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A Weighty Issue

Risk factors you need to know

Whether you are over- or underweight is determined by your body mass index, or BMI. Your health care practitioner can help you calculate your BMI, or you can do it yourself with this formula: Multiply your weight in pounds by 703, then divide that answer by your height in inches. Divide that answer again by your height in inches. That number is your BMI. (For instance, a 120-pound, five-foot four-inch woman would have a BMI of 20.6.) The CDC categorizes a BMI of 18.5 or less as underweight, 18.5 to 24.9 as healthy weight, 25 to 29.9 as overweight, and 30 or higher as obese.

With half of all reproductive-age women tipping the scales above their recommended weight, it's not surprising that there's been a corresponding rise in the rates of the infant health conditions associated with heavier moms-to-be. While obese pregnant women are most likely to suffer from these complications, researchers are finding that those who are overweight are at risk as well.

Several recent reports have highlighted the following increased dangers: