Let's face it, pregnancy is already tough. You crave the most random things at random times (if you haven't lost your appetite entirely), and morning sickness (the world's most offensive misnomer) actually seems like a 9-to-5 job, which means that eating right and exercising can easily go out the window. It's no wonder than pregnancy is a prime time for blood sugar trouble to crop up. In fact, as many as nine percent of pregnant women develop gestational diabetes, according to a new study in the journalPreventing Chronic Disease, which analyzed data from more than a million live births.
So first things first: Having gestational diabetes doesn't necessarily mean you'll have the condition after your due date. However, it can come with some very serious health risks. For one, it can threaten your baby: Women with gestational diabetes face a higher risk of pregnancy and delivery complications, such as infant macrosomia (birthing a larger-than-average baby), low blood sugar in your newborn, or a forced C-section, according to researchers. Your child may also be more likely to develop "impaired glucose tolerance"—a precursor to diabetes—later in life.
It's not just your little one that you have to worry about: Past research has shown that women with gestational diabetes face a significantly higher risk of developing full-blown diabetes up to a decade after giving birth.
Gaining excessive weight during pregnancy—or just being overweight before you conceive—is one of the biggest risk factors for the condition. But even having a family history of diabetes or being past your childbearing prime can predispose you to gestational diabetes, according to the researchers
Their advice: Don't wait until pregnancy to get moving and eat right. Check out more ways to lower your risk of diabetes, here.