Molar pregnancy is one of the dangerous complications of pregnancy. Molar pregnancy is medically called hydatidiform mole. Molar pregnancy is an abnormality that pertains to the placenta and is caused due to a problem when the sperm and the egg join for fertilization.
Molar pregnancy includes compete and partial molar pregnancy. Complete molar pregnancy has only the placenta forms and there is no baby. This happens when the sperm fertilizes an egg that is empty and because of this the baby is not formed. This placenta grows and in turn produces hCG which is the pregnancy hormone.
This causes the woman to think that she is pregnant but the ultrasound will show only the placenta and the baby will not be seen. A partial mole results when the egg is fertilized by two sperm. In this case instead of formation of twins something goes wrong and this results in a fetus and placenta that is abnormal. This baby has abnormally large number of chromosomes and such a baby dies within the uterus.
Molar pregnancies are not the fault of any person and can be termed accidents of nature. These types of pregnancies are common with older women and in some geographic locations. Most of the molar pregnancies can be seen after the occurrence of a miscarriage. However some can be seen after the occurrence of ectopic pregnancies and normal deliveries. Molar pregnancies are observed in one in every thousand pregnancies in United States.
In a molar pregnancy women feel pregnant and normally complain of spotting or bleeding. Women experiencing a molar pregnancy also develop feelings of nausea and vomiting. Some women also tend to develop some complications including thyroid disease or an early form of preeclampsia. An ultrasound examination may reveal a smaller or larger uterus than normal. The ultrasound will also show cluster like or grape appearance. Such an appearance signifies the abnormality of the placenta.
Treatment for molar pregnancy includes dilation and curettage. In this a small device that has a vacuum is inserted in the uterus and this is used to remove this molar pregnancy. This procedure is conducted under anesthesia. This procedure has to be done carefully or it can result in excessive bleeding and can also cause blood clots to form in the lungs. The tissue is sent to determine the hCG level and the thyroid level.
Follow up in this condition is required and a chest xray needs to be done. The vagina and the uterus need to be physically examined every 2 years till the uterus becomes normal. After this regular examination should be conducted every three months for 1 year and the woman should not try to get pregnant for a year. The hCG levels need to be monitored on a weekly basis till they return to zero.
In some cases the hCG levels initially drop and then rise. This means the molar pregnancy is growing in the uterine wall from microscopic cells to larger cells. These cells actually behave like cancer and can spread to other organs like brain, vagina, bones and lungs. Treatment for this recurrent molar pregnancy includes chemotherapy medication. However this chemotherapy is quite easy on the system and it usually needs around one shot to resolve this problem.