The phospholipase A2 (PLA2) family is a very diverse group of enzymes, all serving in the cleavage of phospholipids, thereby releasing high amounts of arachidonic acid (AA) and lysophospholipids. AA serves as a substrate for prostaglandin production, which is of special importance in pregnancy for the onset of parturition. Novel research demonstrates that PLA2 action affects the immune response of the mother toward the child and is therefore probably implied in the tolerance of the fetus and prevention of miscarriage. This review presents data on the biochemical and enzymatic properties of PLA2 during gestation with a special emphasis on its role for the placental function and development of the fetus. We also critically discuss the possible pathophysiological significance of PLA2 alterations and its possible functional consequences. These alterations are often associated with pregnancy pathologies such as preeclampsia and villitis or pregnancy complications such as obesity and diabetes in the mother as well as preterm onset of labor.