Hydatidiform mole (often referred to as molar pregnancy) is the most common disorder in a category of pathologies known as Gestational Trophoblastic Diseases that are associated with abnormal fertilization in pregnancy. Current practices in screening and monitoring during early pregnancy allow for better identification of hydatidiform mole, sometimes prior to the onset of significant symptoms.
Once a diagnosis is established, a thorough physical examination and laboratory testing are necessary. Initial treatment includes uterine evacuation. Serial monitoring of serum human chorionic gonadotropin levels is warranted until levels become nondetectable and continues for another 6 months. Reliable contraception is necessary until it has been determined that no trophoblastic tissue persists.
Pregnancy is usually a joyful time, with maternal attachment to the developing fetus beginning early in the pregnancy. The woman who experiences hydatiform mole, however, must face the inability to maintain this pregnancy, the possible health consequences of the mole, and then be allowed the time to grieve. Nurses can be the first-line in providing compassionate, empathetic care for women in these circumstances.
This mysterious diagnoses can be the precursor of serious illness. How much do you know about it?
Mary DiGiulio is an Assistant Professor at the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey.
Susan Wiedaseck is an Assistant Professor at the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey. She can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ruth Monchek is an Associate Professor at the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey.
The authors note no conflict of interest.