What is a Molar Pregnancy?
A molar pregnancy occurs when chromosomal abnormalities prevent the pregnancy from developing properly. There are two possible types; a complete and an incomplete molar pregnancy. An incomplete molar pregnancy forms an embryo that halts development, while a complete molar pregnancy develops a strange placenta and no fetus. It occurs when the nucleus of an egg is either lost or inactivated, causing the sperm to duplicate itself because the egg is lacking genetic information. This results in lack of fetus, placenta and amniotic membranes. The uterus will then grow rapidly, leading to bleeding into the uterine cavity or to vaginal bleeding.
A partial mole is more frequent and occurs when two sperm fertilize the same egg, causing partial placentas, membranes, or even a fetus present in a partial mole. This will often cause genetic problems with baby.
Signs and Symptoms of a Molar Pregnancy
· Intermittent, brownish discharge
· Nausea and vomiting (more severe than morning sickness)
· Pulmonary embolization
· Vaginal bleeding
· Increased hCG levels
· No fetal movement or heartbeat detected
· Rapidly growing uterus
· Pregnancy induced hypertension prior to 24 weeks
· Passing of tissue that appears to be grape-like
· An ultrasound demonstrating a "snow storm effect"
How is it treated?
Normally the pregnancy will end spontaneously on its own, with the passing of a grape-like mass. If not, suction can be used to evacuate the mole from the uterus. If the woman doesn’t want to continue with childbearing, sometimes a hysterectomy is offered. hCG levels will continue to be taken several times per week until they normalize and pelvic exams will also be performed for precautionary reasons. It will probably be recommendeded that you avoid pregnancy for one year.
Preventing Molar Pregnancies
Molar pregnancies may be due to a nutritional deficit of protein yet can also be caused by an ovulation defect. Some studies show that getting plenty of animal protein and vitamin A through green leafy and yellow vegetables and yellow fruits may help reduce the incidence of molar pregnancies.
Getting Pregnant Again
If you are considering getting pregnant again, it is best to have genetic counseling prior to conceiving before you try again. If you’ve had a previous uncomplicated molar pregnancy, then your risk of having another molar pregnancy is about 1-2%.
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