When ovulation occurs, the egg bursts forth from a follicle on the ovary, leaving a gaping hole. This hole "scars over" becoming the corpus luteum. The function of the corpus luteum is to produce progesterone which will prepare the uterus for the possibility of pregnancy. It does this by causing cells in the uterine lining to rapidly divide, making a thick juicy bed for the egg should it mingle with sperm.
The corpus luteum also produces some estrogen for a second short surge.
Progesterone inhibits oxytocin, causing the uterine muscles to relax and contract less. Oxytocin stimulates contractions associated with labor, which would be desireable if attempting to stimulate menstruation or end pregnancy.
If fertilization does not occur the corpus luteum degenerates slowing and ending the supply of progesterone. This causes the deterioration of the uterine lining resulting in menstruation.
Oxytocin can be stimulated during labor by sucking on the nipples, to hasten child birth.
oxy = quick
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