The endometrium (mucous membrane ; tunica mucosa) is smooth, and closely adherent to the subjacent tissue. It is continuous through the fimbriated extremity of the uterine tubes, with the peritoneum; and, through the external uterine orifice, with the lining of the vagina.
In the body of the uterus the mucous membrane is smooth, soft, of a pale red color, lined by columnar ciliated epithelium, and presents, when viewed with a lens, the orifices of numerous tubular follicles, arranged perpendicularly to the surface. The structure of the corium differs from that of ordinary mucous membranes, and consists of an embryonic nucleated and highly cellular form of connective tissue in which run numerous large lymphatics. In it are the tube-like uterine glands, lined by ciliated columnar epithelium. They are of small size in the unimpregnated uterus, but shortly after impregnation become enlarged and elongated, presenting a contorted or waved appearance.
In the cervix the mucous membrane is sharply differentiated from that of the uterine cavity. It is thrown into numerous oblique ridges, which diverge from an anterior and posterior longitudinal raphé. In the upper two-thirds of the canal, the mucous membrane is provided with numerous deep glandular follicles, which secrete a clear viscid alkaline mucus; and, in addition, extending through the whole length of the canal is a variable number of little cysts, presumably follicles which have become occluded and distended with retained secretion. They are called the ovula Nabothi. The mucous membrane covering the lower half of the cervical canal presents numerous papillæ. The epithelium of the upper two-thirds is cylindrical and ciliated, but below this it loses its cilia, and gradually changes to stratified squamous epithelium close to the external orifice. On the vaginal surface of the cervix the epithelium is similar to that lining the vagina, viz., stratified squamous.