Pregnancy is an opportunity to not only support the health of the mother and unborn child at that moment, but it is an opportunity to prevent disease in the next two generations (and possibly further).
For example, rat studies show that what a mother eats while pregnant can affect the risk of breast cancer in her granddaughter. Research also is clear that certain foods and stressors during pregnancy can either be protective, or can be a strong risk factor in asthma, allergies, mental illness, and cardiovascular disease in the new born.
An emerging field known as epigenetics shows us what our grandmothers already new: eating well and taking care of ourselves prevents disease - now we know we may be able to prevent disease in generations to come.
As part of a comprehensive pregnancy plan for my patients, it is important to do the basics (ultrasound, proper blood tests, and preventive strategies). But, I also always recommend we look at the lifestyle, food and stress risk factors that can play a role in preventing or encouraging disease in both the mother herself for years to come, as well as the next generation.