Early pregnancy assessment unit

Early pregnancy assessment unit (EPAU)

We are an outpatient assessment area for women who have a positive urinary pregnancy test and are experiencing early pregnancy problems up to 16 weeks gestation.

Your first point of contact for advice about pregnancy or any associated problem should always be your GP or community midwife - they may refer you to this service if necessary.

Opening hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 8am-4pm

We do run an appointment system in order to reduce

Walk in service:

  • Requires a referral from a health care professional (letter or telephone message)
  • You may attend with your referral between 11am-1pm (on the above days)
  • Book in with the receptionist when you arrive and then you will need to wait your turn - you maybe waiting up to 3 hours, but you will be seen on the day you attend

Location: In the Treatment Centre (next door to the main hospital). Walk straight down the main corridor until you see a green desk on your right. You will need to give your details to the receptionist and then wait to be called through.


You maybe referred by:

  • Your GP
  • Hospital doctor
  • A&E department
  • Community midwife
  • OR you can self-refer if you have had 3 or more recurrent miscarriages or a previous ectopic pregnancy

Reasons for referral:

  • A positive urinary pregnancy test and vaginal bleeding
  • Abdominal pain
  • Two previous consecutive miscarriages
  • Previous ectopic pregnancy
  • Previous history of sub-fertility (Clomifene or IVF)
  • Dates - polycystic ovary syndrome , conceived while breastfeeding
  • Hyperemesis gravidarum to exclude multiple or molar pregnancy
  • Community midwife or GP unable to auscultate the foetal heart (less than 16 weeks)

We will book a further scan 10 days - 2 weeks later if:

  • Viability is not confirmed
  • There has been 2 previous miscarriages (then fortnightly until 10 weeks gestation)

Rescans will also be booked if:

  • Post conservative management of miscarriage
  • Post medical management of miscarriage (if needed)

Please attend with a comfortably full bladder

  • We recommend that you drink at least one pint of a clear fluid, one hour before your scan time

  • Sound waves used to obtain the picture/scan travel well through fluid; your full bladder provides an excellent window into your pelvis

Your scan will be performed using an abdominal probe (whenever possible)

  • A vaginal scan allows better visualisation of an early pregnancy and determination of viability

  • Your verbal consent will be gained

  • You will be asked to empty your bladder before this investigation

  • Let us know if you have a latex allergy - a latex probe cover is used during a vaginal scan, but if you have an allergy a latex free cover will be used 

  • If at any time during the examination you feel uncomfortable with what is happening to you, please tell us 


We always try to explain all investigations and findings to you so that you are able to understand what is going on and if you need to, you will be able to make informed decisions about your follow up treatment.

Your visit may take between 15 and 30 minutes depending on the findings.

If you need to see a doctor as a result of the scan you may be here for a longer time.

After you have been seen, (and providing all is well) you will be able to go home.

You may be given another appointment to come back at a later date for follow-up or you may be referred back to the care of your community midwife or GP.

If there are complications and you need further treatment this will be arranged at while you are here.

If it is necessary for you to see a doctor then you may need to wait up to 2 hours - although we aim to keep this waiting time to a minimum.

You will be kept informed of all scan findings, any recommendations and management plans will be fully discussed with you.