Thursday, 13 March 2008

What is a Molar Pregnancy?

A molar pregnancy or hydatidiform mole comes about from an abnormal proliferation of foetal rather than maternal tissue, says UrBod Nutritionist Melody Mackeown, who specialises in pre-conceptual care, fertility and pregnancy. It is rare, occurring in around 1 in 2000 pregnancies in the UK.

Most signs and symptoms occur between 9 and 13 weeks and are often confused with symptoms of a normal pregnancy and, thus, are often disregarded.

The two most important diagnostic tools to detect this disease are the ultrasound and a markedly raised beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (BHCG) blood test. Treatment includes dilation and evacuation of the uterus and strict follow-up of BHCG blood levels.

A hydatidiform mole is often harmless. However, it can keep growing and, if left untreated, can bury itself into the organs around it, including the uterus (womb) and even spread via the blood to other distant organs including the lungs, liver or brain. It is, once it has reached this stage that it can have serious effects and is referred to as Persistent Gestational Trophoblastic disease.

What causes it?
Molar pregnancy is thought to be caused by a problem with the genetic information of an egg or sperm. Factors that may increase your risk of having a molar pregnancy include:
¨ Age. Risk for complete molar pregnancy steadily increases after the age of 35
¨ History of molar pregnancy, particularly if you've had two or more
¨ Possible ovulatory disorders
¨ History of miscarriage
¨ A diet low in carotene (a form of vitamin A). Women with low carotene or vitamin A intake have a higher rate of complete molar pregnancy
¨ Living in certain geographic locales (especially Southeast Asia and Mexico)

As it may be an ovulatory disorder and a deficiency of vitamin A may contribute the disorder, nutritional therapy (diet and supplement therapy) may help prevent future recurrences of this condition, says UrBod Nutritionist Melody Mackeown.

To find out more, please contact UrBod Nutritionist Melody Mackeown Dip.ION (mBANT). Melody offers pre-conceptual care, fertility and pregnancy care in the city of London, EC2.