An unavoidable consequence of aerobic respiration is the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). These may negatively impact development. Nevertheless, a certain amount of oxidative stress is required to allow for the normal progression of embryonic and fetal growth. Alterations in placental oxidative stress results in altered placental function and ultimately altered fetal growth and/or developmental programming leading to long-term consequences into adulthood. This article reviews the role of redox in fetal development and will focus on how developmental programming is influenced by the fetal and placental redox state as well as discuss potential therapeutic interventions.
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