There is a certain excitement in the air that comes with an approaching birth. The supplies are laid by with care, all arrangements are made for taking care of things should baby decide to come early, telephones remain charged and gas tanks remain full. Tiny clothes and diapers fill dresser drawers. Preparation is made for the big day for weeks in advance.
But while all these preparations are taking place outside the body, it is only a token of what occurs within the body. Such an amazing journey the mother’s body undergoes in only 9 months.Looking only at the uterus, that begins the size of pear and ends the size of watermelon, the changes are extreme. This amazing organ, blessed with the office of housing a developing life is quite fascinating. Composed of mostly smooth muscle, it has an amazing capacity to grow. By the end of the first trimester, I’m barely able to feel rise above the pubic bone. The second trimester, those same muscle fibers now stretch accommodate the growing baby, reaching the size of a cantaloupe and even a casual observer can tell that a new life is growing within. By the third trimester, these muscle fibers have thinned and stretched to the point I can now feel through the wall of the uterus and make out the outline of the baby. Stretched to what seems the maximum of its ability, the uterus at full term must now perform the hardest work it will ever do. The muscle, having been stretched to incredible lengths, must now rhythmically contract and shorten in order to force the baby out into the world.
But in addition to the stretching smooth muscle, the uterus also has an outer lining, the perimetrium, which is a marvel in itself.Encasing the uterus, it is a smooth layer of cells that must grow to accommodate the developing baby, but also to allow the uterus to grow without damaging the other organs of the mother’s body. The perimetrium keeps the uterus very smooth and slippery, allowing it to slowly grow into the abdomen without causing friction, and therefore damage, to the organs that it is slowly displacing.
And inside the uterus, a layer of cells, known as the endometrium, has its own duty. From the first few days following conception, the endometrium becomes the home of the new baby. The cells that will become the placenta, burrow deep into this layer of the uterus, securing a blood supply with all the necessary nutrition for the baby.
Such an amazing organ, capable of growing more than ten times its original size, yet returning to its non-pregnant state within a remarkably short time following the birth. it then remains hidden and tucked away until such a time as it may be needed to again make ‘much ado’ for another new life.