Hydatidiform mole also known as Molar pregnancy is a rare complication characterised by the abnormal growth of trophoblasts, the cells that normally develop into the placenta. During pregnancy, an organ develops in the uterus to provide oxygen and nutrients to the growing baby, which is known as placenta. This organ also removes waste products from the growing foetus’ blood. The organ attaches to the wall of the uterus during pregnancy.
Now that we know what the placenta is let us take a look at Molar pregnancy:
There are two types of molar pregnancy that can manifest in an expecting mother. The first one is complete molar pregnancy and the other is a partial molar pregnancy. In a complete molar pregnancy, the placental tissue behaves abnormally and swells up. In this type, the placenta also appears to form fluid-filled cysts. The formation of foetal tissue also does not take place in complete molar pregnancy.
Meanwhile, in partial molar pregnancy, there may be normal placental tissue along with abnormally forming placental tissue. There may also be the formation of a foetus, but the foetus is not able to survive and is usually miscarried early in the pregnancy.
It should be noted that both the types are usually benign cell growth and they do not cause cancer.
Women older than 35 or younger than 20 have a high risk of developing molar pregnancy. If a woman has had one molar pregnancy, they are more likely to have another. A repeat molar pregnancy happens, on average, in one out of every 100 women, according to Mayo Clinic.
Initially, a molar pregnancy may seem like a normal pregnancy but there are specific signs and symptoms that can indicate its presence. According to Mayo Clinic, these are some of the symptoms that can indicate molar pregnancy:
- Dark brown to bright red vaginal bleeding during the first trimester
- Severe nausea and vomiting
- Sometimes the vaginal passage of grape-like cysts
- Pelvic pressure or pain
- Rapid uterine growth where the uterus is too large for the stage of pregnancy
- High blood pressure
- Preeclampsia, a condition that causes high blood pressure and high protein levels in the urine after 20 weeks of pregnancy
- Ovarian cysts
- Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
The cause of molar pregnancy is a mix-up at the genetic, DNA, level. In rare cases when an imperfect or an empty egg happens to get fertilised by a sperm, it ends up with genes from the father, but none from the mother. This can lead to molar pregnancy. Conversely, when an imperfect sperm or more than one sperm fertilise a good egg, it can cause a mole.
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