Is There A Heartbeat With A Molar Pregnancy?
Molar pregnancies are characterized by the formation of abnormal placental tissues and the growth of uterus is higher than the normal according to the stage of pregnancy. There may or may not be the formation of the fetus in molar pregnancies. In a complete molar pregnancy, there is no formation of fetus hence there will not be any fetal heartbeat, whereas in a partial molar pregnancy, there will be restricted fetal growth hence there will be absence or weak heartbeat. Most molar pregnancies end in miscarriage in early weeks itself. A normal pregnancy can have a heartbeat after 6 1/2 to 7 weeks.
Pregnancy is one of the best phases of a woman’s life. Parents are happy and excited about the new addition to the family. Most of the pregnancies are healthy giving birth to a normal child. Certain conditions can result in complications in pregnancy causing miscarriage or forcing for termination of pregnancy. One such condition is molar pregnancy also known as hydatidiform mole. It is a rare complication of pregnancy. Molar pregnancies are expected 1 in every 1000 pregnancies. There are a number of factors which contributes to molar pregnancy such as age (women older than 35 years and younger than 20 years can develop molar pregnancy) and women who had molar pregnancy are also more likely to develop another molar pregnancy. The normal trophoblasts cells which are expected to develop into placenta abnormally grow into a tumor.
What Happens During A Molar Pregnancy?
The pregnancy occurs because of abnormally fertilized eggs. As a thumb rule, 23 chromosomes come from father and 23 chromosomes come from the mother results in fertilization and formation of the fetus, but in molar pregnancies, there will be absent or weak fetal mass. Molar pregnancies are of two types
- Complete molar pregnancy
- Incomplete or partial molar pregnancy
In a complete molar pregnancy, the chromosomes from the mother’s side are deactivated and lost and only father’s chromosomes are multiplied. The fertilization product is an empty egg and one or two sets of chromosomes from father. In this type of pregnancy only the fathers genetic material is present. The placental tissue is abnormal and forms fluid-filled cysts. As there are no egg chromosomes, there is no fetal tissue. An ultrasound examination of a complete molar pregnancy is characterized by the absence of fetus and amniotic fluid, thick cystic placenta and ovarian cysts.
In a partial or incomplete molar pregnancy, there 3 sets of chromosomes, 23 chromosomes from mother and 2 sets (2X 23) from father. Two sperms fertilize a single egg. There will be extra genetic material of father. Here both normal and abnormal placental tissues are formed. Fathers and mothers chromosomes combine to form fetus, but the fetus is abnormally formed and cannot survive and eventually gets miscarried early in the pregnancy. An ultrasound examination of a partial molar pregnancy is characterized by the slow-growth fetus, thick cystic placenta and less amount of amniotic fluid.
Molar pregnancies appear as normal pregnancies, but they do show certain symptoms such as dark brown to bright red vaginal bleeding, vaginal passage consisting of cysts like material (grape like cysts), pelvic pain, etc., Immediately seek medical attention in case you find any symptoms of molar pregnancies, your doctor will further examine you for uterus size, high blood pressure, preeclampsia, ovarian cysts, anemia, and hyperthyroidism. Untreated molar pregnancies can result in cancer. The fetus developed with incomplete molar pregnancies will achieve restricted development milestones as compared to the fetus of a healthy gestation. The ultrasound shows lots of abnormal placenta which covers the uterus. There will be developmental delays resulting in the weaker fetus which eventually gets miscarried.
You must seek professional advice before trying to conceive again. Your caretaker will advise ultrasound to monitor and assure you normal pregnancy. Prenatal genetic testing will also be done to diagnose a molar pregnancy.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2015). Practice Bulletin No. 53: Diagnosis and Treatment of Gestational Trophoblastic Disease. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 126(3), e18-e30. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000001088
- Mayo Clinic. (2021). Molar Pregnancy. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/molar-pregnancy/symptoms-causes/syc-20375175
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