Early pregnancy unit (EPU) 01733 673758
If the nurses are speaking to another patient, or are with patients in clinic, you will be asked to leave a voicemail. All calls are returned the same day, usually within a few hours.
Who can be referred to the Early Pregnancy Unit (EPU)?
Women up to 16 weeks pregnancy who have a positive pregnancy test and:
- Abdominal or pelvic pain which persists despite use of
- Vaginal bleeding
- Previous ectopic pregnancy
- Previous tubal surgery or high risk factors for ectopic
- Intrauterine contraceptive device in-situ
- 3 or more miscarriages
- 3 or more C-Sections
- Women with a non-viable pregnancy up to 16 weeks
- Post termination/miscarriage with persistent bleeding
greater than 2 weeks
How can I be referred to the Unit?
You can be referred by your GP, A&E, other wards, health professionals. You can also self refer to the Unit.
I am bleeding, do I need to come straight away to hospital?
Bleeding and pain in pregnancy is worrying, but if your bleeding is similar to a period, you are better to stay home, take regular paracetamol and call us for advice on what to do next. You only need to come to hospital if:
your bleeding is much more than a period where you are having to change pads hourly
you have large lemon sized clots that are not settling
you are taking two paracetamol every 4-6 hours, but your pain is not controlled/worsening
your pain is going into the end of your shoulder tips
You feel faint/unwell because of the bleeding/pain
Unfortunately there is nothing we or you can do to stop a miscarriage, but around 50% of women bleed in pregnancy and the majority of them will go on to have a healthy baby. Bleeding does not mean you will definitely miscarry. You will be offered an appointment in the EPU over next few days, depending on your symptoms and your gestation, however unless you have the emergency symptoms discussed above, you do not need to come to hospital now
I don't like taking painkillers - should I take them?
If you are coming to us because of a problem with pain, it is helpful if you take the paracetamol regularly first to allow us to monitor the pain level. Even if we carry out a scan, it will not take away the pain, so we still need to get your pain under control. If the pain is worsening; going into your shoulder tips; you feel unwell because of the pain, then you need to call us or come to the Emergency Department
How do I discuss a problem or make an appointment?
Call us on 01733 673758. If we are busy with patients or already taking another call, you will be given the option of leaving a voicemail message. Please do this, and we will call you back when we are free. All calls are returned the same day and usually within a few hours.
You will be asked some questions about your pain and/or bleeding and then given advice, or invited in for an appointment to see one of our Specialist Nurses or Doctors.
If you come for an appointment, this will be for an assessment. It may involve a blood test or internal examination. It may include an early pregnancy ultrasound scan or other investigations, for example, to rule out infection that may be causing your symptoms. The staff here will listen to your symptoms and carry out the best tests we can.
This is an emergency unit and appointment times cannot be guaranteed.
Women also need to understand that it may be a male doctor or sonographer that you will see when you attend
Please bring two forms of ID when you come to any appointments within the department
How do you do an early pregnancy ultrasound scan?
If you are early in pregnancy, we are most likely to carry out a transvaginal scans (internal scan). This involves placing a probe, a little like a tampon, inside your vagina. It does not hurt you or harm the pregnancy, but it allows us to see things much clearer than on your tummy, which then allows us to give you the best information on what is happening at the time of the scan. Sometimes a pregnancy is so early an ultrasound won't be able to pick it up at all and it may take us a few days or even a few weeks before we can detect a heartbeat, depending on how many weeks pregnant you are. If you are later in your pregnancy, then an abdominal ultrasound may be enough to pick up your pregnancy at the first visit.
When are you open?
The Unit is open Monday-Friday 0800-1800, and Saturday/Sunday/Bank Holidays 0800-1200. Unfortunately we do not accept walk in patients - all referrals need to have an appointment. You can see your own GP or attend the Walk in Centre if you prefer. If you have emergency symptoms - heavier bleeding than your period/pain not settling despite paracetamol, then you may need to attend the Emergency Department - see the section above for further information on 'emergency symptoms'
How do I find you to attend my early pregnancy assessment?
We are based in the Outpatient Department, within Women and Child Unit at the new Peterborough City Hospital.