Resource allocation in utero and health in later life

Placenta. 2012 Nov;33 Suppl 2:e30-4. doi: 10.1016/j.placenta.2012.06.009. Epub 2012 Jul 17.


The way that a fetus obtains and allocates nutritional resources has profound consequences for its life-long health. Under the new developmental model for the origins of chronic disease, the causes to be identified are linked to normal variations in the processes of feto-placental development, that are associated with differences in the supply of nutrients to the baby. These differences programme the function of a few key systems that are linked to chronic disease, including the immune system, anti-oxidant defences, inflammation, and the number and quality of stem cells. There is not a separate cause for each different disease. Which chronic disease originates during development may depend more on timing than on qualitative differences in experience.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Birth Weight
  • Chronic Disease*
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Fetal Development / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange
  • Organ Size
  • Placenta / anatomy & histology
  • Placenta / physiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
  • Prenatal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena* / ethnology
  • Sex Factors