What is molar pregnancy?


Know the basics

What is molar pregnancy?

A molar pregnancy or hydatidiform mole is a noncancerous (benign) tumor that develops in the uterus. A molar pregnancy happens when a fertilized egg that normally becomes a fetus, instead, develops as an abnormal cyst in your uterus. Even though it isn’t an embryo, this growth triggers symptoms of pregnancy. This condition is fatal and requires timely treatment.

How common is molar pregnancy?

The frequency of molar pregnancy is different by geographic area and ethnic groups. In US, it is determined to occur in about 1 in 1200 pregnancies. The risk increases at the extremes of women reproductive age, thus early teenage and peri-menopausal years are most at risk. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Know the symptoms

What are the symptoms of molar pregnancy?

The common symptoms of molar pregnancy are:

  • Dark brown to bright red vaginal bleeding during the first trimester;
  • Severe nausea and vomiting;
  • Rarely pelvic pressure or pain.
  • A uterus that is larger than normal.
  • Signs of hyperthyroidism. These include feeling nervous or tired, having a fast or irregular heartbeat, and sweating a lot.
  • Vaginal passage of grape-like cysts.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

You should contact your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • Rapid uterine growth – the uterus is too large for the stage of pregnancy;
  • Abnormal high blood pressure;
  • Appearance of protein in the urine after 20 weeks of pregnancy;
  • Ovarian cysts;
  • Anemia;
  • Hyperthyroidism, including feeling super nervous, over sweat or fast metabolism in the body.

Know the causes

What causes molar pregnancy?

Molar pregnancy is caused by an abnormal fertilized egg that develops into a hydatidiform mole rather than a fetus. There are two types of molar pregnancy: complete and partial.

  • Complete molar pregnancy. An egg with no genetic information is fertilized by a sperm. It does not develop into a fetus because not contain a full genetic system, but continues to grow as an abnormal tissue and looks a bit like a cluster of grapes filling the uterus.
  • Partial molar pregnancy. An egg is fertilized by two sperm, thus contains two half genetic information but not normal at all. Any fetal tissue that forms is likely to have severe defects.

Know the risk factors

What increases my risk for molar pregnancy?

There are many risk factors for molar pregnancy, such as:

  • Maternal age. A molar pregnancy is more likely for a woman older than age 35 or younger than age 20.
  • Previous molar pregnancy. If you’ve had one molar pregnancy, you’re more likely to have another. A repeat molar pregnancy happens, on average, in 1 to 2 out of every 100 women.
  • A history of miscarriage.
  • Carotene insufficiency. Carotene is a form of vitamin A. Women who don’t get enough of this vitamin have a higher rate of complete molar pregnancy.

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is molar pregnancy diagnosed?

Your doctor can confirm a molar pregnancy with:

  • A pelvic exam;
  • A blood test to measure your pregnancy hormones;
  • A standard ultrasound directing at the tissues in the abdominal and pelvic area.

How is molar pregnancy treated?

A hydatidiform mole needs to be completely removed. The first procedure includes dilation and curettage by a vacuum device.

If the molar tissue in more extensive and there’s no willingness of future pregnancies, is removal of the uterus (hysterectomy) might be recommended.

After surgery, the level of human chorionic gonadotropin in the blood is measured to determine whether the hydatidiform mole was completely removed. The follow-up monitoring may require 6 months to one year. You also should consult your doctor very carefully before planning to get pregnant again.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage molar pregnancy?

If you’ve had a molar pregnancy, talk to your doctor or pregnancy care provider before conceiving again. They may recommend waiting for six months to one year before trying to become pregnant.

During any subsequent pregnancies, your care provider may do early ultrasounds to monitor your condition and offer reassurance of normal development.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: May 30, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

You might also like