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Growing Obesity Increases Perils of Childbearing
New York Times

As Americans have grown fatter over the last generation, inviting more heart disease, diabetes and premature deaths, all that extra weight has also become a burden in the maternity ward, where babies take their first breath of life. About one in five women are obese when they become pregnant, meaning they have a body mass index of at least 30, as would a 5-foot-5 woman weighing 180 pounds, according to researchers with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And medical evidence suggests that obesity might be contributing to record-high rates of Caesarean sections and leading to more birth defects and deaths for mothers and babies.

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