains and regenerates
  • Vagina
    1. Hollow canal posterior to urethra, anterior to rectum
    2. Extends from cervix to vaginal orifice
    3. Structure
      1. Outer layer – collagenous tissue
      2. Middle layer – the circular layer of smooth muscle
      3. Inner layer – stratified squamous epithelium
        1. Contains rugae (ridges)
    4. Functions
      1. The pathway from the uterus to outside
        1. Intercourse
        2. Childbirth
        3. Menstruation
  • Vulva
    1. External genitalia
    2. Structures
      1. Mons pubis – fat pad over the pubic bone
      2. Labia majora – external skin folds, adipose tissue
      3. Labia minora -internal skin folds, less adipose tissue
      4. Clitoris – contains erectile tissue, the primary function for arousal
      5. Bartholin’s Glands
        1. Secrete lubricating substance into the vaginal canal
      6. Skene’s Glands
        1. Lubricate urethral opening


In this lesson we’re going to talk about female reproductive Anatomy.

The first thing that we have to look at when we’re looking at the female reproductive system are all of the components. There are ovaries, Fallopian tubes, the uterus, the vagina, and vulva.

The primary purpose of the ovaries are for egg development and hormone production for women. The eggs develop in the fluid-filled bubbles called follicles. The ovaries are located in the lateral pelvic cavities, and they are just in front of the ureters.

We start talking about the structure they are encased in a connective tissue called the Tunica albuginea. Within each ovary there is cortex and a medulla. The cortex contains the follicles which contain immature eggs, and the medulla contains the major arteries veins and nerves. Ovaries are held in place by several different connective ligaments. These are the ovarian which come from the middle, suspensory which are the lateral connecting ligaments, and then broad ligaments would all help to keep the ovaries in place.

The Fallopian tubes are the primary pathway for the ovaries to deliver the eggs to the uterus. The Fallopian tubes are essentially canals and they extend from the ovaries to the uterus and they are actually enclosed by parts of a broad ligament. There are three different layers to each fallopian tube and an outer layer which is made of serous membrane, a middle layer which is made of smooth muscle, and an inner layer which is made up of simple ciliated columnar epithelium. The ciliated cells and secretory cells inside their help to propel the egg from the ovary to the uterus. There are also three different areas or regions of the fallopian tube. The infundibulum is found at the end near the ovary and it has these feather like projections called fimbriae. The ampulla is the middle portion of the tube and it ends at the Isthmus which is near the end of the tube right where the uterus connects.

Now, the uterus is a really complex organ. It’s a thick muscular chamber it’s pear-shaped on the outside but the inside is actually triangular. It’s located high up in the pelvic cavity and just sits just in front of the rectum. And it’s suspended by a round ligament that connects the body of the uterus to the tissue of the labia majora. Now the main function of the uterus is involved with pregnancy. It houses the fetus, it provides nutrition via the placenta, it’s also responsible for expelling the fetus during childbirth by smooth muscle contraction. There are several different regions of the uterus including the fundus which is the top curvature, the body, the Isthmus which is near the end, and the cervix which is a ring opening that Helps to control how quickly the child is delivered during childbirth. The cervical Canal is extremely important because there are a couple different functions to it. There’s an internal os which is the uteral side and then the external Os which is the vaginal sign. There are also some cervical glands would help to secrete mucus and prevent the spread of different types of microorganisms from the vagina to the uterus.

The uterine wall is also a really important structure in the uterus. It’s made up of three different layers, the perimetrium, the myometrium, in the endometrium. The perimetrium is the most external layer and it’s actually a serosa layer. The myometrium is the middle layer and that constitutes much of the wall. It’s made up a bunch of of smooth muscles running in all sorts of different directions. During labor all of these muscular contractions work together to expel the fetus. The endometrium is the innermost mucosa layer and it’s the site where the embryo attaches. It contains columnar epithelium oh, different types of tubular glands, in the stroma that has several different immune capabilities like leukocytes and macrophages. During the menstrual cycle the stratum functionalis is the half that sheds during the menstrual cycle and in the stratum basalis is the part that remains and regenerates.

The vagina is a canal that has several important functions. First off it’s it’s just posterior to the urethra and anterior to the rectum. It’s the canal that sits between the vaginal orifice and the cervix and its main function is to serve as a pathway from the uterus to the outside. It’s involved in Intercourse, childbirth, and menstruation. It has three different layers and outer, middle, and inner layer. The outer layer is made of collagenous tissue, the middle layer is made of circular layer of smooth muscle, and the inner layer is actually made of stratified squamous epithelium that has rugae.

And finally we want to talk about is the vulva. It is the most external genitalia and has several different structures. The mons pubis is actually a fat pad over the pubic bone. The labia majora are external skin folds and then made up of adipose tissue. The labia minora are internal skin folds and they have less adipose tissue. The clitoris is actually made up of erectile tissue and its primary function is for arousal during intercourse. There are a couple of glands which also make up part of the external genitalia and that’s the Bartholin glands which secrete lubricating substances into the vaginal Canal primary to intercourse, and then skene’s glands would lubricate the vaginal opening

Okay so let’s recap.

The components of the female reproductive Anatomy are the ovaries, Fallopian tubes, uterus, vagina, and vulva.

The ovaries are where the ovum originate, and they’re also really important and secreting different types of hormones.

The Fallopian tubes are Pathways for the ovum to travel from the ovaries to the uterus.

The uterus has multiple functions but it’s primarily where the fetal development occurs.

And a vagina and vulva both play an important role in childbirth and intercourse.
And that’s our lesson on female reproductive Anatomy. Make sure you check out all the resources attached to this lesson. Now go out and be your best self today, and as always happy nursing!