Reproductive System Plush Toys - Female Toy Figures - Sex Ed ModelsBirth is an incredible process directed by hormones and carried out by your organs. Typically, childbirth is kicked off by stress -- at the end of gestation, baby is running out of room and wants to get out. Corticotropin-releasing hormones and cortisol from baby's adrenal glands send an evacuation notice to mom's body: "GET ME OUTTA HERE!" The cortisol then pumps up estriol, a type of estrogen present during pregnancy. Estriol slows down progesterone made by placenta and helps co-ordinate uterine contractions. As estrogen starts contractions, the uterus makes prostaglandins, which also force progesterone levels down. Prostaglandins also make you poop and, along with the hormone relaxin (yes, this is a real, actual hormone name) from the ovaries, get the cervix to soften and dilate to let baby through to the vaginal canal. And that's just the beginning!

Yep, love really *is* complicated. Hormones, neurotransmitters, sensory neurons, oh my!

Relaxin is a polypeptide hormone released by the corpus luteum (ovary), uterus, placenta and mammary gland. It plays an important role in pregnancy and childbirth, but there's still much mystery around the function of this multi-tasking hormone. Some of what we do know is that relaxin prevents uterine contractions early in pregnancy to avoid premature childbirth. During childbirth, it helps the cervix dilate and the vagina to soften and widen. In blood circulation, levels of relaxin rise after ovulation and lower again if pregnancy does not occur.  

Relaxin has also been discovered in men, although its function is even more unclear in men. Secreted by the prostate, it is found in semen. It is thought to assist the movement of sperm cells in the semen.

Recent findings show that relaxin also decreases tissue fibrosis in the heart, lungs, kidney and liver. It supports the growth of new blood vessels, helps heal wounds and is anti-inflammatory. Even though researchers are still figuring out what exactly it does, relaxin seems to be a pivotal hormone in various systems of the body, aside from just reproductive. Cool!

Head ova heels about this ovary tote! Our Ova Achiever design is also available as a t-shirt, mug, phone case and so much more. You can do anything -- when you put your ovaries to it!