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Your ultrasound will be performed by a trained midwife-sonographer or doctor, with the backup of other members of staff. As this is a teaching hospital we often have qualified midwives or doctors who are undergoing further training in ultrasound who attend the unit. As such there may be two people attending your ultrasound. We are very grateful for your help in their training, but should you wish the staff to be kept to a minimum it is entirely appropriate to ask.


In early pregnancy there are two ways that we can look at the womb, either a tummy scan (trans-abdominal or TA) or internal scan (trans-vaginal or TV). A full bladder is required for the TA scan (1 pint of water an hour before) and an empty bladder for the TV scan. Whether we can get enough information from a TA scan will depend on several factors, but in our practice a TV ultrasound is usually required in early pregnancy in order to obtain enough information in order to make a diagnosis.


What happens if I get good news?

 If the results are encouraging, then you will be asked to book into the clinic of your choice to continue your care.


What happens if I get bad news?

 Sometimes we may tell you that the pregnancy has unfortunately resulted in a miscarriage. In this case we can counsel you on the options available to you to manage the miscarriage. The counselling is provided by either the midwifery or the medical staff. Patient information leaflets are available to help you in making decisions. We can also refer you to the care of the Chaplaincy Department or the Bereavement Midwives should you require further support or information.


What happens if it is not certain yet what is happening?

 We follow the HSE Guidelines on “Ultrasound Diagnosis of Early Pregnancy Loss”, which we participated in writing. These are national guidelines which lay down strict criteria on when we can diagnose a miscarriage. Sometimes when you come for a scan we may suspect that the pregnancy may end in miscarriage but we do not have enough information at the time to make a definite diagnosis. If this happens we will ask you to return for another scan at a time where the diagnosis is more obvious. We are very aware that this may be an anxious time for you to wait for the next appointment, but it is very important not to make the wrong diagnosis. We will support you through this time in order to best care for you and the pregnancy.


What if I have had an ultrasound elsewhere?

 We often have patients referred to the EPAU who have had an ultrasound elsewhere and are then referred to this hospital for further care. Please bring in a copy of your ultrasound with you (which you are entitled to recieve). In order to provide the best possible patient care we will wish to repeat the ultrasound to see if we agree with their findings, and occasionally we will need to repeat the ultrasound again at another time. We are aware that this may be frustrating or difficult for you but we always aim to provide you with good quality and safe care.


I’m worried, can I have a scan anyway?

With limited resources we try to focus on women who are having problems in early pregnancy. When you attend for your booking visit to the hospital an ultrasound will be organised. If you cant wait until then you may organise an ultrasound in Merrion Fetal Health which is a private ultrasound facility within the hospital (01 6635060).


We welcome your feedback on your experience in the EPAU. Please feel free to contact us if you have comments you wish to share.


01 637 3217

01 637 3218

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