Pregnancy is a moment in life that many couples look forward to, but many doubts can be had about it and the complications that can appear. For this reason, it is highly recommended to ask for help from a specialist doctor, both to carry out previous tests if necessary and to control the progress of the pregnancy and the outcome. Nowadays, more and more couples are looking directly for this advice and help and, in this way, they are well informed of everything they need from the first moment.
One of the primary things that this specialist will do for you is to check your health and inform you of the excellent progress of the pregnancy and any setback or problem that may arise. For example, if there were an ectopic pregnancy or a molar or hydatidiform pregnancy. The latter is less well known than the ectopic, and perhaps it is also less common, but it should be informed about it. For this reason, in this FastlyHealarticle, we are going to explain everything about molar pregnancy: causes, symptoms, and consequences, as well as its exact definition and possible treatment, and we will also show you some photos of ultrasound images.
Table of Contents
What is a molar pregnancy – causes
A hydatidiform or molar pregnancy, also known as a mole, hydatidiform mole, or gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD), is a problem caused by an abnormality in the placenta at the time of fertilization. Recent data from studies report that these pregnancies are rare and that, for example, in the United States, about 1 in 1,500 pregnancies is molar or hydatidiform.
The abnormality in fertilization is a genetic error that causes abnormal tissue to grow in the uterus instead of an embryo gestating. There may be an embryo, but there is rarely one, much less it develops. The growth and growth of this abnormal tissue are much faster than the formation and development of a fetus.
For those who wonder what a molar pregnancy looks like on ultrasound, it can be defined as a large and random collection or grouping of cells, generally similar to a bunch of grapes. In addition, there is more than one type, as we will see in the next section.
Risk factors for a hydatidiform pregnancy
In addition, the same studies that affirm that this anomaly is rare also indicate that the risk factors, which simply being more likely to suffer from this problem, are the following:
- Be less than 20 years old
- Be over 35
- Having had two or more miscarriages
- Having previously sustained a pregnancy of this type
Types of molar pregnancy
There are two types of molar pregnancy or hydatidiform mole, as we mentioned before. This is the classification of these types of pregnancies:
Complete molar pregnancy
The complete ones happen when a sperm fertilizes an egg. A genetic error usually occurs because the egg is “empty,” therefore, an embryo cannot form, but the placenta does grow. The hCG or pregnancy hormone is produced. In the ultrasound, it will be possible to verify that there is no fetus and that only the placenta is seen, and, if it has been a while, a cluster of cells in the form of a collection. It is called complete because, in this case, there is only mola.
Partial molar pregnancy
Sometimes, it is the case that not only the mole develops, but there is also an embryo. This happened when the genetic fault was not that the egg was empty. Therefore, when it is partial, it is because there are abnormal cells of the mole and a developing fetus. The problem continues because this embryo will develop with severe defects and can be seen on ultrasound scans. However, they never fully grow and be born, as the abnormal cell mass grows much faster and prevents the embryo from developing further.
In the photo below, you can see the ultrasound of a molar pregnancy or hydatidiform mole.
Symptoms of a molar pregnancy
Many women ask, “how do I know if I have a molar pregnancy?” or “what are the signs?” so you know when to go to the doctor. These are the main signs and symptoms of a hydatidiform pregnancy :
- Nausea and vomiting (hyperemesis gravidarum) stronger than typical morning sickness
- Intermittent dark bleeding
- Vaginal bleeding or hemorrhage
- Discomfort in the pelvic area
- Notice lack of fetal movement
- Pregnancy hormone or hCG too high
- Abnormal size of the uterus, too large or small for the gestational time
- Growth of the uterus, and visibly of the belly, too fast
- Enlarged ovaries
- Pulmonary embolism
- Symptoms of early preeclampsia
- Cluster-shaped fine tissue cell formation visible on ultrasound
- Expulsion of part of this tissue
- Lack of movement sound and fetal heartbeat on sonogram test.
Thus, many signs can alert the specialists and us that there is a problem in pregnancy and that it may be this in particular. In addition, one of the most common doubts in this regard is whether a molar pregnancy has a heartbeat or not, and, as we have seen, there is no heartbeat.
How to detect a molar pregnancy – diagnosis
In addition to considering the primary symptoms that the woman may feel and that we have just mentioned, doctors can detect and diagnose a pregnancy of this type through tests, as we have discussed in the list of symptoms above.
Specifically, they may do a pelvic exam that shows a uterus size different from expected for the time of gestation, enlarged ovaries, and too high hCG levels.
Likewise, the ultrasound will detect the cluster formation of abnormal cells and the lack of embryo. In addition, in the sonogram test, an ultrasound is used to see images and sounds and thus check, for example, if there are beats and, in this case, it will be confirmed that there are not.
In the image below, we can also see another ultrasound of a molar pregnancy.
Treatment of a molar pregnancy
The treatment of a pregnancy with a mole is usually straightforward since, in the vast majority of cases, the abnormal tissue is expelled naturally and spontaneously. Doctors can perform scaling or curettage, in which any remaining tissue that may remain will be removed, and the uterus will heal. However, other times they prescribe specific medications for this. It is essential to eradicate it as. Otherwise, these cells will grow back.
A high percentage of women (approximately 90%) who have already eliminated the mole do not need further treatment, only rest and the required recovery care. The hormone hCG levels are usually monitored over the next several months.
Generally, the most advisable thing is that a new pregnancy is not attempted until one year after overcoming this gestational problem. Any contraceptive can be used. However, intrauterine devices are discouraged.
Consequences of molar pregnancy
Many women and their partners wonder what the consequences of a hydatidiform pregnancy can be, something completely normal. Thus, the main products are the following:
- The absence of an embryo or its infeasibility.
- Living this type of experience can be traumatic for some, so it is recommended to consult specialists.
- I avoided looking for a new pregnancy for at least a year.
- Have a higher risk of getting cool again than other women who have never had it.
How to avoid a molar pregnancy
There is no way to avoid moles altogether; you can only follow tips to reduce the chances of it happening and, above all, lead a healthy life and go for regular medical check-ups.
For example, one of the reasons this genetic error can occur is that there is a protein-deficient diet apart from genetic predisposition, which can easily lead to ovulation defects. For this reason, it is considered that having a balanced diet that includes enough animal protein and vitamin A will help prevent this problem.
Also, if a woman has already suffered it before, one way to prevent it is to wait at least a year, as already mentioned, but this will only reduce the chances.
This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor if you present any condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Molar pregnancy: causes, symptoms, and consequences – with photos, we recommend that you enter our Pregnancy and baby health category.
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.