Quirks of Fetal Environment Felt Decades Later

Science  21 Jun 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5576, pp. 2167-2169
DOI: 10.1126/science.296.5576.2167

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Even successful pregnancies can leave babies at risk of certain diseases; normal babies who might have encountered adversity in the womb have a higher incidence of certain chronic diseases later on in life. A growing number of researchers are examining variables such as maternal stress, placental development, and embryo implantation that might underlie the perplexing find. But for the most part, the mechanisms by which the fetal experience contributes to adult disease remain enigmatic.