Molar pregnancies, also known as hydatidiform moles, are rare usually unviable pregnancies that develop when trophoblasts (the cells that normally develop into a placenta) grow abnormally. Today’s episode is all about this rare issue in pregnancy,...
Molar pregnancies, also known as hydatidiform moles, are rare usually unviable pregnancies that develop when trophoblasts (the cells that normally develop into a placenta) grow abnormally. Today’s episode is all about this rare issue in pregnancy, its treatment, and possible complications.
As you may know, human cells should contain 23 pairs of chromosomes; one set from the mother and the other from the father. In a complete molar pregnancy, an empty egg is fertilized by one or two sperm, so all of the chromosomes present are the father’s. In a partial molar pregnancy, the mother’s chromosomes are present but the father’s are double present, meaning the embryo has 69 instead of 46 chromosomes.
Both categories of molar pregnancies require early intervention and care, followed by close monitoring of HCG levels. In cases of complete molar pregnancies, very rarealy, cancer can also be a concern.
Another possible complication is that molar tissue can continue growing even after a D&C procedure, which in very servere cases can prolonged monitoring, further intevention and very rarely chemotherapy.
Symptoms include bleeding, cramping, severe nausea, thyroid issues, and pain. It's hard to diagnose as a normal pregnancy can have all of these symptoms as well. Diagnosis is done by a blood test and ultrasound.
Did we mention these are rare? 1 in 1,000. Risk factors can include extreme ages (very young as well as what we like to call “adult pregnancies” because we don’t use the word geriatric to describe pregnancies), a history of infertility, a previous diagnosis of molar pregnancy, and possibly a history of terminations. If a person has a molar pregnancy, there’s a slightly elevated chance that they’ll have another one, but the chances are still around 1 percent.
Women are strongly encouraged to avoid getting pregnant while they’re watching their hormone levels return to normal (usually around 6 months to a year for complete molar pregnancies).
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