What is a molar pregnancy?

(July 22, 2010)

Molar Pregnancy Definition

A molar pregnancy, also known as hydatidiform mole, is a form of gestational trophoblastic tumor. This condition in pregnancy happens when there is some problem during the fertilization process. This is a rare pregnancy problem but it does happen. These growths are not cancerous in nature but they can cause problems in your future pregnancies. These growths spread throughout the uterus.

A molar pregnancy is a curable condition. Hence do not worry.  When you are pregnant, you receive 46 chromosomes in all, 23 from the maternal side and 23 from the paternal side. However, if the fertilized egg does not receive either of the sets from the father or the mother or in case there is a duplication of the chromosomes’ set, then it can lead to molar pregnancy.

Types of Molar Pregnancy

There are two types of molar pregnancy: complete molar pregnancy and partial molar pregnancy. In a complete molar pregnancy there is no embryo, no amniotic sac, and no placental tissue. It will look like a cyst and can be determined only by way of an ultrasound.

In a partial molar pregnancy, the fertilized egg receives an extra set of chromosomes and this leads to partial embryo development. However, the embryo will not have any amniotic sac or placental tissue. In rare cases, the embryo does progress into a fetus but the fetus will not survive as there is no amniotic sac or placental tissue to provide nutrition to the fetus and to support the pregnancy.

In such a scenario, terminating the pregnancy is the only way out. You may feel a little disheartened in doing so, however, do keep in mind that the fetus wouldn’t have survived anyway.

Signs of a Molar Pregnancy

Having knowledge about this kind of pregnancy is always helpful. However, it is difficult to determine a molar pregnancy in advance. Here are some signs that will help you raise a flag before it is too late.

•    Bleeding: Bleeding is a common symptom found with almost any type of complication in pregnancy. If you are suffering from a molar pregnancy, the bleeding can be heavy, intermittent, and light.  The type of bleeding may differ from person to person depending on the body type.

•    Swelling: In a molar pregnancy the presence of the cyst like growths can make your abdomen look swollen unlike a normal pregnancy. Swelling can be accompanied by severe nausea and vomiting.

•    Hcg level: The Hcg level or the pregnancy hormone in your body goes up during pregnancy, but in a molar pregnancy it will be much higher than the actual levels that it should be during normal pregnancy.

A molar pregnancy is easily treated. Hence, do not get disheartened as it is not your fault and the next time when you get pregnant, do alert the doctor about the history of your previous pregnancy in order to avoid this condition.

Submitted by P T on July 22, 2010 at 12:34

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