Chapter 8: Prenatal checkups
Molar pregnancy (tumor)
Sometimes a woman gets pregnant, but a tumor grows instead of a baby.
This is called a molar pregnancy.
Other signs of a molar pregnancy are:
no heartbeat can be heard, no baby can be felt,
the mother has bad nausea all through
pregnancy, and the mother has spotting of blood
and tissue (sometimes shaped like grapes).
If you see signs of a molar pregnancy, get
medical help as soon as possible. The tumor can
become cancer and kill the woman — sometimes
very fast. A doctor can remove the tumor to save
The womb is growing too slowly
Slow growth can be a sign of one of these problems:
• The mother may have high blood pressure (see pages 122
to 124). High blood pressure can keep the baby from
getting the nutrition it needs to grow well. If you do
not have equipment to check her blood pressure, get
• The mother may have a poor diet. Find out what kind
of food the mother has been eating. If she is too poor
to get enough good food, try to find some way to
help her and her baby. Healthy mothers and
children make the whole community stronger.
• The mother may have too little water in the
womb. Sometimes there is less water than usual,
and everything is still OK. At other times, too
little water can mean the baby is not normal or
will have problems during the labor. If you
think the mother has too little water, get medical advice.
• The mother may be drinking alcohol, smoking, or using drugs. These can
cause a baby to be small.
• The baby may be dead. Dead babies do not grow, so the womb stops getting
bigger. If the mother is 5 months pregnant or more, ask if she has felt the
baby move recently. If the baby has not moved for 2 days, something may be
If the mother is more than 7 months pregnant, or if you heard the baby’s
heartbeat at an earlier visit, listen for the heartbeat again. If you cannot find
it, get medical help. Some medical centers may have equipment to see if the
baby is still alive.
A Book for Midwives (2010)