Nutrition during pregnancy can impact on the susceptibility of the offspring to CVD. Postnatal consumption of trans-fatty acids (TFA), associated with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (PHVO), increases the risk of atherosclerosis, whereas evidence for those TFA associated with ruminant-derived dairy products and meat remain equivocal. In this study, we investigate the impact of maternal consumption of dietary PHVO (P) and ruminant milk fat (R) on the development of atherosclerosis in their offspring, using the transgenic apoE*3 Leiden mouse. Dams were fed either chow (C) or one of three high-fat diets: a diet reflecting the SFA content of a ‘Western’ diet (W) or one enriched with either P or R. Diets were fed during either pregnancy alone or pregnancy and lactation. Weaned offspring were then transferred to an atherogenic diet for 12 weeks. Atherosclerosis was assessed as lipid staining in cross-sections of the aorta. There was a significant effect of maternal diet during pregnancy on development of atherosclerosis (P=0·013) in the offspring with those born of mothers fed R or P during pregnancy displaying smaller lesions that those fed C or W. This was not associated with changes in total or lipoprotein cholesterol. Continuing to feed P during lactation increased atherosclerosis compared with that seen in offspring of dams fed P only during pregnancy (P<0·001). No such effect was seen in those from mothers fed R (P=0·596) or W (P=901). We conclude that dietary TFA have differing effects on cardiovascular risk at different stages of the lifecycle.