What is Molar Pregnancy?

What is Molar Pregnancy?

Molar pregnancy, also known as hydatidiform mole is a rare complication that occurs because of a problem during the fertilization stage. This can occur due to abnormalities in the cells that are responsible for placental formation. As a result of which there is an abnormal formation of the placenta and fetus.

Types of Molar Pregnancies

There are two types of molar pregnancies – partial molar pregnancy and complete molar pregnancy.

How different is Molar Pregnancy from a Normal Pregnancy?

In a normal pregnancy, the fertilized ovum receives the same number of chromosomes (in total 23 pairs) from the father and mother. However, in a complete molar pregnancy, the fertilized ovum does not receive any chromosomes from the maternal side and the 23 chromosomes that it receives from the paternal side get duplicated. As a result, it ends up having two copies of paternal chromosomes with no embryo, placental tissue or amniotic sac. The placenta assumes the shape of cluster of grapes.

In a partial molar pregnancy, the fertilized ovum receives the normal 23 chromosomes from the mother’s side, but instead of receiving another 23 chromosomes from the father’s side, it receives 46 chromosomes. As a result, it gets total 69 chromosomes instead of normal 46 chromosomes from the mother and the father.

Molar Pregnancy Symptoms

Molar pregnancy is generally common in women who are over 40 years of age. Nearly one in every thousand women to one in fifteen hundred can have a molar pregnancy.

Some general signs and symptoms of molar pregnancy are:

  • Persistent vomiting and nausea
  • Continuous or intermittent, heavy or light bleeding by the 12th week
  • Abdominal swelling
  • No fetal movement or fetal heart tones
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tender and enlarged ovaries
  • Abnormally high human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) hormone

Molar Pregnancy Treatment

Once diagnosed, D&C (dilation and curettage) may be considered. This helps in scrapping and removing the abnormal tissues. Sometimes, a second D&C may be needed for the complete removal of the mole. Otherwise, drug treatment for inducing miscarriage of the mole can be considered.

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