Molar pregnancy is also known as gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD) or hydatidiform mole.
A molar pregnancy refers to a condition where a genetic error during fertilization process leads to development of anomalous tissue within the uterus (womb).
Molar pregnancy is a rare condition. It is found that, in the United States, approximately one out of every thousand women is having a hydatidiform pregnancy.
Molar pregnancy is of two types: complete molar pregnancy and partial molar pregnancy.
In complete molar pregnancy, only placental parts grow without fetus formation. This type of molar pregnancy develops when the sperm fertilizes an empty egg. However, the placenta produces the pregnancy hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG).
It is found that approximately 15-20% of complete molar pregnancies lead to gestational trophoblastic disease and a very small percentage of this may turn into invasive cancer. However, almost hundred percent of these invasive cancer cases are cured with appropriate treatment.In partial molar pregnancy, the placenta develops unusually into molar tissue. Any fetal tissue that grows is about to have serious birth defects. In some rare cases, a partial molar pregnancy occurs when twins are conceived but one embryo develops normally whereas the other grows with mole.
Only 5% of all partial molar pregnancies develop trophoblastic disease. In extremely rare cases, the abnormal tissue of partial mole can reach to other parts of the body.
A molar pregnancy is generally caused by a genetic problem of an egg or sperm. A molar pregnancy can occur in the early stages of a pregnancy when an abnormal egg fertilizes by a sperm with no genetic information.
The chromosomes of the sperm replicate and lead to a complete molar pregnancy. It also occurs when two sperms fertilizes a normal egg. This condition almost certainly turns into a partial molar pregnancy.
The factors that increase your chances of developing a molar pregnancy are:
Age – The possibility of having molar pregnancy is more when you become pregnant before age seventeen or in the late thirty or more.
History of molar pregnancy – You may develop a molar pregnancy particularly when you have had two or more hydatidiform pregnancies. Having a history of miscarriages also increases your chances of developing molar pregnancy.
Lack of carotene or low carotene in your diet also leads to a high rate of complete molar pregnancy.
A molar pregnancy can be found easily with the symptoms similar to first trimester of pregnancy. The symptoms such as morning sickness, fatigue, breast tenderness, missed menstrual period, and frequent urination can be found.
Besides these symptoms, a molar pregnancy produces other symptoms:
Vaginal bleeding, thyroid diseases, vaginal discharge of grapelike tissue, abnormal size of uterus, high HCG levels, weight loss, increased heart beat, sweating, touchiness, muscle weakness, and nervousness.
If you come across any of these symptoms, right away consult your health care professional. Your doctor performs a pelvic exam, a blood test to observe HCG levels, and a pelvic ultrasound to confirm molar pregnancy.