What is hydatidiform mole?
Definition A hydatidiform mole is a relatively rare condition in which tissue around a fertilized egg that normally would have developed into the placenta instead develops as an abnormal cluster of cells. (This is also called a molar pregnancy.) This grapelike mass forms inside of the uterus after fertilization instead of a normal embryo. A hydatidiform mole triggers a positive pregnancy test and in some cases can become cancerous. Description A hydatidiform mole (“hydatid” means “drop of water” and “mole” means “spot”) occurs in about 1 out of every 1,500 (1/1,500) pregnancies in the United States. In some parts of Asia, however, the incidence may be as high as 1 in 200 (1/200). Molar pregnancies are most likely to occur in younger and older women (especially over age 45) than in those between ages 20–40. About 1–2% of the time a woman who has had a molar pregnancy will have a second one. A molar pregnancy occurs when cells of the chorionic villi (tiny projections that attach the plac