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Wednesday 19th June 2019

Early pregnancy assessment recommended

13th December 2012

New guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has said that early pregnancy assessment services should be available seven days a week.


NICE wants to ensure women receive a timely diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy and are offered care and support during a miscarriage.

With a fifth of pregnancies ending in miscarriage and ectopic pregnancies occurring in 11 per 1,000 pregnancies, the organisation wants steps taken which will improve care.

Figures show about two-thirds of deaths caused by ectopic pregnancy are associated with substandard care, due to missed or late diagnosis.

The latest NICE guidance recommends that regional services be organised so that an early pregnancy assessment service is available seven days a week for women who experience complications in their first trimester.

It should offer diagnosis and care for women with pain and/or bleeding in early pregnancy, have a 24-hour helpline and be provided by healthcare professionals who are able to offer ultrasound and assessment of serum human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) levels.

Professor Mary Ann Lumsden, Professor of Gynaecology and Medical Education at Glasgow University, chaired of the group responsible for the guidelines.

She said: “There are around 200 early pregnancy assessment clinics around the UK but the level of service is very variable. Some centres do have units that already work seven days a week, others a five-day service and some three mornings a week.

While there is a cost in setting up a seven-day specialist services, she said in the long term, it is likely to be cheaper and better for the woman.


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