Studies of Fetal Growth in Animals

  • Clare Steyn
  • Mark Hanson


Fetal growth is influenced by environmental factors such as maternal size and health, nutrient availability, altitude and ambient temperature. Internal factors such as genetics (see Ch. 2) and the growth potential of the different organs and tissues also determine fetal size at various stages of differentiation. Thus there are so-called “critical periods” of development for each organ system. Influences that interfere with development during one of these critical periods in the early development of an organism may lead to a permanent change in the physiology of that system, resulting in what has come to be called “programming”. Thus, diseases that manifest themselves during neonatal and adult life may have been programmed during the in utero life of an individual (see [1] for review).


Growth Restriction Fetal Growth Intrauterine Growth Restriction Late Gestation Placental Weight 
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© Springer-Verlag London 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clare Steyn
  • Mark Hanson

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