A molar pregnancy can be devastating. Not only do you miscarry, but you also face the distinct possibility of needing chemotherapy to treat it. Falling pregnant and giving birth after suffering a molar pregnancy can be a worrying time.
What is a molar pregnancy?
There are two types. A complete molar pregnancy is where the sperm fertilises and empty egg, thus causing all the chromosomes to come from the male. This then forms a mass of cells, which is detected either through bleeding or at a 12 week scan. With a complete molar pregnancy, the chance of needing chemotherapy is much higher than with a partial molar pregnancy. However, most women need no further treatment once the pregnancy has been removed. A partial molar pregnancy is where two sperm fertilise the same egg meaning the embryo has three sets of chromosomes. The baby forms, but is incompatible with life. Usually, the pregnancy will miscarry naturally, although it is possible to see a heartbeat at the 12 week scan. It is highly unlikely that the baby will survive beyond the 20 week scan.
Positive pregnancy test
Receiving a positive pregnancy test after a molar pregnancy can be terrifying. The cells can grow back at any time, so the worry that the pregnancy test is detecting hCG caused by the molar cells re-growing rather than a new pregnancy is understandable. The risk of a second hydatidiform mole is increased once you have had one. Book in to see your GP or a midwife for a booking in appointment as soon as possible and an early scan can be arranged. Once a heartbeat is seen, a complete molar pregnancy can be ruled out. Unfortunately, a partial molar pregnancy cannot be fully ruled out until much later. Usually, because of your pregnancy history, you will be under consultant-led care until they deem the pregnancy healthy. This can often involve an increased number of scans.
Ensuring that you have written your concerns into your birth plan is vital. Of course, with your medical history being as it is, your anxiety will be heightened more than it otherwise would be. Having professionals who understand your situation, such as Greater New Haven OB/GYN, will be so important to ensuring that your experience is as positive as it can be. For some, the early stages of labour may take place in a hospital ward or room where you were whilst miscarrying. Relaying that information to the hospital and expressing a distinct preference for not being there would be useful to do.
After giving birth
Once you have given birth, you will need to contact the hospital who dealt with your molar pregnancy. Usually, this is Charing Cross Hospital in London or West Park Hospital in Sheffield. They will send you a testing kit to see if the levels of hCG (the pregnancy hormone) have dropped sufficiently. Usually, you will require one testing kit for a urine and blood sample, and a second kit with just a urine sample. Charing Cross hospital have a baby book. Previous patients send in their photographs of their babies and it offers hope to those going through the treatment at that time.
If you have been affected by a molar pregnancy, there is support out there and hope for the future. You are not alone. There are some support groups on Facebook you can join here.
Disclosure: collaborative post