Female Life Stages

Women's life stages are based on the reproductive cycle, beginning with menstruation, and ending with menopause.

Understanding women's life stages starts with biology. Each month an egg is released from the ovary during ovulation. It travels down the fallopian tube, where it may be fertilized by a sperm. If fertilized, it implants in the lining of the uterus. If not, the egg and lining are shed during menstruation. This continues until pre-menopause — the time when a woman's body begins the natural transition to menopause.

Coming of Age: The Body at Puberty

Puberty involves a series of hormonally directed changes in a girl’s body and brain. Although many people think of puberty as an event marked by the first menstrual period, the term in fact refers to the entire developmental sequence leading to sexual and reproductive maturity.

Its physical signs include accelerated growth, breast development, pubic and axillary (armpit) hair growth, and the body odor that results from the activation of apocrine glands in those areas. The first menstrual period occurs near the end of this process. This entire progression usually takes about four and a half years, although some girls go through it more rapidly than others (ranging from one and a half to six years).

Learn More about female body development and the biology behind it

Fertility & Family Planning

Once a female reaches maturity, she is then able to conceive. Most women at this stage often use birth control to regulate this process. If you're considering using birth control, you have many options — from natural family planning and over-the-counter birth control products to intrauterine, implantable, or prescription contraceptives. For permanent sterilization we offer tubal ligation or the Essure procedure. 

To help determine which birth control method would be best for you, consider your lifestyle, personal preferences and health status.

Learn More about things to consider when using birth control and the options available to you

Pregnancy

Obstetrics is the medical specialty that provides care to women during pregnancy, childbirth and after childbirth (postpartum). Your obstetrician can get you started on a pregnancy plan that will be of most benefit to you and your unborn child, and is there to guide and counsel you throughout the 9-month journey and after.

Learn More about Prenatal, Childbirth, and Postpartum pregnancy stages 

Menopause

Menopause is a time in a woman's life when the ovaries stop producing estrogen and regular periods stop. Menopause is not a medical problem, it is a natural biological process.

For most women, menopause does not happen instantly or overnight, it is gradual and most women reach menopause between the ages of 45 and 55, the average being around 50. This depends on the individual body development and hormone levels. As you approach menopause the production of hormones (for example estrogen) by the ovaries begins to slow down. As this process accelerates, hormone levels fluctuate more and often a woman notices changes in her menstrual cycle.

Learn More about these changes, risks involved, and treatment options available