THURSDAY, May 30, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Pregnant women with syncope may be at higher risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes, especially when the event occurs during the first trimester, according to a study published in the May 21 issue of the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Safia Chatur, M.D., from the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, and colleagues examined temporal trends, timing, and frequency of syncope during pregnancies occurring from 2005 through 2014. The authors also assessed adverse neonatal and maternal outcomes in the first year postpartum.

The researchers found that of the 481,930 pregnancies studied, an episode of syncope was reported in 4,667 pregnancies (0.97 percent). These episodes occurred during the first trimester (32.3 percent), second trimester (44.1 percent), and third trimester (23.6 percent). More than one episode of syncope happened in 8 percent of pregnancies. For pregnancies with syncope during the first trimester, the rate of preterm birth was higher (18.3 percent) compared with syncope in the second (15.8 percent) and third trimesters (14.2 percent) and compared with pregnancies without syncope (15.0 percent). Additionally, for pregnancies with multiple syncope episodes, the incidence of congenital anomalies was significantly higher (4.9 percent) versus pregnancies without syncope (2.9 percent). Women with syncope during pregnancy had higher rates of cardiac arrhythmias and syncope episodes within one year postpartum versus women without syncope during pregnancy.

“Fainting during pregnancy has previously been thought to follow a relatively benign course,” a coauthor said in a statement. “The findings of our study suggest that timing of fainting during pregnancy may be important.”

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