This issue of Zero to Three focuses on the fascinating and burgeoning study of fetal programming.
This issue of Zero to Three focuses on the fascinating and burgeoning study of fetal programming. Fetal programming is the hypothesis that certain environmental factors, such as maternal stress, can alter the development of the embryo and fetus during the prenatal period with lasting effects on later health and development across the lifespan. The idea of fetal programming led to the developmental origins of health and disease field of study that has linked biological experiences in the womb with vulnerability for chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease later in life. The articles in this issue explore the influence of factors such as maternal stress and anxiety, social and cultural stressors, poverty, and nutrition on pre- and postnatal health and development.