The maternal decidua expresses the genes of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS). Human decidua was collected at term either before labor (i.e. cesarean delivery) or after spontaneous labor. The mRNA for prorenin (REN), prorenin receptor (ATP6AP2), angiotensinogen (AGT), angiotensinconverting enzymes 1 and 2 (ACE1 and ACE2), angiotensin II type 1 receptor (AGTR1), and angiotensin 1-7 receptor (MAS1) were measured by quantitative real-time RT-PCR. Decidual explants were cultured in duplicate for 24 and 48 h, and all RAS mRNA, and the secretion of prorenin, angiotensin II, and angiotensin 1-7 was measured using quantitative real-time RT-PCR, ELISA, and radioimmunoassay, respectively. In the decidua collected before labor, REN mRNA levels were higher if the fetus was female. In addition, REN, ATP6AP2, AGT, and MAS1 mRNA abundance was greater in decidual explants collected from women carrying a female fetus, as was prorenin protein. After 24 h, ACE1 mRNA was higher in the decidual explants from women with a male fetus, whereas after 48 h, both ACE1 and ACE2 mRNA was higher in decidual explants from women with a female fetus. Angiotensin II was present in all explants, but angiotensin 1-7 levels often registered below the lower limits of sensitivity for the assay. After labor, decidua, when compared with nonlaboring decidua, demonstrated lower REN expression when the fetus was female. Therefore, the maternal decidual RAS is regulated in a sex-specific manner, suggesting that it may function differently when the fetus is male than when it is female.