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Polyhydramnios: Causes, Diagnosis and Therapy.

Polyhydramnios is defined as a pathological increase of amniotic fluid volume in pregnancy and is associated with increased perinatal morbidity and mortality. Common causes of polyhydramnios include gestational diabetes, fetal anomalies with disturbed fetal swallowing of amniotic fluid, fetal infections and other, rarer causes. The diagnosis is obtained by ultrasound. The prognosis of polyhydramnios depends on its cause and severity. Typical symptoms of polyhydramnios include maternal dyspnea, preterm labor, premature rupture of membranes (PPROM), abnormal fetal presentation, cord prolapse and postpartum hemorrhage. Due to its common etiology with gestational diabetes, polyhydramnios is often associated with fetal macrosomia. To prevent the above complications, there are two methods of prenatal treatment: amnioreduction and pharmacological treatment with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). However, prenatal administration of NSAIDs to reduce amniotic fluid volumes has not been approved in Germany. In addition to conventional management, experimental therapies which would alter fetal diuresis are being considered.

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