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Epigenetics and Developmental Epigenetics: Other FAQs

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Basic information for topics, such as “What is it?” and “How many people are affected?” is available in the Condition Information section. In addition, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that are specific to a certain topic are answered in this section.

Do epigenetic changes and developmental epigenetic changes affect pregnancy?

Epigenetic changes can affect pregnancy in several ways.

Epigenetic changes can occur in a person’s germ cells (egg and sperm), affecting their fertility, a woman’s ability to carry a pregnancy to term, or the health and development of an embryo, fetus, or infant. These changes to germ cells can occur anytime during the lifespan—in the germ cells of a developing fetus, or in the germ cells of a man or woman just before conception and pregnancy. Experiments in animals show that changing a woman’s diet just before or during pregnancy can affect the future health of her offspring. The time just before pregnancy is critical for women, especially in terms of diet.1


  1. Beaudet, A. (2003). The role of imprinting defects in Angelman syndrome, autism, and other disorders. Retrieved July 24, 2012, from http://www.nichd.nih.gov/about/meetings/2003/ppb_fetalgrowth/Documents/beaudet_pdf.pdf (PDF - 1.13 MB) [top]

Last Updated Date: 04/15/2014
Last Reviewed Date: 10/28/2013