Objective To investigate the existing evidence for a link between maternal cardiac function, abnormal uteroplacental flow and poor perinatal outcome in women with and without known cardiac disease. Methods PubMed and EMBASE databases were searched systematically for studies relating cardiac functional parameters and uteroplacental Doppler flow with pregnancy outcome in women with pre-existing congenital cardiac disease and women without known cardiac disease. Only studies based on echocardiography were included. Results From 1732 citations, 10 articles were included. In women with known congenital heart disease, a relationship was found between abnormal uteroplacental Doppler flow patterns and cardiac function before and during pregnancy. Conversely, women without a history of congenital heart disease, but with abnormal uterine artery resistance and pregnancy complications, more often showed global left ventricular diastolic dysfunction (33%; P = 0.0001), impaired myocardial relaxation (72%; P < 0.0001) and left ventricular systolic dysfunction (17%; P = 0.006), even up to 1 year postpartum. Conclusion There is increasing evidence for an association between pre-existing subclinical cardiac dysfunction, poor placentation (reflected by uteroplacental Doppler flow abnormalities) and poor pregnancy outcome. It may be postulated that pre-existing suboptimal cardiac performance, as a result of either congenital heart disease or a subclinical latent condition, is one of the common denominators of poor placentation, leading to poor pregnancy outcome.