Early development, throughout gestation and lactation, represents a period of extreme vulnerability during which susceptibility to later metabolic and cardiovascular injuries increases. Maternal diet is a major determinant of the foetal and newborn developmental environment; maternal undernutrition may result in adaptive responses leading to structural and molecular alterations in various organs and tissues, such as the brain and kidney. New nephron anlages appear in the renal cortex up to postnatal day 4 and the last anlages to be formed develop into functional nephrons by postnatal day 10 in rodents. We used a model of undernutrition in rat dams that were food-restricted during the first half of the lactation period in order to study the long-term effects of maternal diet on renal development, behaviour and neural hydromineral control mechanisms. The study showed that after 40% food restriction in maternal dietary intake, the dipsogenic responses for both water and salt intake were not altered; Fos expression in brain areas investigated involved in hydromineral homeostasis control was always higher in the offspring in response to isoproterenol. This was accompanied by normal plasma osmolality changes and typical renal histology. These results suggest that the mechanisms for the control of hydromineral balance were unaffected in the offspring of these 40% food-restricted mothers. Undernutrition of the pups may not be as drastic as suggested by dams’ restriction.