For knowing more about risks and factors for molar pregnancy, we first need to understand what a risk factor is and what the risk factors for molar pregnancy are.
A risk factor is something which affects the chances or is the cause of the disease. There can be various risk factors for a particular disease, but risk factors are not something which gives us complete information. It means that having a risk factor around you doesn’t mean that you will necessarily get the disease and those who develops diseases may not be exposed to the tentative risk factors. Like for instance exposure to scorching sun may be a risk factor for skin cancer. Smoking may be the risk factor for lung cancer, mouth cancer etc.
Who Is At Risk For Molar Pregnancy?
According to the researchers, the risk factors for the development of molar pregnancies in females are many; some of the important factors are listed below:
Age. The childbearing age of females is normally from 20 to 35 years. The risk of complete molar pregnancy is highest in the women under the age of 20 or over the age of 35. If the age exceeds 45 or more, there are more chances of complete molar pregnancy.
Previous Molar Pregnancy. Once a woman develops a molar pregnancy the chances of having another one increases. However the chance of having more such pregnancies is 1-2% but the risk increases if there were more than one molar pregnancy.
Previous Miscarriages. Just like previous molar pregnancies, the previous miscarriages also increase the risk of GTD. However the risk is not much.
Blood Group. Females having ‘A’ or ‘AB’ blood group have slightly higher risk of developing GTD than those with ‘B’ or ‘O’ blood group.
Birth Control Pills. Women who have been taking birth control pills from a long time may increase the risk of developing GTD.
Family History. It happens very rarely that more than one female of the same family develops a molar pregnancy.
Molar pregnancy is an abnormal condition of pregnancy in which there is improper fertilization of the ovum. The egg cell or the ovum is fertilized by two sperms and gives rise to this abnormal condition or molar pregnancy. It is also known as the gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD). There are various factors which are responsible for molar pregnancy and mostly the risk of molar pregnancy is highest in the women over the age of 35 or under the age of 20.
We need to understand what a complete molar pregnancy is, and what a partial molar pregnancy is. In a complete molar pregnancy, there is an abnormal and swollen placental tissue which appears to be cystic and appears to be filled with fluid. In this case the egg is fertilized by two sperms and the entire genetic material comes from both the sperms i.e. from father. In such cases the mother’s genetic material is destroyed, lost or deactivated and all the chromosomes of sperm get duplicated. The fetal tissue does not form at all.
In case of incomplete or partial molar pregnancy chromosomes from mother remain intact but two sets of chromosomes come from the father. This way there are three sets of chromosomes and the number of chromosomes becomes 69 instead of 46. This also happens when two sperms fertilize the same egg. Both normal placental tissue and the abnormal placental tissue remain in partial molar pregnancy. The fetus may also be formed but do not live for very long, there is a miscarriage in the early days.
If the age exceeds 45 or more there are more chances of complete molar pregnancy. For the development of Choriocarcinoma, the risk is low if the age of female is 25 or less but it goes on increasing as the age increases until menopause occurs. Age is not much responsible for partial molar pregnancy.
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