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Molar Pregnancy: Cause, Symptoms and Treatment

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What is a molar pregnancy?

A molar pregnancy (also known as a hydatidiform mole or HM) is a tumour (growth) that develops in the uterus (womb) during pregnancy. The placenta does not form correctly in a molar pregnancy. Instead, it forms a mass of cysts (small fluid-filled sacs) that are unable to provide food and oxygen to the baby as they do in a healthy pregnancy.

A molar pregnancy nearly invariably results in a miscarriage. A molar pregnancy occurs in about one out of every 1,000 pregnancies in the United States (less than 1%). The majority of women who have a molar pregnancy can later have a healthy pregnancy. Only about 1 to 2 women in 100 are at risk of having another molar pregnancy (1 to 2 %).

A molar pregnancy might be hazardous to the woman if it is not handled. It can occasionally lead to a rare form of cancer.

A molar pregnancy is a type of trophoblastic illness that occurs during pregnancy (also called GTD). This is a group of diseases that cause uterine tumours to grow.

What causes a molar pregnancy?

When an issue with an embryo’s chromosomes occurs, it results in a molar pregnancy. The structures that hold genes are known as chromosomes. A gene is a component of your body’s cells that stores instructions for how it grows and functions. Parents pass their genes onto their babies. You inherit one from your mother and one from your father for each pair of chromosomes, for a total of 46. When there are two sets of chromosomes from the father, molar pregnancy occurs.

Here you can find two types of molar pregnancy:

  1. Complete molar pregnancy: When sperm fertilizes an empty egg, complete molar pregnancies result with only placental components (no baby). There is no baby because the egg is empty. The pregnancy hormone, hCG, is produced by the placenta as it expands. Unfortunately, an ultrasound will reveal that there is only a placenta and no foetus.
  2. Partial molar pregnancy: When a mass comprises both defective cells and an embryo with serious birth abnormalities, it is called a partial mole. The foetus will be swiftly overtaken by the increasing aberrant bulk in this situation. When twins are created, one embryo develops normally while the other develops as a mole, this is an exceptionally unusual type of partial mole. In these circumstances, the aberrant development will quickly consume the healthy embryo.

Are you at risk of having a molar pregnancy?

If you do any of the following, you may be more likely than other women to have a molar pregnancy:

  • Are you under the age of 20 or over the age of 35? If you’re above the age of 40, you’re in higher danger.
  • Have had a molar pregnancy before
  • You’ve experienced at least two miscarriages.

What are the signs and symptoms of a molar pregnancy?

A healthy pregnancy may appear to be a molar pregnancy at first. However, if you see any of the following signs and symptoms, contact your doctor straight away:

  • Pelvic pain or pressure. This happens infrequently.
  • If pregnant women have vaginal bleeding in the first three months of pregnancy.
  • Severe nausea and vomiting. Nausea is a sickness that makes you feel sick to your stomach.
  • Cysts that look like grapes and emerge from your vaginal area. A cyst is a sac filled with fluid.

Other indicators of a molar pregnancy that your provider may detect when examining your health include:

  • Anaemia. When you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to the rest of your body, you have anaemia.
  • Cysts on your ovaries. The ovaries are the organs in your body that store eggs. One on each side of the uterus, you have two ovaries.
  • High blood pressure (also called hypertension). When the force of the blood on the walls of the blood arteries is too strong, it is called high blood pressure. This could put a strain on your heart and lead to complications during pregnancy.
  • Hyperthyroidism. When your thyroid is overactive, this happens. The thyroid is a gland in your neck that produces hormones that help store and use food energy.

How is a molar pregnancy diagnosed?

An ultrasound is used by your doctor to detect a molar pregnancy. An ultrasound shows a picture of your baby in the womb using sound waves and a computer screen. A blood test to evaluate the levels of a pregnancy hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin is also given by your doctor (also called hCG). hCG levels may grow more slowly in a molar pregnancy than in a healthy pregnancy.


How is this treated?

  • The majority of molar pregnancies will end naturally, and the ejected tissue will resemble grapes.
  • Suction curettage, dilation, and evacuation (D & C) or medicines are used to eliminate molar pregnancies. During these surgeries, general anaesthesia is usually utilised.
  • Around 90% of women who have a mole removed do not require any subsequent treatment.
  • Follow-up procedures to check hCG levels can be done once a month for six months or as directed by your doctor.
  • Follow-up is performed to check that the mole has been entirely eradicated. The mole’s traces may begin to grow anew, posing a carcinogenic hazard to other parts of the body.
  • After receiving a diagnosis, women should refrain from becoming pregnant for a year.
  • Except for an intrauterine device, any technique of birth control is acceptable.

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