Vagina

The vagina is the passage (birth canal) connecting the uterus (womb) to the outside of the body. Usually about 8 cm long, it is joined to the uterus at the cervix, and passes through the lower part of the woman’s body behind the urethra and bladder and in front of…

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Vulva

The external female genitals are the area of sexual arousal. The vulva (female pudenda) consists of two pairs of fleshy folds or lips, and a small highly sensitive organ, called the clitoris. The outer of the two pairs of lips is called the labia majora (Latin for larger lips) and…

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Toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasma gondii is a single-celled animal that is found world-wide as a parasite of cats, other animals and birds, from whom it may spread to humans. The eggs pass out in the faeces of the animal and may then enter a human mouth (eg. after careless handling of cat litters…

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Trimester

Pregnancy lasts for nine months, and is commonly divided into three trimesters, each covering a period of three months. During the first trimester (the first three months) the structure and form of the foetus are developed. This is the most critical stage of the pregnancy. The second trimester is involved with…

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Pregnancy Signs

The first signs of pregnancy that a woman may be pregnant is that she fails to have a menstrual period when one is normally due. At about the same time as the period is missed, the woman may feel unwell, unduly tired, and her breasts may become swollen and uncomfortable.

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Retained Placenta

After the delivery of the baby, the placenta normally separates away from the wall of the uterus and is expelled by the contractions of the uterus within a few minutes. The process may be assisted by a doctor using injections to improve the uterine contractions and manoeuvres to assist the…

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Pudendal Block

A pudendal block is an effective form of local anaesthetic that numbs the perineum and external genitals. An injection of a local anaesthetic such as lignocaine is given through the lower part of the vagina into the wall of the pelvis around the pudendal nerves that supply the perineum. It…

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Oligohydramnios

In the womb, the baby is surrounded by, and floats in, a sac filled with amniotic fluid. This fluid acts to protect the foetus from bumps and jarring, recirculates waste, and acts as a fluid for the baby to drink. If insufficient of fluid is present, the condition is called…

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Labour

Labour commences when the cervix starts to dilate and finishes with delivery of the baby and placenta. The exact triggers that start the labour of pregnancy are unknown, but the hormones responsible come from the pituitary gland in the brain. There is some evidence that labour can be induced in…

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Prolonged Labour

Prolonged labour can occur for several reasons. The muscles of the uterus may not produce sufficiently strong contractions, or may not contract regularly. Some women have uncoordinated contractions, which cause different parts of the uterine muscle to contract at different times. This can result in significant discomfort but minimal progress…

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