Gestational methyl donor deficiency (MDD) leads to growth retardation as well as to cognitive and motor disorders in 21-d-old rat pups. These disorders are related to impaired neurogenesis in the cerebral neurogenic areas. Olfactory bulbs (OB), the main target of neuronal progenitors originating from the subventricular zone, play a critical role during the postnatal period by allowing the pups to identify maternal odour. We hypothesised that growth retardation could result from impaired suckling due to impaired olfactory discrimination through imbalanced apoptosis/neurogenesis in the OB. Since neurosteroidogenesis modulates neurogenesis in OB, in the present study, we investigated whether altered neurosteroidogenesis could explain some these effects. Pups born to dams fed a normal diet (n 24) and a MDD diet (n 27) were subjected to olfactory tests during the lactation and weaning periods (n 24 and 20, respectively). We studied the markers of apoptosis/neurogenesis and the expression levels of the key neurosteroidogenic enzyme aromatase, the cholesterol-transfer protein StAR (steroidogenic acute regulatory protein) and the ERα oestrogen receptor and the content of oestradiol in OB. The 21-d-old MDD female pups displayed lower body weight and impaired olfactory discrimination when compared with the control pups. MDD led to greater homocysteine accumulation and more pronounced apoptosis, along with impaired cell proliferation in the OB of female pups. The expression levels of aromatase, StAR and ERα as well as the content of oestradiol were lower in the OB of the MDD female pups than in those of the control female pups. In conclusion, gestational MDD may alter olfactory discrimination performances by affecting neurogenesis, apoptosis and neurosteroidogenesis in OB in a sex-dependent manner. It may be involved in growth retardation through impaired suckling.