Twenty women were given a bolus induction of propofol 2.0 mg.kg-1 for elective caesarean section. Induction to delivery times ranged from five to fourteen minutes. At delivery the maternal venous (MV) concentrations of propofol ranged from 0.53 to 1.48 micrograms.ml-1 umbilical vein (UV) 0.39 to 1.4 micrograms.ml-1 and umbilical artery (UA) 0.34 to 0.68 micrograms.ml-1 MV propofol concentrations were always higher than corresponding UV concentrations. The mean (95% confidence interval) UV/MV ratio was 0.65 (0.56-0.74) and the mean UA/UV ratio was 1.07 (0.99-1.15). Neither ratio was shown to be correlated with induction to delivery time. Distribution of propofol is rapid across the placenta and in the fetus. Apgar scores were higher with shorter incision to delivery times but were not correlated to umbilical levels of propofol.