Once you have performed a pregnancy test at home with a positive result, it is advised that you attend your GP who will confirm your pregnancy.
He/she will calculate the gestational age (i.e. the number of weeks pregnant you are) using the first day of your last period. He/she may refer you for an early pregnancy scan. However it is important to note that an ultrasound is rarely conclusive at a gestational age of six weeks or less. The ideal time for an early ultrasound scan is between 7 and 8 weeks gestation.
The GP will also perform routine pregnancy blood tests. A full blood count (FBC) is preformed in order to get a baseline level of Haemoglobin; this is repeated again at 28 weeks and if necessary during your pregnancy. A blood group is performed to determine your blood group status, and most importantly your Rhesus status. Infectious disease bloods, i.e. HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, Syphilis are done to screen for the most common infectious diseases in pregnancy. Although these are rare, if diagnosed early treatment can be given to prevent transmission from mother to a baby.
Your GP will make a referral to the maternity hospital to arrange your booking visit and dating scan between 12 to 16 weeks gestation.
Early Scans - When and Where
The EPU is open from 8am to 1pm, Monday to Friday. It is an appointment-based service only. However, a limited number of urgent appointments are available every day and these can be arranged by your GP contacting the EPU directly, or by the CUMH Emergency Room.
If you have a history of recurrent miscarriage or your last pregnancy ended in miscarriage, the EPU provides scans between 8 and 12 weeks gestation. If you experience vaginal bleeding or abdominal pain before 12 weeks gestation, you should attend your GP who can make an appointment with the EPU on your behalf.
During an appointment in the EPU, the midwives who are specifically trained and experienced sonographers, will take a short medical history from you and offer you an ultrasound scan. They will initially consider a transabdominal ultrasound but sometimes they may need to perform an internal scan, a transvaginal ultrasound (TVS).
If you have a history of two or more consecutive miscarriages, or if you are experiencing pain/bleeding in this current pregnancy, you can also be referred to the EPU for an ultrasound scan.
Support Services and Groups
If you have previously experienced miscarriages understandably this may make you anxious about another pregnancy.
Support Services are available in CUMH. These include:
Early Pregnancy Unit (EPU)
Clinical Midwives Specialist in Bereavement and Loss
The above support services can be contacted through CUMH reception on 021 492 0500.