In preeclampsia, maternal insulin resistance leads to defective expansion of adipocytes, enhanced adipocyte lipolysis, up-regulation of very low density lipoprotein synthesis, maternal hypertriglyceridaemia and the potential for ectopic fat storage. Our aim was to quantitate and compare the total amount and type of lipid in placenta from pregnancies complicated with preeclampsia and healthy pregnancies. Quantitative lipid analysis of lipid extracts from full thickness placental biopsies was carried out by shotgun lipidomics. Placental lipid profiles from pregnancies complicated by preeclampsia (n = 23) were compared to healthy pregnancies (n = 68), and placenta from intrauterine growth restriction pregnancies (n = 10) were used to control for gross differences in placental pathology. Placentae from pregnancies complicated with preeclampsia had higher neutral lipid content than healthy placentae (40% higher triacyglycerol (P = 0.001) and 33% higher cholesteryl ester (P = 0.004)) that was specific to preeclampsia and independent of maternal gestation.