Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit (EPAU)

The specialist unit manages early pregnancy problems, such as vaginal bleeding and abdominal pain. We see women from 6 weeks to 15 weeks of pregnancy.

We are a nurse-led service, supported by sonographers and the on-call gynaecology medical team (including a lead consultant gynaecologist).

Making an Appointment

Appointments can be made by GPs, A&E (fast track) or other health professionals.

Location:

Women and Children’s Hospital, Ground Floor

We are open from

  • Monday to Friday – 8.00am to 6.00pm
  • Saturday and Sunday – 8.00am to 2.00pm

Self-referrals are accepted from women who have been diagnosed with recurrent miscarriage and seen by a Doctor within the Gynaecology Service.

Routine Investigations

Patients will be seen by a nurse and an ultrasound scan may be performed in order to visualise the pregnancy. The scan may be done externally through the abdomen, or internally through the vagina. Neither of these techniques are harmful to you or the pregnancy. Internal scans are performed in order to clearly see a very early pregnancy. Depending on the outcome of the scan, blood tests may be required.

What to Expect

Appointments are usually available within a day of referral.

We offer expectant, medical and surgical management of miscarriage. This means that if a miscarriage is diagnosed, you have the option of waiting to see if the pregnancy tissues pass naturally, or taking tablets to speed up the process, or a small operation to empty the womb. If you opt to wait for a natural miscarriage you will be followed up by a nurse in EPAU.

We also offer expectant, medical and surgical treatment of ectopic pregnancy. Some ectopic pregnancies will resolve on their own with close observation and follow-up. Some ectopic pregnancies can be treated with a drug called methotrexate and others require an operation. Most of the operations for ectopic pregnancy are performed through keyhole surgery, which means you have to stay in hospital for one to two days and can return to your former activities sooner. Patients requiring admission will be admitted to Ward 30.

We also offer support for women with recurrent miscarriage, who require regular ultrasound scans in early pregnancy for reassurance and may require special treatment if an underlying condition is found.

Information on early pregnancy:

  • Your Health in Early Pregnancy (Useful Information)
  • Bleeding and/or Pain in Early Pregnancy

Information on Miscarriage and Ectopic Pregnancy:

  • Your Miscarriage
  • Medical Management of an Ectopic Pregnancy
  • Surgical Management of an Ectopic Pregnancy

Ongoing Support

Gynaecological EPAU nurses are available in the EPAU for advice and support. If you require specialist counselling then the EPAU nurse can refer to appropriate services.

Early Pregnancy Information Websites

Key Staff

EPAU – Women and Children’s Hospital

  • Mr Biervliet
    Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist
  • Janet Cairns
    Divisional Nurse and Head of Midwifery