The human brain grows rapidly in a period known as the ‘brain growth spurt’ between the third trimester of pregnancy and 2 years of age. This rapid growth places major demands on nutrient supply which must be met through either maternal or infant diet. In keeping with its critical functions in later life, the developing brain may be spared relative to other organs under conditions of malnutrition. Nevertheless, inadequate or unbalanced nutrition during critical development phases can adversely affect brain structure, neuronal development, and function in later life. Long term outcomes can be influenced by departure from either normal growth in utero or normal gestation period, which may reflect short-comings in maternal diet during pregnancy. With increasing rates of diabetes and obesity during pregnancy, more research is required on the possible consequences of over-nutrition for the developing brain.