A commercial pig spends nearly half of its life in utero and its nutrition during this time can influence birth weight and postnatal growth. We hypothesised that postnatal growth is increased in pigs raised by sows with a high backfat depth and high level of energy intake during gestation compared with sows with a low backfat depth and low level of energy intake during gestation. This was tested in a 2×3 factorial design experiment with 2 factors for gilt backfat depth (Thin and Fat) and 3 factors for gestation feed allowance (Restricted, Control and High). Between d 25 and d 90 of gestation, Thin gilts (n=68; 12±0.6 mm P2 backfat) and Fat gilts (n=72; 19±0.6 mm P2 backfat) were randomly allocated, as individuals, to a gestation diet (6.19 g/kg lysine, 13.0 MJ DE/kg) at the following feed allowances: 1.8 kg/day (Restricted); 2.5 kg/day (Control) and 3.5 kg/day (High). For the remainder of gestation and during lactation all gilts were treated similarly. At weaning (day 28), 155 piglets were sacrificed and 272 were individually housed and followed through to slaughter (day 158). At day 80 of gestation, fasted Thin Restricted gilts had lower serum IGF-1 concentrations than Thin High or Thin Control fed gilts (P<0.001). Pigs born from Fat gilts had greater backfat depths (P<0.05), a lower lean meat yield (P<0.05) and were heavier (P<0.05) at slaughter than pigs born from Thin gilts. Gilt gestation feed allowance had only transitory effects on average daily gain and feed conversion efficiency and had no effect on pig weight at slaughter (P>0.05) or lean meat yield (P>0.05). In conclusion, gilts with a backfat depth of ~19 mm at insemination produced pigs that were heavier and fatter at ~158 days of age than those born from gilts with ~12 mm backfat depth at insemination. Maternal body condition during gestation had a more predominant influence on growth parameters of the offspring, such as weight at slaughter and backfat depth, than did feed level during gestation.