The Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit (EPAU)

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The Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit (EPAU) 01908 996434.

What is the aim of the unit?
To identify and manage problems in early pregnancy and to offer reassurance or treatment.

Who is it for?
All women who have a positive pregnancy test and are experiencing problems within the first twenty weeks of pregnancy.

How does it operate?
Your GP or Midwife will phone the nurseled unit and book an appointment for you. We will assess your pregnancy using a number of tests. It takes some time to perform these tests and to get results. An assessment is then made and appropriate advice will be given. Please expect to be at the unit for the full morning.

As space is limited we would appreciate if young children could be left in the care of members of your family but we do understand this is not always easy to do. Please bring with you an early
morning urine sample.

What happens during your visit to the EPAU?
On arrival you should report to the Reception Desk where your personal details will be checked. You will then be asked to sit in the waiting area. You will be seen by a nurse/midwife initially where a brief history will be taken in preparation for your ultrasound scan.

Your scan
In order to obtain a good view of the uterus in early pregnancy it is necessary to have a full bladder. Therefore, if your bladder is not full on arriving at the unit drinking water is available in the waiting area. If in doubt please ask. As this is not a routine scan, we ask that only one person accompanies you when you are called into the scan room. You will be asked to lie on the couch. A
special gel will be applied to your lower abdominal area. A small probe is moved across your lower abdomen and pictures are produced on a screen.

It may be necessary to ask your permission to perform an internal scan (trans vaginal scan) in order to get more detailed pictures. This is done with an empty bladder. At this time you will be
asked to empty your bladder. You may be asked for a urine sample at this stage if you have not brought one with you already.

Please remember:
• It is not always possible to see from one scan alone if your pregnancy is continuing or not.
• Whether you have a scan or not will not affect the outcome of the pregnancy.
• An internal scan does not cause a miscarriage.

The sonographer will explain the initial scan findings to you. If you are referred following a scan which has not been carried out at an NHS institution, this initial ultrasound result may not be used in any clinical decisions that are required.

After the scan
Following the scan you will be seen again by the nurse/midwife who will explain the scan results further and answer any questions you may have at this time. A letter will always be sent to your GP
informing them of the scan results.

What happens if the scan is ok?
If the scan shows a viable pregnancy inside the womb then you will be discharged from the clinic. You will be given a copy of the scan report to be placed in your pregnancy records.

What happens if the scan isn’t ok?
If the scan is inconclusive it may be because it is too early to see the pregnancy in the uterus. In this case you will be asked to come back in 10 days to 2 weeks for a re-scan. In these circumstances a blood test is often indicated to measure the pregnancy hormone level within the blood. If a rescan has been arranged, it is not usually helpful to scan again before the rescan date given, even if you have had or are having further bleeding.

The EPAU Nurse/midwife will advise you what to do in the event of further bleeding or pain. If there are problems, for example, suspicion that there is an ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy growing outside the womb) that require you to see a doctor, he or she will be asked to come and see you in the Unit. If sadly, it is certain that your pregnancy has ended; the nurse/midwife will attempt
to see you straight away and discuss the options that are available to you. You will be given time to go through any questions that you may have.

Every effort is made to ensure that a quiet room is available for women who would like/need privacy following their scan.

For any further information:
Please contact: EPAU Specialist Nurse
Ward 21, Milton Keynes University Hospital
Standing Way, Eaglestone
01908 996434
(Internal Calls Ext. 86434)