A molar pregnancy which is medically known as a Hydatidiform mole is an
abnormality of the placenta which is caused when the sperm fertilizes an egg without
a nucleus. A baby is not always present and the cells that line the gestational sac begin
to convert into a growth resembling a cluster of watery grapes, thus signifying an
abnormal placenta. Hydatid literally means a watery cyst. There are two types of
molar pregnancy, complete and partial.
A complete molar pregnancy occurs when a sperm fertilizes an empty egg with no
nucleus and only the placenta is formed. As the placenta grows the pregnancy
hormone HCG is produced making the mother ...view middle of the document...
A molar pregnancy will present the same symptoms as a normal pregnancy during the
first trimester such as fatigue, tender breasts, nausea and vomiting and a missed
period. Many molar pregnancies appear completely normal and nothing would make
the mother suspicious of anything being wrong. Bleeding can start as early as 6 weeks
and as late as 16 weeks. Along with these symptoms one way of recognising molar
• vaginal bleeding during the first trimester
• discharge of tissue that looks like the shape of a cluster of grapes
• enlarged ovaries that are detected by an ultrasound
• a uterus that grows too quickly
• High levels of HCG which is detected though a blood test
• Severe nausea, vomiting and high blood pressure
• signs of hyperthyroidism such as weight loss, increased heart rate, sweating,
heat intolerance, muscle weakness and thyroid enlargement
Paula Sinclair, from Swansea, started bleeding when she was nine weeks pregnant.
When she was taken to hospital for a scan she was told that she had a partial molar
“I was totally shocked. I’d never even heard of such a thing and the thought of
getting cancer from being pregnant was completely frightening. I had an
emergency D&C the same afternoon as my scan. The following day I was
given another scan and an x-ray and was told that all of the pregnancy tissue
had been removed, that I would be fine and wouldn’t need any other
treatment. I was so relieved. I still had to have check-ups with my GP and was
told not to get pregnant within a year. Although I’d lost my baby, which took
along time to recover from, I was glad I had my health”.
Molar pregnancies can be diagnosed in several ways; by pelvic exam which will
reveal a larger or smaller than usual uterus and enlarged ovaries which are caused by
the non-cancerous cysts from abnormally high levels of HCG. Blood is tested for
increased or decreased levels of HCG. If the pregnancy is a complete mole then the
HCG levels would be much higher than a normal pregnancy and if it is a partial mole
then the HCG levels would be much lower than normal. An ultrasound can also detect
a molar pregnancy and the cluster of grape like cysts would be clearly visible. If a
molar pregnancy is not suspected then it may proliferate until the woman has her
routine ultrasound. With the appropriate treatment nearly all molar pregnancies are
If a woman is diagnosed as having a molar pregnancy then it is treated as a medical
emergency. A molar pregnancy can be very frightening as well as worrying, not only
does the woman have the pain of losing a baby but her health can be in jeopardy.
Molar pregnancies are usually quite harmless but if left untreated then they can
become cancerous. If it is not treated then the cysts continue to grow and bury
themselves in surrounding organs which...