Figure 1: Intrauterine stress biology and programming of fetal targets of body composition and metabolic function. Adverse circumstances during pregnancy (physiological as well as psychological stressors, summarized here as “prenatal stress”) have the potential to induce changes in maternal-placental-fetal stress biology (e.g., increases in maternal and fetal cortisol, placental corticotrophin-releasing-hormone (CRH), and inflammatory mediators). The subsequent increase in stress hormones and proinflammatory cytokines in the fetal compartment during sensitive or critical developmental windows can impact the structure and function of the brain and peripheral targets (e.g., adipose tissue, pancreas, and liver) that are related to body composition, energy balance homeostasis, and metabolic function.