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One In Four Washington Women Are Obese

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

In Washington state in 2007, 23.9 percent of women ages 18-44 were obese, according to the March of Dimes Perinatal Data Center. Women who are overweight or obese have higher odds of having complications during pregnancy including hypertension (high blood pressure), preeclampsia and eclampsia or gestational diabetes. Each of these conditions may require medication and treatment and put the health of not only mothers, but their babies at risk.

The increased risks to babies include being obese in childhood, being born prematurely or having certain birth defects, including neural tube defects such as spina bifida.

March of Dimes understands that managing weight is never easy and the many changes that come along with pregnancy can make it even tougher. That's why March of Dimes makes nutrition tips and exercise information convenient for moms-to-be to get and use.

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The best way to reduce risks is to achieve a healthy weight before becoming pregnant. During pregnancy, women who are in a normal weight range need only 300 additional calories daily to support a baby's growth. Women who are obese may need less and women who are underweight or adolescents will need more. Those calories can be supplied by a simple snack such as one of these:

* A couple of whole wheat crackers with peanut butter, a small glass of low fat milk and a small apple.

* Small yogurt with a handful of granola and a small orange.

* One cheese stick, a handful of walnuts, a few strawberries and a stick of celery with peanut butter.