Molar pregnancy—also called gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD)—is a pregnancy complication characterized by abnormal growth of trophoblasts, the cells which usually develop into the placenta. This type of pregnancy complication is rare, occurring in 1 out of every 1,000-1,500 pregnancies. A molar pregnancy is not a viable pregnancy. When there is what’s called a “complete molar pregnancy,” a mass of abnormal cells grows in the uterus, and there is no fetus. In the case of a “partial molar pregnancy,” an abnormal fetus starts to develop, but cannot survive. Keep reading to find out more about molar pregnancies.
A molar pregnancy may mimic that of a healthy pregnancy in the symptoms a woman experiences. She may experience nausea, bloating, and vaginal bleeding with a molar pregnancy— which aren’t unusual symptoms in a healthy pregnancy. A molar pregnancy is usually spotted in a routine ultrasound scan between weeks 8-14. Alternatively, if a woman has had a miscarriage, it may be evidence that she had a molar pregnancy in tests and scans following the miscarriage. Other signs and symptoms may include:
- Rapid uterine growth (the uterus is too large for the stage of pregnancy)
- High blood pressure
- Ovarian cysts
- Overactive thyroid