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My heart was running. My head was spinning when I heard that from my gynae. I was wondering why this was happening?!?!?!
My gynae continued to tell us his finding. “I don’t think you are pregnant. But you are having a molar pregnancy.”
My world shattered as he explained. I was crying softly as I didn’t want to frighten Yvette. I was immediately sent for blood test after I left his clinic.
During the past one week, I was over-joy with the fact I was pregnant and now after the scan he told me I was not pregnant. I couldn’t believe my ears but still I have to accept the fact I was not! I can’t stop crying in a way but I have to. I didn’t want Yvette to “worry” for me.
Somehow I questioned myself: “What had I done wrong?”
What is a molar pregnancy?
In a molar pregnancy, the early placenta develops into an abnormal mass of cysts (called a hydatidiform mole) that resembles a bunch of white grapes. The embryo either does not form at all or is malformed and cannot survive. About 1 in 1,500 pregnancies is molar (4).
There are two types of molar pregnancy:
- Complete mole: There is no embryo and no normal placental tissue.
- Partial mole: There is an abnormal embryo, and there may be some normal placental tissue. With a partial mole, the embryo begins to develop.
Both types of molar pregnancy are caused by an abnormal fertilized egg. In a complete mole, all of the fertilized egg’s chromosomes (tiny thread-like structures in cells that carry genes) come from the father (4, 5). Normally, half come from the father and half from the mother. In a complete mole, shortly after fertilization, the chromosomes from the mother’s egg are lost or inactivated, and those from the father are duplicated.
In most cases of partial mole, the mother’s 23 chromosomes remain, but there are two sets of chromosomes from the father (so the embryo has 69 chromosomes instead of the normal 46). This can happen when the chromosomes from the father are duplicated or if two sperm fertilize an egg (4, 5).
Molar pregnancy poses a threat to the pregnant woman because it can occasionally result in a rare pregnancy-related form of cancer called Choriocarcinoma.
What are the symptoms of a molar pregnancy?
A molar pregnancy may start off like a normal pregnancy. Around the tenth week, abnormal vaginal bleeding, which often is dark brown in color, usually occurs. Other common symptoms include:
- Severe nausea and vomiting
- Rapid uterine growth (due to the increasing number of cysts)
- High blood pressure
- Cysts on the ovaries
How is a molar pregnancy diagnosed?
Providers use an ultrasound to diagnose a molar pregnancy. The provider also measures the levels of hCG, which often are higher than normal with a molar pregnancy.
How is a molar pregnancy treated?
A molar pregnancy is a frightening experience. Not only does the woman lose a pregnancy, she learns that she has a slight risk of developing cancer. To protect the woman, all molar tissue must be removed from the uterus. This usually is done with a D&C. Occasionally, when the mole is extensive and the woman has decided against future pregnancies, a woman may have a hysterectomy.
After mole removal, the provider again measures the level of hCG. If it has dropped to zero, the woman generally needs no additional treatment. However, the provider continues to monitor hCG levels for 6 months to 1 year to be sure there is no remaining molar tissue (4). A woman who has had a molar pregnancy should not become pregnant again for 6 months to 1 year, because a pregnancy would make it difficult to monitor hCG levels (4).
How often do moles become cancerous?
After the uterus is emptied, about 20 percent of complete moles and less than 5 percent of partial moles persist. The remaining abnormal tissue may continue to grow (4). This is called persistent gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD).
Treatment with one or more cancer drugs cures persistent GTD nearly 100 percent of the time (4). Rarely, a cancerous form of GTD, called choriocarcinoma, develops and spreads to other organs. Use of multiple cancer drugs usually is successful at treating this cancer.
What is the outlook for future pregnancies after a molar pregnancy?
If a woman has a molar pregnancy, her outlook for a future pregnancy is good. The risk that a mole will develop in a future pregnancy is only 1 to 2 percent (4, 5).
How do couples cope with the loss of a pregnancy?
Molar pregnancies is medical emergencies. As the pregnant woman undergoes diagnosis and treatment, she may be concerned mainly about her own health. Afterwards, the woman and her partner may feel relief that she has come through the ordeal.
Finally, they may feel grief over the loss of the pregnancy. As with any couple who has lost a pregnancy, they need time to grieve and to recover emotionally. This is a difficult time, and it may be helpful for the couple to speak with a counselor who is experienced in dealing with pregnancy loss.