how high are hcg levels in molar pregnancy?

(July 22, 2010)

Molar Pregnancy HCG Levels

Human chorionic gonadotropin or hCG is the hormone present in an expectant mother’s bloodstream. This hormone is produced by the developing embryo initially and then by a part of the placenta called syncytiotrophoblast. It is essential for sustaining the pregnancy as it assists in maintaining the estrogen and progesterone level in the body. Progesterone and estrogen are hormones that ensure that the uterine lining called the endometrium remains intact and healthy so that the pregnancy is successful.

To determine whether a woman is pregnant or not, the hCG level in her urine or blood is checked. When the level of hCG is much higher than normal, it indicates pregnancy related complications. Molar pregnancies are one such complication. A molar pregnancy is an unusual abnormality that occurs at the time of conception due to a chromosomal imbalance. There are two types of molar pregnancies – complete and partial. In a normal pregnancy, 23 chromosomes are contributed by both the mother and the father. In a complete molar pregnancy, chromosomes are contributed by only the father. Hence, there is no embryo or amniotic sac. In other words, there is no baby, only placental tissue. The placenta develops into a cluster of abnormal cells that resemble a bunch of grapes. In a partial molar pregnancy, the mother contributes 23 chromosomes but the father contributes 46. This may happen when 2 sperm fertilize a single egg. Hence, there is an embryo but it can never develop into a normal child due to genetic malformation. The abnormal fetus grows along with abnormal placental tissue. In such cases, the placenta produces the hCG pregnancy hormone that keeps rising. The cells increase rapidly and so does the hCG level. However, the hCG level differs from person to person and hence, no accurate level can be mentioned. It is essential to keep in mind that the HCG levels during pregnancy may also be high in case of multiple fetuses.  

Besides high hCG levels, the other symptoms linked with molar pregnancies include preeclampsia, spotting or bleeding through the vagina and severe vomiting and nausea. However, a molar pregnancy can be confirmed only after a thorough pelvic examination and ultrasounds. An ultrasound is the most accurate diagnostic tool, as it reveals the actual status of the pregnancy and the abnormal cell structure becomes clearly visible. The first step is to ensure that the uterus is thoroughly cleared of all its contents. Regular follow-ups are essential to check recurrent episodes of cell growth.

Submitted by N on July 22, 2010 at 04:03

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