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Molar Pregnancy

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Getting pregnant and carrying the pregnancy forward with no complications is what most couples wish for. Sometimes, there are instances when a pregnancy does not proceed the way it must. A pregnancy can turn out to be a nightmare if it is a molar pregnancy. It is a complicated and rare form of pregnancy. Plainly put, molar pregnancy is an irregularity of the placenta caused by a problem when the egg and sperm unite at fertilization.

Statistics indicate that in the US 1 in every 1000 pregnancies is a molar pregnancy. Southeast Asian women and women from Mexico and Philippines are at higher risk for molar pregnancy. Women aged forty and above are at high risk zones for a molar pregnancy.


Molar pregnancy
Molar pregnancy is a kind of gestational trophoblastic disease. 'Hydatidiform mole' is the medical term for molar pregnancy. A genetic disorder during the fertilization process causes growth of abnormal tissue inside the uterus thus ending up as molar pregnancy. In a molar pregnancy, the embryo never develops and the increase in the uterus size is faster when compared to normal fetal growth. The real cause for a molar pregnancy is not understood. It is derived that, nutritional deficiencies and ovular defects could be the contributing reasons for molar pregnancies.


Types of molar pregnancy

  • Complete molar pregnancy - Only the placental parts are present and there is no baby. The sperm fertilizes an empty egg and thus no baby is formed. The nucleus of the egg is either lost or inactivated. The sperm then duplicates itself after sensing no genetic information from the egg. As the placenta grows in size, it generates the pregnancy hormone (hCG), and the woman thinks she is pregnant. When the patient goes for her regular ultrasound, she will be surprised to see that there is no baby and the uterus is filled with a mole that strikes a resemblance to a bunch of grapes. As the placenta is practically absent, the blood flowing to the placenta comes out as vaginal bleeding or as bleeding in the uterine cavity.


  • Partial molar pregnancy - When two sperms fertilize an egg, this mole is formed. As a replacement of the twins to be formed, an abnormal fetus and an abnormal placenta are formed. Typically the baby has too many chromosomal problems and will die in the uterus itself.

  • Symptoms of molar pregnancy

  • Molar pregnancy women feel pregnant and complain of vaginal bleeding.

  • They have excessive nausea and vomiting.

  • Few women develop hyperthyroidism.

  • An examination of the ovaries will indicate excessive secretion of hCG.

  • Uterus is more enlarged when compared to a normal pregnancy at this stage.

  • Heart beat and fetal movement is missing.

  • Treatment of molar pregnancy
    Molar pregnancies generally come to an end by themselves. Women pass out tissue that resembles grapes. Ultrasound aids in identifying pregnancy related problems. Tests for hCG and thyroid levels are taken. A D&C is done to empty the uterus. Induction of labor will not be recommended as that may lead to excessive hemorrhage. HCG levels are monitored several times.

    Pelvic exams are also scheduled during this period. Very rare cases would require chemotherapy if the molar is stubborn and recurrent. Chest and abdominal x-rays are taken to ensure that the infestation has not spread to the spine, lungs or any other vital organs. There is 1% chance of recurrence of molar pregnancy.


    Is prevention possible?
    Prevention is better than cure for any type of disease, but is prevention really feasible for molar pregnancies. Nutritional deficiencies in particular protein deficit is found to be the major cause for such pregnancies leaving apart the ovulation defects. Studies indicate that consuming lots of animal protein and vitamin A through green leafy vegetables and yellow color vegetables and fruits might help reduce the chances of molar pregnancies.

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