The disposition of ethanol in maternal arterial blood, fetal arterial blood, and amniotic fluid of nine conscious, cannulated pregnant ewes (128 to 137 days' gestation) was determined for 1-hour maternal intravenous infusion of ethanol, 1 gm/kg maternal body weight. The maternal arterial blood and fetal arterial blood ethanol concentration-time curves were virtually superimposable up to 14 hours. The apparent zero-order ethanol elimination rates for maternal arterial blood and fetal arterial blood were similar. There was a time lag in the transfer of ethanol into amniotic fluid relative to fetal arterial blood, and the peak ethanol concentration in amniotic fluid was significantly lower than the concentrations in maternal arterial blood and fetal arterial blood. The apparent zero-order ethanol elimination rate for amniotic fluid was slower, but not significantly so, compared with the ethanol elimination rates for maternal arterial blood and fetal arterial blood. Ethanol-derived acetaldehyde was found in maternal arterial blood, fetal arterial blood, and amniotic fluid at concentrations at least 1000-fold lower than the respective ethanol concentrations. The data indicate that, for administration of this ethanol dosage regimen to the third-trimester pregnant ewe, there is rapid, bidirectional placental transfer of ethanol; elimination of ethanol from the fetus is regulated primarily by maternal elimination of ethanol; the amniotic fluid may serve as a reservoir for ethanol in utero; and there is appreciable acetaldehyde-metabolizing capacity.