Pregnancy news is often referred to as ‘Good News’! But the fact that it can not always be a good one may surprise you at first. Yes, today, we are going to explore one of the pregnancy complications known as ‘Molar Pregnancy’ or the ‘Hydatidiform mole’.
It occurs at the fertilization stage when an egg and a sperm do not fuse correctly. Instead of developing into the placenta, tissue in the uterus becomes an abnormal mass or tumor which is not able to support the developing embryo. Therefore, resulting in a miscarriage.
Types of Molar Pregnancies
- Complete Molar Pregnancy – It is a condition where there is no sign of fetus (embryo). Only placental tissue grows inside a womb, and that too is abnormal.
- Partial Molar Pregnancy – In this, both placenta and fetus are abnormal. The fetus is incomplete, meaning it would not develop into a baby.
People More Prone To Molar Pregnancy
Although this kind of pregnancy is very rare, i.e. about 1 in 1000. Still, the chances of having one increase if you are:
- under 20 or over 40
- have had two or more miscarriages
- have a history of molar pregnancies
- or live in certain unfavorable geographical locations
Causes of Molar Pregnancies
The reason behind this complication is specific genetic errors at the DNA level. They arise due to the fertilization of an egg with more than one sperm which disturbs the normal chromosomes count of 46. Hence, result in a duplicate copy of the father’s genetic material and loss of the mother’s, making the chromosome count to 69. Moles can also occur if an imperfect sperm fertilizes the egg or a sperm fertilizes an imperfect egg. This situation makes it very difficult for the egg to survive. And eventually leads to the end of pregnancy.
Symptoms of Molar Pregnancies
At first, it may seem a completely normal pregnancy, but after some time, you may experience:
- Vaginal bleeding within the first three months of pregnancy
- Watery brown discharge, don’t confuse this with watery discharge
- Severe nausea and vomiting, more frequent or severe than what’s normal during pregnancy
- Extremely high Blood Pressure
- Lots of pressure and pain in the pelvis
- High HCG(a hormone made by the placenta) levels
- Increases in abdominal size that occur much faster than in a healthy pregnancy
- No heartbeat or fetal movement
- Grape-like cysts (sacs) coming out of the vagina
- Anemia, Ovarian cysts, rapid uterine growth, overactive thyroid are some other detectable signs
Diagnosis Of Molar Pregnancy
At times, this complication gets diagnosed when a pregnant lady goes for her usual check-ups, including ultrasound scans of the uterus. But sometimes, the doctor may suggest some blood tests, MRIs, or CT scans upon observing the HCG levels. Other signs and symptoms can also confirm the same.
There is nothing you can do to prevent this kind of pregnancy complication. But suppose someone has had a previous molar pregnancy. In that case, it is advised to consult a doctor before trying to conceive again. You may need to wait for another 6 months or even a year and go for periodic HCG level checkups.
Possible Treatments Of Molar Pregnancy
In most cases, it happens that molar pregnancies spontaneously end on their own. The developed cysts pass out of the uterus and eventually through the vagina. But for some women, it may require proper treatment, after which she can have a successful pregnancy and a healthy baby afterwards. Some ways of operating are:
- Dilation and Curettage(D&C)– In this method, the mole is removed by dilating the opening of the cervix and using a medical vacuum.
- Chemotherapy Drugs – These are involved after D&C when the risk level is relatively high, and HCG levels don’t go down over time.
- Hysterectomy– It is a not-so-common treatment for moles, but anyone who doesn’t wish to get pregnant in the future may go for it as it involves removing the entire womb.
- RhoGAM-It is given to those as a part of treatment who have Rh-negative blood to prevent some complications related to developing antibodies.
- After-care– After the operation, it is important to remove molar tissue completely, as in some cases, it may regrow and cause cancer.
- Later-stage treatment– Though cancer after molar pregnancy treatments is very rare still, most of them are treatable and have a survival rate of up to 90%.
It may sometimes happen that after the treatment or the pregnancy itself, parts of molar pregnancy may remain inside the uterus, which may cause persistent gestational trophoblastic disease. In this disease, cells from the mole grow into the muscle layer around the uterus which causes a certain kind of cancer called choriocarcinoma. It can even spread to other parts of the body. Infection in the blood or the uterus and very high or very low blood pressure are other potential complications arising from molar pregnancy.
Molar pregnancies are not that common, but they can happen to women of all ages and walks of life. They can be emotionally, mentally and physically exhausting. Proper communication with doctors, support groups and other women with similar experiences can be therapeutic. Related counselling might assist you in planning for a healthy pregnancy in the near future.
As per health guidelines and recommendations, you should avoid getting pregnant for at least a year after treatment as it’ll be safe for you as well as for your future baby.