Early Pregnancy Unit (EPU)
- The early pregnancy unit (EPU) is a dedicated specialist department in the hospital that deals with problems in early pregnancy.
- The most common concerns are vaginal bleeding or pain.
- Light vaginal bleeding and abdominal cramps are common in early pregnancy. However, they may also be the first signs of a potential problem with the pregnancy, such as a miscarriage.
However, they may also be the first signs of a potential problem with the pregnancy, such as a miscarriage. Miscarriage or fetal loss is the most common complication of pregnancy and affects on average 20 percent of all pregnancies.
- The staff in the early pregnancy unit will assess you and your pregnancy.
- This will involve a medical history, an examination and an ultrasound scan.
- Assessment often involves an internal (vaginal) examination and a vaginal scan.
- This helps us to get the most accurate information possible about what is happening to you and your baby.
Please come to the clinic with a full bladder to make the ultrasound easier. In some cases the examination or scan findings may be unclear and additional blood tests may also be taken.
These test results are usually available within 24 hours and we will contact you with the results and discuss your care with you.
If the bleeding is heavy or your have worsening abdominal pain or pain in your shoulder tip you should attend your GP or the hospital for urgent review. If a miscarriage occurs or you are diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the womb), the doctor and midwife will explain all the options of care available to you.
They will give you information on support and counselling which can help you through this difficult time.
If you need to be admitted to hospital, the staff will arrange this as soon as possible.
The early pregnancy unit aims to offer women an appointment at 8 weeks if they have had two previous miscarriages or at 6 weeks if they have had a previous ectopic pregnancy or molar pregnancy. Alternatively an early booking visit for 10 weeks of pregnancy may be arranged.
Clinics are held by appointment on Monday – Friday from 7.30 am until 1.00 pm. You can be referred to the unit by your GP or from the assessment and emergency unit in the hospital. Or, you can simply refer yourself by phoning 01 817 6846. (You must be over six weeks pregnant before you can be seen in the unit.) If the staff can’t take your call, please leave a message giving your name and phone number and they will return your call as soon as possible.
In the case of emergency you can get medical help from:
- Your GP or midwife
- Rotunda’s early pregnancy unit – 01 817 6846
- Rotunda’s assessment and emergency unit – 01 817 1700 or your obstetrician
- A&E department at your local hospital
Support and Counselling:
- Bereavement Social Worker 01 817 1700, bleep 699
- Bereavement Support Midwife 01 817 1700, bleep 777
- Chaplain 01 817 1700, bleep 334
Support agencies include:
The Miscarriage Association of Ireland at www.miscarriage.ie or phone 01 873 5701.
Ectopic Pregnancy Ireland at www.ectopicireland.ie or phone 089 436 5742.