What is a Molar Pregnancy?
A molar pregnancy, though rare, is defined by the abnormal growth of trophoblast. Trophoblasts are responsible for the formation of the placenta. A more technical term to define this is hydatidiform mole.
Molar pregnancies usually happen in the early stages of pregnancy.
There are two types of Molar pregnancy.
- Partial molar pregnancy
- Complete Molar pregnancy
Partial Molar Pregnancy
Partial molar pregnancies are more common than complete molar pregnancies. This complication is characterized by your baby getting a duplicate set of chromosomes from the father’s sperm and one set from the mother. This, unfortunately, means that your baby lacks the genes to survive.
Complete Molar Pregnancy
In this form of molar pregnancy, the fetus gets a duplicate set of chromosomes from the father and none from the mother. This combination prevents a fetus from forming and may instead forms a cluster of cysts at the placenta.
Molar pregnancies happen when:
- A sperm fertilizes an egg
- A wrong combination of chromosomes happens
- Abnormalities in the cells that form the placenta
Symptoms of A Molar Pregnancy
This may seem as a normal pregnancy at first but may develop signs and symptoms that are unique to it. These include:
- Severe nausea and vomiting
- Pelvic pain
- Dark brown to red vaginal bleeding during first trimester
- Vaginal passing of grape like cysts
Diagnosing a Molar Pregnancy
Unfortunately a molar pregnancy is most of the times diagnosed when a miscarriage has already happened.
It can also be discovered before through an ultrasound or a blood and urine test to detect whether there are high levels of HCG.
Can a Molar Pregnancy Be Carried to Full Term?
Unfortunately a molar pregnancy cannot survive. When they are discovered they may need to be removed surgically to prevent further complications.
The molar tissue may persist even after the surgery and can grow deeper inside the womb also called an ‘invasive mole ‘,treatment for this will be required.
Very rarely the molar tissue may develop into a cancer called choriocarcinoma which would also need further treatment.
Follow up Care
Your doctor may need to carry out follow up tests to check the levels of hCG. These tests are done very often and check whether the levels have reduced to normal. Blood test may be carried out 6-12 months after just to make sure all is well.
Women who have lost their pregnancy usually need emotional support to cope with the loss. Counselling may often be required.
Please note that development differs from one child to another.
Content intended for educational purposes only, and not a substitute for medical advice from your doctor.
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Last reviewed March 2019