As the battle heats up concerning women’s reproductive rights around things like accessible health care and contraception, I have a more basic concern.
Are our daughters receiving enough information about their reproductive system that they will be able to make an informed decision for themselves as they mature?
Do they understand their anatomy and how their body works so they can appreciate why these things are important?
Many young girls have a very limited understanding of their female anatomy and of reproduction. But they are the voices of the future and the decisions being made now are going to impact their lives, maybe more than our own.
What They Need To Know
Below are the four basic topics I encourage every parent to teach their daughter before she has her first period:
1. The brain uses hormones to guide the function of the ovaries in a 28-day cycle called the menstrual cycle.
2. The ovaries produce hormones to cause the build up of the endometrium that is lining the inside of uterus. At the end of the menstrual cycle, the endometrium breaks down and is cleansed from the body in what we call “a period.” The period marks Day 1 of the menstrual cycle.
3. The function, or job, of the reproductive system is to create an environment so a pregnancy can happen during each menstrual cycle. With this in mind, an egg is released from one of the ovaries on about day 14 of the menstrual cycle. This process is called ovulation.
4. The egg enters the fallopian tube and wants to join with a sperm that might be waiting there, the process of fertilization. If the egg and sperm join together, they form a fertilized egg. A fertilized egg travels to the uterus and is embedded inside the thick endometrium, then continues to grow inside the uterus until the baby is born.
*Illustrations are taken from my book, I’m a Girl, Hormones!
Empower Future Women
As women teaching our future women, let’s begin with the basics. This will empower them to take a stand for their own personal convictions, whatever position they choose.
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