What is fetal programming? A lifetime health is under the control of in utero health

Eun Jin Kwon, Young Ju Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

188 Scopus citations


The "Barker hypothesis" postulates that a number of organ structures and associated functions undergo programming during embryonic and fetal life, which determines the set point of physiological and metabolic responses that carry into adulthood. Hence, any stimulus or insult at a critical period of embryonic and fetal development can result in developmental adaptations that produce permanent structural, physiological and metabolic changes, thereby predisposing an individual to cardiovascular, metabolic and endocrine disease in adult life. This article will provide evidence linking these diseases to fetal undernutrition and an overview of previous studies in this area as well as current advances in understanding the mechanism and the role of the placenta in fetal programming.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)506-519
Number of pages14
JournalObstetrics and Gynecology Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Korean Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology.


  • Chronic disease
  • Fetal development
  • Fetal nutrition disorders


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