Oxidative stress has been clearly linked to type 2 diabetes mellitus, however, limited data are available on the involvement of oxidative stress in gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), a disease of similar pathophysiology. The aim of this study was to investigate the status of placental oxidative stress in healthy pregnant women and women with GDM. The hypothesis to be tested was that tissue markers of oxidative stress are significantly increased in GDM compared to normal placental tissues. Markers of oxidative stress measured were the release of 8-isoprostane (8-epi-prostaglandin F2α) from human term placental explants (n=11), the activity of the antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase (n=10), and protein carbonyl content (n=12). Placental release of 8-isoprostane was 2-fold greater from women with GDM (P<0.001) compared to healthy pregnant women. Superoxide dismutase activity and protein carbonyl content were elevated in placentae obtained from women with GDM (P<0.04 and P<0.004 respectively), whilst there was no significant difference in the activity of glutathione peroxidase. These data demonstrate the presence of oxidative stress in the placenta from women with GDM, in addition to the induction of a key antioxidant, collectively indicating a state of existing oxidative stress in this condition.