Maternal obesity has a major impact on pregnancy outcomes. There is growing evidence that maternal obesity has a negative influence on placental development and function, thereby adversely influencing offspring programming and health outcomes. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying these processes are poorly understood. We analysed ten term placenta's whole transcriptomes in obese (n = 5) and normal weight women (n = 5), using the Affymetrix microarray platform. Analyses of expression data were carried out using non-parametric methods. Hierarchical clustering and principal component analysis showed a clear distinction in placental transcriptome between obese and normal weight women. We identified 72 differentially regulated genes, with most being down-regulated in obesity (n = 61). Functional analyses of the targets using DAVID and IPA confirm the dysregulation of previously identified processes and pathways in the placenta from obese women, including inflammation and immune responses, lipid metabolism, cancer pathways, and angiogenesis. In addition, we detected new molecular aspects of obesity-derived effects on the placenta, involving the glucocorticoid receptor signalling pathway and dysregulation of several genes including CCL2, FSTL3, IGFBP1, MMP12, PRG2, PRL, QSOX1, SERPINE2 and TAC3. Our global gene expression profiling approach demonstrates that maternal obesity creates a unique in utero environment that impairs the placental transcriptome.