A hydatidiform mole, which is also called a "molar pregnancy," is a gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD) that starts in the placenta and can spread to other parts of the body. The tumor starts in fetal tissue instead of the tissue from the mother. Hydatidiform moles (HM) are usually thought of as the noninvasive form of gestational trophoblastic disease. They can be either complete or partial.
A molar pregnancy is found in about 1 out of every 1,000 pregnancies. Molar pregnancies have been linked to a number of risk factors. Women older than 35 or younger than 20 are more likely to have a molar pregnancy. A woman who has had a molar pregnancy is also more likely to have another one.
At first, a molar pregnancy may look like a normal pregnancy, but most molar pregnancies have certain signs and symptoms, such as:
Other signs of a molar pregnancy include:
Serum hCG levels are usually much higher in people with hydatidiform moles than in people at the same stage of pregnancy who are having a normal pregnancy or an ectopic pregnancy. Serum hCG levels in complete moles are usually over 100,000, while levels in partial moles may be in the normal range for the gestational age.
Some other tests done are:
Molar pregnancies cannot be continued as normal viable pregnancies. To avoid problems, the abnormal placental tissue needs to be taken out. Most treatments include at least one of the following steps:
If a woman has had a molar pregnancy, doctor consultation or prenatal care is a must before trying to conceive again. It is advised to wait between six months and a year before trying to get pregnant. The chance of having another one is low, but it is higher than for women who have never had a molar pregnancy before.
A doctor may perform early ultrasounds in future pregnancies to check your status and reassure you. It may be recommended to do prenatal genetic testing to detect a molar pregnancy.
Ghassemzadeh S, Farci F, Kang M. Hydatidiform Mole. [Updated 2022 May 23]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459155/
Mayo Clinic (2022). Molar Pregnancy. Retrieved November 11, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/molar-pregnancy/symptoms-causes/syc-20375175