The foundation for adult health is laid in utero and requires a healthy placenta. A common manifestation of abnormal placental development is impaired fetal growth. While placental pathology is the final common denominator in many cases of fetal growth restriction, a variety of discreet lesions have been described involving both the maternal and fetal circulations at their confluence in the placenta. Detailed examination of the placenta provides a means of elucidating the pathophysiology of poor fetal growth. This is an essential step in developing effective strategies for the prediction, prevention, and possible treatment of the growth restricted fetus.