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Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit

The Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit (EPAU) is a specialist area in Mater Mothers’ Hospital that deals specifically with problems in early pregnancy such as bleeding and pain.

What happens if I need to attend EPAU?

The EPAU staff includes a nurse, a doctor and a sonographer. You may be seen by one or all three of these health professionals depending on your situation. They will be able to make a full assessment of the problems you are having which may include a physical examination. Your visit may also involve having an ultrasound scan or taking some blood for tests. The scan may be performed from the vagina as well as through the abdomen. Your blood tests may take several hours to be finalised so it is not always possible to give you a diagnosis at this time. We will call you with the results of the tests and arrange further appointments if required.

Do I need a referral?

No. You are very welcome to contact EPAU yourself on 07 3163 5132 to arrange an appointment.

If I am bleeding then what might be wrong?

Small amounts of bleeding in early pregnancy are not uncommon, especially if they do not last for very long. However, it may be the first signs of a problem, such as a miscarriage, and it is important that we follow up on such symptoms. Should the bleeding be heavier or last longer, particularly if it is associated with period-like cramping pains, then a possible miscarriage is more likely.

When will I be seen?

While every effort is made to arrange appointments on the day of the referral, this may not always be possible. We will offer you the earliest available appointment; usually within a day or two. Your appointment may be arranged by your GP, the emergency department or directly by you.

How do I get there?

EPAU is located on Level 7, Mater Mothers’ Hospital. Signs are in place to direct you. We are open on weekdays from 9 am to 12 noon. Unfortunately visits are by appointment only.

What should I do while I’m waiting for my EPAU appointment?

While waiting for your appointment, it is usually best to try and live as normally as possible. It is important to realise that once a miscarriage has started, unfortunately there is nothing that can be done to stop it. Obviously, if you feel a little faint or unwell, then resting would be sensible. Taking simple pain medication such as paracetamol (Panadol) for any mild period-type pains you might have, is perfectly safe. However, should you develop heavy bleeding (soaking a sanitary pad within 30 minutes), or worsening pain, you should seek help immediately by presenting to Mater Adult Hospital's Emergency Department and not waiting for your EPAU appointment.

Contact details

Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit
Level 7
Mater Mothers’ Hospitals
Telephone: 07 3163 5132
Facsimile: 07 3163 6120

Mater acknowledges consumer consultation in the development of this patient information.
Last modified 03/11/2015.
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