Testosterone is a naturally occurring potent androgenic steroid hormone which regulates how the male reproductive system develops and accounts for secondary sex characteristics in males. The hormone is secreted chiefly in testes, yet may also be produced in ovaries as well as adrenal cortex. It may also be produced synthetically to be used in treatment of androgen deficiency or in promotion of anabolism (The Oxford English Dictionary, 2012). If the term was to be explained to a 15 year old GSCE student, it could be done in the following manner: Testosterone is a hormone produced by a human body. It is mostly produced in males, in testicles. It may also be produced in females, in ovaries. The hormone develops men’s sex characteristics, for example, stimulates the process of sperm production and helps men to maintain their sexual function.
Progesterone is “a steroid hormone released by the corpus luteum that stimulates the uterus to prepare for pregnancy” (The Oxford English Dictionary, 2012). Simply explained, progesterone is a hormone responsible for pregnancy. It is very important for women’s menstrual cycle. Progesterone is very important for women, but is found in men, too. In a female body, this hormone is produced by the ovaries and is responsible for the menstruation.
Oestrogen refers to “any of a group of steroid hormones which promote the development and maintenance of female characteristics of the body”. Oestrogen may be produced synthetically to be used in oral contraceptives, as well as to provide treatment of menstrual or menopausal disorders (The Oxford English Dictionary, 2012). Simply explained, oestrogen is the general name of the hormones that are responsible for development and also for functioning of women. Oestrogen is produced by women and men alike. In women, oestrogens are responsible for how female sexual characteristics develop; they are made in ovaries, fat, and adrenal glands. They regulate the growth of breasts, the growth of women’s genitals organ, as well as regulate metabolism.
Basically, women are aware that hormones affect the mental condition and behaviour of women. Typically, when women speak about their menstrual cycle, they say their behaviour depends on it. For example, women believe that nearly two weeks before the next period, they have bigger sexual desire. Also, they admit to having experienced nausea, excessive fatigue, constipations, vomiting, irritability, aversion to eating food, and sudden swings of mood during pregnancy. Besides, menopause has been said to be related to a series of disturbing states: depression and sleep difficulties. Unfortunately, for women it is hard to say how exactly the hormones are called, but they know that it is hormones that are responsible for all these changes. Comparing this to the information about the impact of hormones on women’s cycles, one can say that, indeed, hormones influence the female behavior and body condition depending on the menstrual cycle or other conditions (for example, pregnancy or menopause). To illustrate, during the menopause hormones responsible for women’s sexual function stop being produced by the ovaries, and this leads to depression, irregularities of the menstrual cycle, changes in women’s genitals, flushes, and disturbances of sleep, etc (Bushman & Young 2005: 4). Also, the scholarly literature provides evidence that mood changes and other mental reactions in women during pregnancy may be attributed to hormonal changes: during pregnancy hormones are produced in great quantities to accommodate the baby, so women’s organisms respond in a range of aforementioned ways.
The figure below shows how hormones behave during puberty and how they influence the men’s and women’s reproductive systems.
2. Embryo is term used to refer to an unborn human, in particular during the first 2 months after the baby was conceived, “after implantation, but before all the organs are developed” (The Oxford Dictionary, 2012). Placenta is “a flattered circular organ in the uterus of pregnant eutherian mammals, nourishing and maintain the foetus through the umbilical cord” (The Oxford Dictionary, 2012).
Adapted from the flow diagram that depicts the hormonal control during the process of human puberty (Smith 1995)
How to describe and explain the early stages of embryo development to 15 year old females? Embryo starts developing when the conception has taken place. In other words, after the sperm produced by a male has fertilized the egg produced by a female, embryo starts to grow as different tissues originate (Brevini & Pennarossa 2012: 1). Various types of cells develop into various organs. Specifically, muscles and blood grow out of mesoderm cells; lungs and the digestive system grow out of the endoderm; skin, brain, and nerves grow out of the cells of ectoderm. Within the time period of 4 weeks after the conception, the embryo develops brain, forms an umbilical cord, and his heart starts beating! (Thies & Travers 2001: 33) In 5 weeks, the embryo already forms the limbs and his internal organs start to develop, as well. At this stage of development, the embryo is highly vulnerable to the effect of drugs or alcohol. In 6 weeks after the conception, the embryo already has visible eyes and his mouth, his ears, and his nose start shaping. In 8 weeks after the conception, the tail disappears, the face starts to look human, and chief organs form; also, genitals can be seen; cartilage is replaced by bones; the embryo starts to be called a foetus (Thies & Travers 2001). 3. The books that will be discussed and compared in this part of the paper are Breastfeeding and human lactation by Jan Riordan & Karen Wambach and Impact of birthing practices on breastfeeding by Linda Smith & Mary Kroeger.
In Breastfeeding and human lactation, the authors provide a range of clinical recommendations on breastfeeding and lactations for modern health care workers. The text is clinically focused, with recommendations based on evidence-based research studies results and a thorough review of the literature in the field. Designated for health care staff, the text’s first section focuses on the role of the staff that deals with lactation and explores numerous issues related to this job. The second section focuses on breastfeeding practices in the historical context. The third section is a clinically based account of what, how, and when to do. The fourth section focuses on a mother and her sexuality and fertility. The fifth one explores the lactation theories and their link to practice.
While Breastfeeding and human lactation may well be called a reference book or a manual of a lactation specialist in health care, the book Impact of birthing practices on breastfeeding focuses on a narrow range of themes. They all revolve around discussion of the impact of birthing practices on mothers’ lactation. Specifically, Impact of birthing practices on breastfeeding explores the benefits of natural birth, through labour, for normal development of breastfeeding capability and psychological attachment between a mother and her newborn baby. Through the use of recent data, it is explained that despite the fact caesarean section is a relatively safe operation today, with seemingly minimal consequences, natural labours are the most effective way of sustaining the natural process of motherhood formation, as well as the premise of normal child’s development in the future. In contrast to the first book, Impact of birthing practices on breastfeeding is considerably smaller in size (250 pages versus almost 900 pages), which is enough to reveal the narrow aspect of birth-giving and breastfeeding it covers. Similarly to the first book, it is based on the findings of clinical research and is written primarily for health care specialists. Overall, the comparison of the two books allows distinguishing the broader contents of the first book and the narrower focus of the latter, evidence-based recommendations in both books, and their addressing the medical staff rather than the general public.