Nephrogenesis in the rat starts mid-gestation and continues into lactation. Maternal low protein (LP) intake leads to renal injury in rats and associates with mild renal injury in humans. We hypothesized that LP during early nephrogenesis or throughout gestation would induce more renal injury in rat offspring than when LP was only present before nephrogenesis. Pregnant rats were fed LP diet (9% casein) at early gestation (LPE, day 0–7), mid (LPM, day 8–14), late (LPL, day 15–22) or throughout gestation (LPA, day 0–22) and compared to controls on 18% casein diet. Offspring were studied at 18 months. Renal injury was assessed by 24 h proteinuria, plasma urea, antioxidant enzyme activities, and apoptosis (Bax/Bcl2). Proteinuria was higher in LPM males and LPE and LPM females. In LPM males glutathione peroxidase activity was lower, while in LPE males catalase activity was higher. Antioxidants were not much affected in females. Bax expression was higher in LPM males and females, while Bcl2 expression was higher in LPA females. Thus even before nephrogenesis (day 0–7), LP impacted on renal integrity in adult life, while LP during a later phase (day 15–22) or throughout gestation had less effect. In summary, for aging rat kidney LP poses the greatest threat when restricted to early nephrogenesis.