Early Pregnancy Loss

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If you have not received the news you had been hoping for, we offer our sincere condolences and full support during this challenging time.

Are miscarriages common?
Yes. Around 1 in every 5 pregnancies are lost in their early stages.
Many women experience up to 3 miscarriages in their lifetime. Most may not speak about their experience. Often miscarriages that would have gone unnoticed are now known because of new pregnancy tests that become positive as early as 3 weeks on.

What are my options if I have been diagnosed with an early pregnancy loss?
As long as you are medically stable, your doctor will offer you three options for managing your pregnancy loss. You can choose any option that you are comfortable with, change your mind if you wish, or even call the clinic another day so that you and your partner have time to consider each choice.

Option 1 - Wait and see
Some women may prefer to allow their pregnancy loss to proceed without any medical intervention. This is a safe option for many. Once your body understands that the pregnancy has been lost, you will experience cramping and moderate to heavy bleeding, which will get lighter over a few days.

If you choose to wait and see, we will arrange for a follow up ultrasound scan to ensure that your pregnancy has passed completely. In addition we will give you information about the signs of infection, which is a risk when waiting for a miscarriage to occur naturally.

If you are bleeding heavily and changing pad every hour, feel that your heart is racing, feel very warm, or are feeling unwell, please attend OLOL emergency room immediately.

Option 2 - Tablets
If you choose to take tablets to bring on a miscarriage once the diagnosis has been made, we will assess if you are a suitable candidate. You will be given some tablets to take in the clinic and asked to stay for a few hours to ensure that the bleeding and pain is not excessive. You will also be given a prescription for pain killers to take when you go home. you should expect moderately heavy bleeding and pain - much heavier than a period.

10 days after taking the tablets we will arrange for a follow up ultrasound scan to ensure that your pregnancy has passed completely. Tablets are successful 85% of the time. Sometimes you may need a further prescription, or opt for surgical management.

If you are bleeding heavily and changing pad every hour, feel that your heart is racing, feel very warm, or are feeling unwell, please attend OLOL emergency room immediately

Option 3 - Surgery
Some women may feel more comfortable having a procedure commonly known as a "D&C". This is a short ten minute procedure performed after you have been put to sleep, to remove the remains of the pregnancy from your womb. The risks involved include the risk of the anaesthetic, infection, bleeding, perforation (a hole through the top of the womb), and the need for a repeat procedure in a small percentage of cases.

If you feel most comfortable booking a surgical procedure, a date will be given to you for when it will be performed, with instructions not to eat or drink from midnight the night before. An ultrasound scan will be arranged on the morning of the procedure to ensure that it is still required.

If you are bleeding heavily prior to your surgical appointment - and changing pad every hour, feel that your heart is racing, feel very warm, or are feeling unwell, please attend OLOL emergency room immediately

What treatment is there for an ectopic pregnancy?
If your pregnancy has implanted outside of your womb (such as in your tube) treatment depends on the size of the pregnancy, and if there is any chance of internal bleeding.

A very early pregnancy that shows no signs of bleeding may be suitable for treatment with an injection. After this injection you will need to attend the hospital for 4 follow up blood tests over two weeks to ensure that the hormone level falls back to zero, a sign that the injection worked.

If there is any concern for size, location, or bleeding, your doctor will advise that you have surgery to remove the ectopic. This is usually performed via "key-hole" through your belly button. Sometimes if you have had many surgeries before, or the suspected bleeding inside is very substantial, this operation may be performed through a larger cut through the tummy, in the bikini line.

During surgery the ectopic is removed in a way that is judged to be best and safest for you. If you have a normally functioning tube and ovary on one side, we may opt to remove the tube or ovary on the side affected by the ectopic, to ensure that you at a low risk of it happening again.

How will this affect my future pregnancies?
Having a miscarriage does not affect your ability to have children. It proves that you were able to release an egg and conceive naturally. Many people wonder when is the right time to start trying again. Physically, this can be done once you have had a normal period. You should remember to make sure that you and your partner are ready psychologically as well before trying again.

If you have had a miscarriage we will offer you the option of returning to a gynae clinic 6 weeks after the event to talk through what happened and answer any questions you might have. This appointment is not essential.

If you have had three or more miscarriages we would be happy to make this appointment for you in order to perform some basic blood tests to see if we can identify any reason for your pregnancy losses.

Contact details
Clinic Timings
The EPAU is an appointment only clinic that runs from Monday to Friday, 8:30am - 12:30pm

The clinic is not open on Bank Holidays or Public Holidays

The EPAU is staffed by a dedicated Gynaecology Consultant/Registrar, Sonographer, and EPAU nurse

Contact Telephone Number
Please arrange an appointment by calling the following number, or if you are a patient - attend your GP to arrange a referral

041 983 7601 (Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda)
extension 4667 (Gynae Ward)

If you have very heavy bleeding, significant abdominal pain or feel very unwell please come to Our Lady of Lourdes Emergency Department urgently.

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