INTRODUCTION: Outdoor heat increases the risk of preterm birth and stillbirth, but the association with placental abruption has not been studied. Placental abruption is a medical emergency associated with major morbidity and mortality in pregnancy. We determined the relationship between ambient temperature and risk of placental abruption in warm seasons. MATERIAL AND METHODS: We performed a case-crossover analysis of 17,172 women whose pregnancies were complicated by placental abruption in Quebec, Canada from May to October 1989-2012. The main exposure measure was the maximum temperature reached during the week before abruption. We computed odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for the association of temperature with placental abruption, adjusted for humidity and public holidays. We assessed whether associations were stronger preterm or at term, or varied with maternal age, parity, comorbidity and socioeconomic status. RESULTS: Compared with 15 degrees C, a maximum weekly temperature of 30 degrees C was associated with 1.07 times the odds of abruption (95% CI 0.99-1.16). When the timing of abruption was examined, the associations were significantly stronger at term (OR 1.12, 95% CI 1.02-1.24) than preterm (OR 0.96, 95% CI 0.83-1.10). Relationships were more prominent at term for women who were younger than 35years old, nulliparous or socioeconomically disadvantaged, but did not vary with comorbidity. Associations were stronger within 1 and 5days of abruption. Temperature was not associated with preterm abruption regardless of maternal characteristics. CONCLUSIONS: Elevated temperatures in warm seasons may increase the risk of abruption in women whose pregnancies are near or at term. Pregnant women may be more sensitive to heat and should consider preventive measures such as air conditioning and hydration during hot weather.