We’ve examined the egg and sperm. In this month’s Fertility Logia, let’s talk about the uterus. Check out these 10 must-know facts about the uterus.
Fertility Logia: the uterus
We’ve discussed egg health and sperm health. In this month’s Fertility Logia, let’s discuss the uterus. Also known as the mitra or womb, the uterus is the space in a woman’s body where the baby grows for 9 months. If you’re trying to conceive, this is important information to know about the uterus.
Top 10 must-know facts about the uterus
- What shape is the uterus? The uterus is shaped like a triangle, where the top is flat and the bottom is open to the cervix, which serves as a tunnel from the vagina.
- What do the fallopian tubes do? There is a fallopian tube off to the right and left of the uterus. The end of tube has finger-like ends that can help pick up an egg. Once a month, one egg has to ovulate and land in the tube like a basketball makes a basket. Sometime it can hit the side, like a rim shot and bounce away. The egg waits in the fallopian tube for the sperm for only 1-2 days. The sperm swims from the vagina, passes through the tunnel (cervix) into the uterus and out the tube.
- What is the uterine surface like? The uterus has a pillow-like lining that becomes sticky for the embryo to implant. Once the egg meets the sperm to create an embryo, it takes the embryo 5 days to come down the tube into the uterus and attach. The ovary and the uterus text each other through hormones, which help them communicate and be ready for the woman to be pregnant.
- How long does it take the pregnancy test to be positive? The embryo attaches by 7 days after ovulation but the pregnancy test typically is not positive until 14 days after ovulation. The urine test is positive at that time. A blood test is more sensitive. The uterine surface has blood vessels that connect to the baby and start the incredible dialogue between mom and baby.
- Where does the period come from? Menses or the blood of the period is the lining of the uterus shedding. If the woman is not pregnant, the body recognizes it and the lining of the uterus is passed. The uterus has mini-contractions to make this happen. This is what’s happening when women feel menstrual cramps.
- How can the baby come out? The cervix, which is strong circular muscle stays very tight and keeps the baby safe inside. When it is time, the uterus starts pushing the baby out by contracting and that forces the cervix to dilate. Some need a cesarean section where the uterus is cut typically right above the cervix and the baby can be pulled out. An incredible part of the body, there are times when the uterus may not work. Through a gestational carrier, a family can still have a baby even if the mother has a uterine issue.
- What are fibroids? Fibroids are muscle tumors that are typically benign. Up to 50% of women get fibroid tumors. They are even more common in women of color where up to 75% of women have them. Fibroids can make a woman feel more crampy periods with heavier bleeding. Some women may need them removed if the fibroids bother them, if they are too big, or if they are affecting their ability to carry a baby.
- Can babies hear through the uterus? Yes, a baby can hear sounds from Mom like her heartbeat as well as the blood flowing, and music that is played.
- How is the uterus checked to be sure it is healthy? Women get a test called a pap smear, which got its name from Dr Georgios Papanikolaou, who studied at the University of Athens and then moved to New York and worked at Cornell University. The pap test looks for cervical and uterine cancer. Other ways to check the uterus aside from the doctor’s hand includes the ultrasound. Fallopian tubes and the uterus can also be examined by placing saline or dye in uterus. By watching the fluid move through the fallopian tubes, they are checked to see if they are open (or patent). If there is blockage, the egg and sperm cannot meet. If there is inflammation, the baby embryo can get caught in the tube which is an ectopic or tubal pregnancy.
- What are the other names used for uterus? Aside from uterus, the uterus is known as the womb. In Greek is called the mitra. The uterus is also known as “hystero” and when someone has a camera surgery to look inside it is called a hysteroscope and if the uterus is removed it is called a hysterectomy.
This amazing organ is a critical part of the survival of the species and allows for the next generation to be born.
“There are many events in the womb of time, which will be delivered.” ~ William Shakespeare
Angeline N. Beltsos, MD is CEO and Medical Director of Vios Fertility Institute. She is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (REI), practicing medicine since 1991. Dr. Beltsos is also the Clinical Research Division Director of Vios and participates in a number of research projects and scientific publications. She has received numerous awards in teaching and has been honored as “Top Doctor” from Castle Connelly for several years. She is a popular speaker, both nationally and internationally, and a frequent media resource on the topic of infertility. She is the executive chairperson for the Midwest Reproductive Symposium International, an international conference of fertility experts. Dr. Beltsos is also a contributor to Thrive Global.
As the REI Division Education Director for the Obstetrics and Gynecology residency programs of Illinois Masonic Medical Center, Lutheran General Hospital, and St. Joseph’s Hospital Chicago, Dr. Beltsos helps educate future OB/GYN doctors. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor for the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at University of Illinois at Chicago.
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