What Is the Uterus? - Function, Operation & Definition

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kimberly Carpenter

Kimberly has an undergraduate degree in Lab Sciences and a Master's degree in Education.

The uterus is a hollow organ in the female reproductive system where a fetus grows and develops. Learn about the definition, function, and operation of the uterus, and discover its importance for reproduction. Updated: 08/31/2021

What Is the Uterus?

The uterus, also known as the womb, is an interesting and complex organ that's part of the reproductive structure of the female anatomy. This complex organ is quite small in size, actually comparable to the size of a pear. However, this pear-sized organ is responsible for what can arguably be the most important aspect of human life: continuity of the human species.

The uterus is physically located inside a female's body in the pelvic region, the middle area between her hip bones directly underneath the navel, also referred to as the belly button. It's made of multiple sections to assist with the travel of an egg. The egg is released from the female ovary through the Fallopian tubes into the actual lining of the uterus. If fertilization of the egg doesn't occur with a male's sperm during the female's ovulation phase, the uterine lining that has built over the course of several weeks will slowly begin to slough away and leave the female body. This is a stage referred to as menstruation.

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  • 0:00 What Is the Uterus?
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Function and Operation of the Uterus

As I noted earlier, the function of the uterus is to continue life. This is a simple statement, but one which may be a little harder to understand in scientific terms. As an example, think of a raw egg: there is the yellow egg yolk and the clear-colored egg white. These components actually provide almost everything needed to help grow a baby chicken; this is, of course, if the egg had actually been fertilized and not shipped straight from the egg farm to the supermarket.

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