What Is A Molar Pregnancy?

A molar pregnancy can be a difficult experience for any woman who experiences one. It’s a rare pregnancy complication which means there has been a complication with the fertilised egg which means both the baby and placenta are unable to develop as they should after conception.  If you’ve stumbled upon this blog post, chances are you’re curious about what a molar pregnancy is or why they happen. In this article, we will look at what a molar pregnancy is, how they happen and where to seek support. 

A molar pregnancy, also known as a gestational trophoblastic disease, is a rare condition that occurs during early pregnancy. It involves the abnormal growth of cells in the uterus, specifically in the tissue that would normally develop into the placenta. These abnormal cells can form a mass or tumour, which can be either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

The types of molar pregnancy

There are two different types of molar pregnancies that can occur. Sadly, neither of them can survive and lead to a full-term pregnancy.

Complete molar pregnancy

A complete molar pregnancy means there is no fetal development. Instead, a sperm fertilises an empty egg, resulting in the growth of abnormal cells only. This type of molar pregnancy has no fetal tissue, and often occurs due to a genetic abnormality.

Partial molar pregnancy

In a partial molar pregnancy, both abnormal cells and some fetal tissue develop. This can occur when two sperm fertilise a normal egg, resulting in an excessive number of chromosomes. The presence of fetal tissue in this type of pregnancy makes it similar to a miscarriage.

Signs and symptoms

Molar pregnancies often initially resemble normal pregnancies. However, there are a few key signs and symptoms that you should be aware of:

  • Vaginal bleeding (often dark brown or bright red)
  • Severe nausea and vomiting (hyperemesis gravidarum)
  • Rapid enlargement of the uterus
  • High blood pressure and preeclampsia-like symptoms
  • Absence of fetal movement or heartbeat

Many women find out their pregnancy is molar after their first ultrasound scan between 8-14 weeks. For others, the news may come after suffering a miscarriage. If your doctor suspects a problem they will arrange for blood tests to check your hCG levels and refer you to an early pregnancy assessment unit for an ultrasound scan.

Seeking support

If you suspect or have been diagnosed with a molar pregnancy, it’s crucial to seek appropriate medical care and emotional support. Here are some avenues to consider if you’re based in the UK:

Contact your GP or midwife immediately if you experience any symptoms or concerns. They will guide you through the necessary tests, including ultrasound scans and blood tests, to confirm the diagnosis.

Join Support Groups: Connecting with others who have been through the same experience can provide valuable emotional support. Organisations such as the Molar Pregnancy Support Group (MPSG) in the UK offer online communities, forums, and resources to help you connect with others who understand what you’re going through.

Get Counselling: Suffering any pregnancy loss can be a traumatic experience. Seeking professional counselling can help you through the process. Therapists, psychologists, or counsellors experienced in pregnancy loss can provide a safe space for you to express your feelings and develop coping strategies.


If you lose a pregnancy for this or any other reason, you are certainly not alone. Losing a pregnancy at any stage can be traumatic. We get it, and it’s so so hard. Don’t forget if you need someone to talk to, you can reach out to us in the Hoopsy community, where members and experts are always on hand to offer advice or a sympathetic ear if you just need a chat.

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