You’re a woman now! As a teenager, you probably heard this a few times after people learned that you had your first period. Why? There is one thing commonly associated with women and it’s the ability to give birth.
While having your period “feels” unfavorable, there’s a lot more happening than monthly bleeding! The coming of your menstrual cycle means that you are finally able to get pregnant. Why do you ask? Let’s find out!
There are tons of women who go through their menstrual cycle every month and still don’t know what’s truly happening. The arrival of your menstrual cycle also marks the beginning of ovulation and this is how. The ovaries are part of the female reproductive system. Every woman is born with two ovaries that have about two million eggs and won’t produce any more eggs during her lifetime.
In the years leading up to puberty, a girl loses thousands of eggs each year before she starts her menstrual cycle. Once she begins her menstrual cycle, the eggs are ready to be put to use!
On average, girls begin menstruating at around age 12, but this can vary from 8 years old to as old as her late teens. During the menstrual cycle, the ovaries release an egg (or ova) into the Fallopian (fal-oh-pee-an) tubes. These are two narrow tubes that connect the ovaries to the uterus. It is while in the Fallopian tubes that the egg waits to be fertilized by sperm. If the egg doesn’t get fertilized, this is what causes your period.
After the egg is left unfertilized in the Fallopian tube, it travels down to the uterus. Hormones cause the wall of the uterus to begin shedding and this is expelled from the vagina in the form of blood. While your uterine lining is what comes out during the period, the egg comes out with it! While this is what happens to the unfertilized egg, if the egg becomes fertilized, the process changes completely!
If you travel back in time, you’d hear tons of myths surrounding a woman’s menstrual cycle. One of the popular ones was that if you used a tampon, you were no longer a virgin. NEWSFLASH! The only way you can no longer be a virgin is through sexual intercourse! This leads us to how you can get pregnant after you start menstruating.
As we mentioned before, after the egg leaves the ovaries, it is waiting in the Fallopian tube to be fertilized. This egg can only be fertilized through sperm, a male reproductive cell that fuses with the egg to bring about conception. While this mostly happens through unprotected sex, methods such as condoms and birth control aren’t 100% foolproof! Once the egg has been fertilized, you’d be officially pregnant!
After fertilization in the Fallopian tube, it still travels down to the uterus. Rather than hormones inducing your period, the fertilized egg begins to develop within the uterus into what will be a full-grown baby.
Although your menstrual cycle might seem like a pretty basic thing once you get used to it, it’s infinitely more complex than that. What appears in the form of blood is actually the cover to a biological process that marks the beginning of a lifelong change!