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The Risks

A Scary Profile

As the incidence of overweight and obesity in pregnancy has increased, associated health problems have also become more prevalent, threatening the lives of mothers and babies.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005; Page HE05

• More than half of all women age 20 to 39 are overweight (with a BMI

of 25 or higher) or obese (with a BMI of 30 or more).

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• 69 percent of healthy-weight women gain too much weight during their pregnancies. Among overweight women, the figure is 85 percent; among the obese, 79 percent.

• Heightened risks for overweight women in pregnancy include: high blood pressure,

diabetes, heart disease, stroke, preeclampsia and the need for a cesarean

section.

• Heightened risks for babies of obese and overweight women include congenital heart defects and multiple birth defects.

• Long-term health risks to the mother associated with being overweight during pregnancy include high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

• Long-term health risks to babies whose mothers were overweight or obese during pregnancy include obesity, heightened risk of breast cancer in women, and increased risk of certain digestive tract and blood cancers.


© 2005 The Washington Post Company


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