Molar Pregnancy: What are Its Types, Symptoms, Causes and Treatment?

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Molar Pregnancy: What are Its Types, Symptoms, Causes and Treatment?

Women have to endure a lot while expecting, as pregnancy comes with good and bad times. One can easily propel through common symptoms such as nausea, mood swings, mild pain, etc., during pregnancy, but when it comes to conditions where they have to lose their baby due to unavoidable circumstances, that pain is unfathomable. One such condition that is a significant risk to your pregnancy is molar pregnancy. You probably hadn't heard about it before, as the incidence of molar pregnancy is roughly calculated at 1 in 160 pregnancies in India. Although there is less chance for you to fall prey to this condition, there is still a chance.

This article will highlight elaborate information about complications of molar pregnancy and a lot more that you must not ignore.

What is Molar Pregnancy?

A molar pregnancy happens when a sperm and an egg get joined incorrectly during fertilisation and form a nonmalignant tumour. Tiny sacs filled with water look like clusters of grapes, forming a tumour that can’t turn into an embryo, and one has to terminate pregnancy eventually. Some people experience miscarriage, and some undergo surgery to remove the tumour. It can cause complications if not treated immediately.

Molar pregnancy, also known as hydatidiform moles, is a type of gestational trophoblastic disease that causes tumours to grow in the uterus. 

Who is At Risk of Having a Molar Pregnancy?

Molar pregnancies are rare but not zero. The chances of having molar pregnancy increase when-

  • If your age is above 40
  • If your age is below 20
  • Belong to Asian descent
  • Already had two or more miscarriages
  • Have had a molar pregnancy

Types of Molar Pregnancy

Complete and partial are the two categories of molar pregnancies. Read through to know more about the types of molar pregnancy-

Complete molar Pregnancy

The embryo doesn’t form in complete molar pregnancy as the sperm fertilises an empty egg. There is an abnormal growth of placental tissue containing cysts filled with cysts or tumours. You can mistake this condition for pregnancy as the tissue produces the pregnancy hormone–human chorionic gonadotropin, which is formed by a healthy placenta while you are pregnant. You will also get a positive pregnancy test in this condition.

Partial Molar Pregnancy

In a partial molar pregnancy, an abnormal placenta forms with an embryo and two sperm fertilising an egg. In such a condition, the embryo has an extra set of chromosomes and may develop, resulting in a failed pregnancy as it can’t survive.

Symptoms of Molar Pregnancy

One may not experience any particular symptom of a molar pregnancy. However, some symptoms have been noticed in people who have experienced-

  • Extreme  nausea and vomiting
  • Vaginal bleeding within the first trimester (three months of pregnancy)
  • Grape-like tumours or cysts moving
  • Uncontrollable Blood Pressure (Preeclampsia)
  • Abnormal HCG levels
  • Anemia 
  • Abdominal swelling

Although a few of these symptoms are common when you are pregnant, see your doctor immediately if you notice anything unusual.

How is Molar Pregnancy Caused?

Genetic errors are the leading molar pregnancy causes that happen during the fertilisation of an egg with the help of a sperm. In normal pregnancy, there is one set of chromosomes from each parent and a total of 46 chromosomes, as there are 23 chromosomes in one person. Chromosomes contain genes that tell your body how to function. Whereas in molar pregnancy, chromosomes are disproportionate. In the case of complete molar pregnancy, the egg has no chromosomes, and the embryo has 23 chromosomes from the sperm. In partial pregnancy, an egg is fertilised by two sperm, resulting in an embryo having 69 chromosomes.

This is how molar pregnancy is caused, leading to a failed pregnancy.

Diagnosis of Molar Pregnancy

You must undergo routine prenatal tests to determine whether your pregnancy is normal or has some complications. These diagnoses are usually administered during the first trimester. In a molar pregnancy, your ultrasound reports will show plenty of sacs filled with fluid instead of the placenta.

Your doctor can also administer the blood test to check your HCG level, as noticeably high HCG levels suggest molar pregnancy. In contrast, your HCG level remains normal or hardly higher in normal pregnancy. 

Treatment of Molar Pregnancy

As soon as you are diagnosed with molar pregnancy, you need to get it removed immediately with the help of whichever process your doctor recommends. You will be required to undergo surgical treatment involving dilation and curettage with suction to remove abnormal uterine tissues. The patient is given general anaesthesia as it is a painful process.

After diagnosing your condition, your doctor may also suggest you take medication instead of surgery that can help your uterus contract and expel the unwanted contents of your uterus. Speak to your doctor about the best possible treatment for you that is also safe and has no complications in the future.

However, in rare cases, surgical removal or hysterectomy is essential to treat molar pregnancy. Your HCG levels must be monitored regularly until they return to normal. This ensures molar tissue is finished from your body and doesn’t return as uncontrollable HCG levels indicate severe complications.

>> Also Read: Ectopic Pregnancy: How Does It Put Pregnant Women's Life at Risk?

Health Complications Due to Molar Pregnancy

Being a rare condition, it could also cause a type of cancer–choriocarcinoma. This cancer forms within the uterus and may end up spreading to organs and other parts of your body and requires chemotherapy or radiation.

  • However, other complications of a molar pregnancy are-
  • Extremely high blood pressure
  • Extremely low blood pressure
  • Uterine infection
  • Sepsis (infection of the blood)

Prevention of Molar Pregnancy

There is no known way to prevent molar pregnancy. You can reduce the complications leading to molar pregnancy by avoiding another pregnancy for up to a year once you have had a molar pregnancy for the previous time. However, you can consult your health practitioner to know when you can successful pregnancy after molar pregnancy

Disclaimer: The above-mentioned information is for reference purposes only. Kindly consult your doctor in case of any emergency or doubt.

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