Treatment for Molar Pregnancy

A molar pregnancy, also referred to as a hydatidiform mole can be described as a benign (noncancerous) mole hat is formed in the uterus. This problem occurs when there is an extra set of paternal chromosomes within a fertilized egg. Because of this error during conception, the placenta turns into a mass of cysts.

A molar pregnancy can be of two types, partial molar pregnancy and complete molar pregnancy. In a partial molar pregnancy, the embryo is abnormal though some normal placental tissue may be present.

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Complete Molar Pregnancy
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The embryo may begin to develop but cannot survive because it is malformed. A complete molar pregnancy has no embryo or normal placental tissue. A molar pregnancy of either kind should be treated by a doctor as early as possible, as it could lead to serious complications, which includes a rare form of cancer.

A molar pregnancy may seem a lot like a regular pregnancy at first, but after a while you may notice a few odd signs and symptoms, such as -

  • Passage of grape-like cysts from the vagina
  • Pain or pressure in the pelvic area
  • Bright red to dark brown vaginal bleeding
  • Severe nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid uterine growth (later stages of the pregnancy)

To confirm a diagnosis of a molar pregnancy, your doctor may ask you to undergo a blood test and an ultrasound. The blood test will determine the levels of the pregnancy hormones in your body. In a partial molar pregnancy, the ultrasound will show -

  • Fetus with restricted growth
  • Low amount of amniotic fluid
  • Thick, cystic placenta

In a complete molar pregnancy, the doctor may see -

  • No embryo, fetus or amniotic fluid
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Abnormally thick and cystic placenta that fills nearly all of the uterus

Instances of a molar pregnancy are not very common and it occurs in only 1 of every 1000 pregnancies. However, there are a couple of factors that may increase your chances of having a molar pregnancy, which include -

  • Prior history of molar pregnancies
  • Maternal age below 20 or above 35
  • Being of Southeast Asian descent

However, it is not necessary that you will have a molar pregnancy because of these factors.

Unfortunately, a molar pregnancy cannot be treated or allowed to continue like a normal, viable pregnancy. The only option in such a pregnancy is to remove the molar tissue from the uterus as soon as possible. Your doctor will perform a surgery known as Dilation and Curettage (D&C) to get the molar tissue out. This procedure needs to be performed in a hospital, on an outpatient basis.

Just before the surgery, you will be given general or local anesthesia. After that, you will be asked to lie down on your back and place your legs in stirrups.

Your surgeon will insert a speculum into the vagina, to get a clear look at your cervix. After that, your cervix will be dilated and your doctor will remove the uterine tissue using a vacuum device. The whole procedure should take no more than 15 to 30 minutes.

In case the molar tissue has covered an extensive amount of the uterus and you do not wish to have any children in the future, you could also choose to go in for a hysterectomy, a medical procedure in which your uterus is removed.

After the molar tissue is taken out, your health care provider will measure the levels of pregnancy hormones in your body once again. In case the levels of pregnancy hormones are still high, you may require additional treatment.

After the treatment or surgery for a molar pregnancy is over, your doctor may continue to monitor the levels of pregnancy hormones in your blood for the next six months or so, just to ensure that there is no molar tissue left over. To avoid any complications, your doctor may also advise you to wait for at least a year, before getting pregnant again.

Losing a pregnancy can be one of the most devastating experiences for any parent. Your doctor may also advise you to speak with a counselor, to help you overcome the grief. Seek help from your family, friends and relatives, to recover from the experience and lead a normal life.

You can get pregnant again and have a normal, healthy baby after a molar pregnancy. However, your doctor will probably advise you to undergo an early ultrasound with any subsequent pregnancies, to monitor your condition right from the beginning and offer some reassurance of normal development.

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