Summary As activation of the coagulation pathway is a physiological response to injury, the development of disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) is a warning signal to the clinician that the primary pathological disease state is decompensating. In pregnancy, DIC can occur in several settings, which include emergencies such as placental abruption and amniotic fluid embolism as well as complications such as pre-eclampsia. Whilst the acuteness of the event and the proportionality in the coagulant and fibrinolytic responses may vary between these different conditions, a common theme for pregnancy-associated DIC is the pivotal role played by the placenta. Removal of the placenta is the linchpin to treatment in most cases but appropriate blood product support is also key to management. This is necessary because DIC itself can have pathological consequences that translate clinically into a worse prognosis for affected patients. This article will describe how pregnancy-associated DIC can be diagnosed promptly and how treatment should be managed strategically. It also discusses the latest developments in our understanding of haemostatic mechanisms within the placenta and how these may have relevance to new diagnostic approaches as well as novel therapeutic modalities.