The obstetric origins of health for a lifetime

Clin Obstet Gynecol. 2013 Sep;56(3):511-9. doi: 10.1097/GRF.0b013e31829cb9ca.


There is a new "developmental" model for the origins of a wide range of chronic diseases. Under this model the causes to be identified are linked to normal variations in fetoplacental development. These variations are thought to lead to variations in the supply of nutrients to the baby that permanently alter gene expression, a process known as "programming." According to the developmental model variations in the processes of development program the function of a few key systems that are linked to disease, including the immune system, antioxidant defenses, inflammatory responses, and the number and quality of stem cells.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Birth Weight
  • Coronary Disease / embryology
  • Coronary Disease / genetics*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / embryology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / genetics*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Female
  • Fetal Development / genetics*
  • Fetal Development / physiology
  • Humans
  • Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / genetics
  • Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology
  • Placental Insufficiency
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / etiology
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / genetics*
  • Prenatal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / genetics
  • Prenatal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology