Abnormal pregnancies are a surprisingly common occurrence and can happen to any woman. Molar pregnancy is one of such abnormalities and can cause extreme side effects and damages to the body. When a woman has a molar pregnancy a non-viable egg is fertilized. These eggs are empty and an abnormal placenta begins to grow. There are two types of molar pregnancy, one is where two sperm fertilize an egg and the egg is normal. This will result in a malformed fetus and it will likely die early on in the pregnancy. The “moles” may turn into a type of cancer later on.
During these types of pregnancies the placenta sac may produce abnormal sacs, known as vesicles. In shape and size they resemble grapes and are visible inside the body without any special tools. In the first type of this condition, the placenta doesn’t form any fetus at all. The sacs are there but no infant is inside. This is most easily compared to a fake pregnancy. The other type known as a partial mole will develop into a lifeless fetus that is disfigured and impossible to give live birth to.
Molar pregnancies are diagnosed by examinations, ultrasounds, and even blood testing.
Signs and Symptoms of Molar Pregnancy
The signs and symptoms of a molar pregnancy are not easy to notice. At first it just appears that the woman is pregnant and that everything is normal in terms of pregnancy. If she doesn’t get an ultrasound right away then she will likely not notice until bleeding occurs. The bleeding usually starts around the 4th or 5th pregnancy. The woman may think she is giving premature birth or having a miscarriage. High blood pressure and protein in the urine are two important symptoms that a female will not notice but a doctor will.
Hyperthyroidism, high hCG levels, and an expanding uterus are the major symptoms to watch for. Usually a female or doctor can feel the lower abdomen and note expanding or swollen reproductive organs. These may cause cramping and pain in the area. Basically any symptom that can be had with a normal pregnancy will be had with a molar pregnancy. The symptoms and signs may be more severe and painful.
Generally these pregnancies suddenly end and some women may never know that they have had a molar pregnancy.
Who Is At Risk?
The women that are at risk for this condition are ones in their early teens. Women over the age of 40 are also at a high risk for this condition. Women that live in Asia or Mexico seem to have higher rates of molar pregnancies than those in the United States. Asians are easily the most likely to have this type of abnormal pregnancies.
Those who have a family history of the molar pregnancies may also pass it on genetically when a successful pregnancy results in a daughter for the mother. Of course it can also occur randomly for a woman in any location in the world due to several complications. The best option for most women is to ensure that their molar pregnancies are treated as soon as possible to help prevent complications in the future. Those who do not treat the molar pregnancies may result in several negative side effects if they do not pass the mass of tissues that results during a molar pregnancy.
Treatment for molar pregnancy is different because it requires the initial removal of the mole, as well as treatment to prevent pregnancy for at least one year. In many cases the mole is sucked from the uterus. This is not the same as an abortion and should not be seen as such. Another option is a complete hysterectomy. The latter is only a good idea if the woman prefers not to have children in the future. This removal of the uterus and other feminine sex organs can cause pain and discomfort for a very long period of time. Complications with this can even result in extremely heavy bleeding if any of the tissues are damaged.
After the proper procedure has been done on the uterus to remove the mole, the woman must remain on birth control or use an intrauterine device to control births. Even after stopping birth control it can take some time to finally conceive again, which is great for those that want a healthy and safe pregnancy. Women that have a molar pregnancy are more likely to have this type of pregnancy again in the future, thus increasing the risks of abnormal births. The best option is to closely monitor the pregnancies and follow up with a gynecologist often to ensure that it is not a molar pregnancy in the future.
In rare cases an abnormal molar pregnancy can turn into a cancerous growth. This type of cancer is very easy to treat and has a positive and high percentage rate for curing it. When a Gestational Throphoblastic Disease occurs in the females body, it simply means the tissue is more aggressive and continues to grow into a tumor like lump. A percentage between 15 and 30% will require additional treatment after a molar pregnancy, and GTD is the main complication that occurs.
Metastatic GTD is the one that carries a high amount of risk. If the cancer is Metastatic treatment may not be as effective or helpful. These cancerous cells spread rapidly and must be controlled before they reach the brain tissue. It is much more difficult to treat cancers that have spread to the brain, especially with Metastatic GTD. The outlook for women with this condition is still considerably high. Women that have MGTD are more likely to become infertile. Those that do not develop a serious form of the cancer are still able to reproduce.
Mental Health After Molar Pregnancies
Women that suffer with an abnormal pregnancy may fall into depression. In addition to the jumbled hormones, stress and self doubt may make their mental state worse. Even though a real baby is not involved in these types of pregnancies, the woman may feel as if it is her fault and that her body is messed up because of her failed pregnancy. Some women feel inadequate and like a failure. These feelings are normal but if they last for more than 2 weeks mental health treatment may be necessary.
Usually these symptoms refer to “post partum depression.” This is when a woman becomes extremely depressed after giving birth or being pregnant. It may not make sense to some people, but the unsuccessful pregnancy will often be a trigger for depression and several other complications that women will have.
After seeking treatment and getting the mole removed, most women decide to abstain from trying to get pregnant for some time. After the treatment they should wait at least 1 year, preferably as long as possible, before trying again. The longer the time between pregnancies, the higher the chances are for a successful pregnancy. The older the female is when attempting pregnancy the greater risks she has for having another mole condition.
A doctor that specializes in abnormal pregnancy can provide a post-treatment plan to help the patient heal and recover fully.