What is Molar Pregnancy?
Molar pregnancy is a type of an unsuccessful pregnancy where the fetus and the placenta do not get formed completely and properly. In this case, the baby does not develop and the pregnancy is left incomplete.
In the case of molar pregnancy, the cells present in the placenta behave abnormally as the egg gets fertilized by the sperm, rather than providing nourishment to the developing baby. This results in the mass production of abnormal cells which form a lump. Molar pregnancies are caused due to an imbalance in the genetic materials during the pregnancy and occur in the case when the egg which contains no genetic information is fertilized by a sperm. It can also occur in the case when an egg is fertilized by two sperms.
Types of Molar Pregnancies
Depending on the balance of chromosomes in the egg, there are primarily 2 major types of molar pregnancies and they are given as follows:
- Complete moles-in this case, no normal placental tissue gets formed and thus no fetus develops. A mass of abnormal cells called a lump thus grows.
- Partial moles-in this case of a molar pregnancy, some normal placental tissue gets formed but the fetus developed is abnormal. In such a situation, the fetus does not survive for more than 3 months.
Symptoms of Molar Pregnancy
- In most of the cases, there are no symptoms of molar pregnancy and one may not be able to detect whether the pregnancy is molar or not.
- One of the signs of molar pregnancy is that a woman gets bigger more quickly than normal.
- Another symptom of molar pregnancy is really bad morning sickness than usual.
- Another common sign of a molar pregnancy is very dark colored vaginal bleeding. This vaginal bleeding starts to occur about 6-12 weeks after conception.
- Usually, the molar pregnancy is diagnosed during an ultrasound scan which takes place between 10-16 weeks of pregnancy.
How Common is Molar Pregnancy
Molar pregnancy is quite rare. It is a fact that only one in every 600-800 pregnant women in the UK develops molar pregnancy. This means that less than 1500 cases of molar pregnancies occur in one year.
There are many factors that can increase the risk of a molar pregnancy. The following are a few of them:
- Age-age is a determining factor for molar pregnancies. These types of pregnancies occur mostly in teenagers or women of the age 45 or above.
- Previous molar pregnancies-if a woman has had a molar pregnancy before, then the chance or risk of another molar pregnancy is very high, as high as almost 10 times as in other cases.
A mole can be removed surgically by a doctor or a surgeon. The operation that is done to remove the mole is called dilation and curettage. This process involves removal of the contents from the womb. But in some case, removal or womb completely may also be needed to treat this problem.