Most young couples dream about having children. But sometimes, the conditions are not in their favor, and problems arise during pregnancy. One of the rarest pregnancy problems is a molar pregnancy. Molar pregnancy, also known as “Hydatidiform Mole,” is rooted in a genetic defect in the fertilized egg.
If this condition is treated quickly in pregnant women, nothing bad will happen for the mother. But not taking it seriously may bring irreparable risks to the mother or even cost her life. If you plan to get pregnant, it is better to know what molar pregnancy is and get comprehensive and complete information about this condition. So, stay with us until this article's end to learn about the treatments and symptoms of a molar pregnancy.
What is Molar Pregnancy?
A molar pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg turns into a fleshy mass called a mole instead of an embryo. The molar pregnancy symptoms are similar to a normal pregnancy at first. But it will also have symptoms such as bleeding and other warning signs.
Molar pregnancy will not cause problems if it is diagnosed in time and treated properly. However, it may have risks for the mother if not diagnosed timely.
Molar pregnancy is not a common complication and should not worry you for no reason. Instead, all young women should have a general knowledge about it. In this article, you will learn about the types of molar pregnancy, its diagnosis, and its treatment.
What are the Types of Molar Pregnancy?
A molar pregnancy occurs when certain chromosomal problems are present during fertilization and the formation of a fertile egg. Molar pregnancy may be a complete mole or partial mole. In most cases of complete molar pregnancy, the fertilized egg has two sets of chromosomes from the father and none from the mother. In this case, the fetus, gestational sac, and normal placenta are not formed.
However, the placenta is a mass of cysts that look like a cluster of grapes. In a partial molar pregnancy, the fertilized egg usually has two copies of the father's chromosomes and one copy of the mother's chromosomes.
In a partial molar pregnancy, there will be some healthy placental tissue. A gestational sac is formed, and an embryo or a part of the embryo tissue may also be formed. However, in most cases, it is so abnormal that it is not possible for the fetus to continue its growth.
Molar Pregnancy Symptoms
Molar pregnancy symptoms will be the same as the initial symptoms of pregnancy at first. However, there may be heavy bleeding later on in molar pregnancy. This can include red or brown vaginal discharge that is continuous or intermittent and of high or low intensity.
This bleeding may start from the sixth week of pregnancy and continue until the 12th week. In addition, you may have symptoms such as severe nausea and vomiting, severe abdominal cramps, or abdominal swelling. If molar pregnancy is not diagnosed on time, the mother may suffer from pre-eclampsia before mid-pregnancy.
Fortunately, these days, with the help of appropriate diagnostic and treatment facilities, molar pregnancy symptoms are diagnosed very early. With timely treatment for molar pregnancy, the possibility of complications related to it has been greatly reduced.
In order to have a healthy pregnancy, it is better to see a doctor immediately if there is any kind of bleeding during pregnancy. Although bleeding does not necessarily mean a molar pregnancy, if you see a doctor, he/she can check the cause of your bleeding. Additionally, other symptoms are checked with molar pregnancy ultrasound and blood tests and careful examination of HCG pregnancy hormone levels.
Molar Pregnancy Treatments
If a molar pregnancy is detected, the tissue should be removed as soon as possible. A dilation and curettage (D&C) are required to remove the abnormal tissue. The procedure may be performed under general anesthesia, local anesthesia, or intravenous sedation.
In the curettage operation, first, the cervix and vagina are disinfected. Then the doctor opens the cervix with the help of an instrument. Finally, by inserting a plastic suction tube or sucker into the uterus, he removes the abnormal tissue from the uterus. Also, using a tool called a curette, he scrapes and removes the remaining tissue from the wall of the uterus.
In some rare cases, abnormal molar tissue cells may have spread throughout the body. In such a case, the lungs are more likely to be involved than other organs. For this reason, the doctor may take an X-ray of the chest. This helps him to make sure that the cells have not spread to other parts of the body.
Your doctor will usually check your HCG levels every week afterward to make sure it's decreasing. This means you don't have any molar tissue left in your body. After a few weeks, the level of this hormone will reach zero.
After that, to control the risk of the possible return of molar abnormal cells, it may be necessary to check the HCG level for another year (every month or every two months). Because women over 40 who have a complete molar pregnancy are more at risk of molar cells returning. In case these types of women do not intend to get pregnant again, the doctor recommends hysterectomy instead of curettage. By performing a hysterectomy, the risk of cells returning is very low.
Can I Get Pregnant Again?
The definite time to wait for another pregnancy is with the doctor's diagnosis. However, in the case of molar pregnancy treatment, you have to wait for a period of almost one year until your HCG hormone level drops to zero.
If you get pregnant again before this time, the hormone levels will rise. Thus, it will be impossible for the doctor to detect if the abnormal molar tissue has returned or not. The good news is that having a molar pregnancy won't negatively affect your fertility or stop you from getting pregnant naturally. Plus, it won't increase the chance of complications such as stillbirth, birth defects, premature labor, or other pregnancy complications.
Meanwhile, the probability of having another molar pregnancy is only 10 in 1000 pregnancies. In future pregnancies, a molar pregnancy ultrasound will be conducted in the first trimester of pregnancy.
It is true that every type of bleeding and pain during pregnancy is not equal to molar pregnancy. However, the best time to see a doctor is when you see the initial molar pregnancy symptoms. During the examination, the doctor usually asks some questions:
- The start and end of the last menstrual period
- Underlying diseases
- Supplements and medications
- Family history
- History of molar pregnancy
- Grape-shaped cyst discharge from the vagina
It is better to answer all of them with sufficient concentration. But in addition to the expectations you have from your doctor, you should also pay attention to a series of points.
- Be sure to write down the exact date of your menstrual period.
- Ask your doctor about reliable sources of information.
- If you have an underlying disease or are taking certain medications, mention it to your doctor.
However, many people may not have access to a specialist doctor. Some also may, for any reason, decide to get answers to their questions about molar pregnancy online. This is also a good way but get the information only from legitimate sources.