Molar Pregnancy-An Overview

Molar pregnancy is a serious pregnancy complication which occurs in about 1 in 1000 pregnancies.In molar pregnancies, even though fertilization takes place, a normal embryo is not formed.

The condition occurs
due to a genetic error in the fertilization process. As a result of the defective fertilization, instead of an embryo an abnormal mass of tissue is formed in the uterus.

Molar pregnancies are also referred to as Gestational Trophoblastic Disease (GTD), mole, hydatidiform mole.

There are two types of molar pregnancies
namely complete molar pregnancy and partial molar pregnancy.

In a complete molar pregnancy, the sperm will fertilize an empty egg. As a result the fertilized cell will have no maternal chromosomes. Here no placenta or true embryo is formed. The uterus will be occupied by a cluster of cells which will continue to multiply at a very fast rate.

In a partial molar pregnancy
, two sperms fertilize the same egg. So instead of the normal 46 chromosomes, the fertilized egg will have a total of 69 chromosomes. This leads to the formation of an embryo along with an abnormal mass of cells.

There may also be formation of an incomplete placenta.
The embryo formed here will have serious genetic defects .Hence the chance of development of a normal baby is almost nil.

There are many symptoms of molar pregnancy.You will experience irregular vaginal bleeding and passage of tissue. There will be severe vomiting which will usually be accompanied by abdominal cramps.

The rapidly growing uterus will lead to the formation of an abdominal swelling which resembles a pregnancy tummy. You may also feel intense pain and pressure in the pelvic region.

Compared to a complete molar pregnancy, a partial molar pregnancy is difficult to diagnose.Your doctor will confirm the molar pregnancy with the help of a pelvic examination, blood test and an ultrasound.

A pelvic examination
will help to determine the size of the uterus.If you have a molar pregnancy then an ultrasound scan show fetal movements or fetal heart beat. It will also reveal the presence of the abnormal tissue mass in your uterus.

If confirmed, then the molar pregnancy is usually removed by a process called dilation and curettage (D&c)

Sometimes molar pregnancies can develop into cancer.Therefore it is very much necessary to diagnose this condition at an early stage so that timely and appropriate treatments can be given.