Several fibrinolytic parameters were determined in plasma and amniotic fluid from normotensive pregnancies complicated by intrauterine fetal growth retardation (IUGR) and severe preeclamptic (PE) patients with IUGR and compared with data from normal pregnancies. A significant decrease in plasminogen activator type 2 (PAI-2) and urokinase levels in plasma and amniotic fluid was observed in IUGR groups in comparison with normal pregnancy. No significant differences were observed between the control and IUGR groups in relation to the other fibrinolytic parameters, except for plasma PAI type 1 and tissue-type plasminogen activator levels, which were significantly increased in the PE group. A significant positive correlation was observed between birth weight and PAI-2 levels in both plasma and amniotic fluid, but the plasma PAI-2 levels showed a higher correlation. In conclusion, these results suggest that the PAI-2 level measured in plasma is a more adequate marker of placental function than the PAI-2 level measured in amniotic fluid.