As some may know, my university education involved learning about the mechanics and physiology of the human body - something I've always really loved learning about really. I remember being extremely attentive during my Biology class in secondary school. Now that I'm doing birth work and devouring book after article on how women are beautifully and wonderfully made for birth, I cannot stop marveling at how we were built to birth. I mean, someone gave some serious thought to this. It is no wonder that artists (and the male gender) should be obsessed with the female form in all its splendour...for the right reasons of course.
So, I thought, I'd share a few fun facts with you - and turn this into something I'll write about every time I've gathered (as I read) at least 3 good ones and save you the hassle of reading. However, if you're truly interested, drop me a text or a PM and I'll gladly hand my reference materials and sources to you.
Okay, let's get this started!
Rugae in your V-jay-jay
If you've felt yourself on the inside down south, you'd probably think that the vagina is rather firm - which probably has you thinking: How is this birth canal of mine going to accommodate my melon of a baby when I deliver?
This is where rugae comes in. Not raggae (we don't need Bob Marley down there, unless it's his music we want to dance to which is great for active labour). Rugae.
Picture credit: https://quizlet.com/344194338/vaginal-structures-diagram/
If you Google the word, rugae is defined as:
"a series of ridges produced by folding of the wall of an organ"
Have you felt all those bumps on the walls of your vagina as well? Those are the rugae and they are pretty darned useful during the birth of your little one.
Imagine an accordian - when it's squished together, it really looks small and rigid but the folds enable it to expand and move when you play it. Similarly, rugae enable the vagina to stretch and accommodate baby as she makes her way out to you.
I definitely remember that during the earlier part of my third trimester, when we were having our first little one, I got out of my seat on the bus and it felt like I had left my entire lower body behind.
Yup, yup, a pregnant mama's body (more specifically, her joints) starts loosening up at around the 10th week. I mean, think about it. If everything stays tight, there really wouldn't be much wiggle room for baby to come out. Even baby's head is 'moldable' so that she can make her grand entrance with ease.
Imagine, we're build with bones, muscles, ligaments and all - yet, the body releases relaxins for everything to make way.
Truly, our bodies are walking miracles.
Let the Milk Flow...
You may have already heard this but my point in sharing it yet again is to point out how someone really gave some serious thought to how we, as a human race, would reproduce and raise our young together, as a community or a village.
During breastfeeding, when baby suckles at the breast, mechanoreceptors send messages to the mama's brain up through the spinal chord to the hypothalamus in the brain. This then triggers the release of oxytocin causing cells in the breast to release milk. The hypothalamus is also responsible for prolactin to be produced which causes lactogenesis or the making of milk. This entire cascade of events is also known as the letdown reflex.
Now here's the coolest thing.
The letdown reflex can also be triggered by a baby's cry - and I mean ANY baby's cry. The sound sends messages to the higher centers in the brain which communicates with the hypothalamus and voila! Milk gets released as well!!! This means that mothers can feed any starving baby.
Think about how women belonging to tribes who would need to be away from their babies to hunt and forage for food and how they would probably have to entrust the feeding of their baby to another woman. Our bodies are made for that,...I mean...wow! How did...who knew...I'm speechless.
So there you have it - humble little ol' me just wowed in the face of the female human anatomy and physiology, and of course, in awe of mother nature and all she stands for.
We are wonderfully, miraculously, beautifully made with so much thought and love, mamas.
Say that everyday that you're pregnant, put it on a Post-it somewhere prominent for your reading everyday.
Sending all my love,
P.S: There's a really cool video of the letdown reflex done by the Khan Academy if you're interested. Click here!