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Objectives: To examine the extent of primary care follow-up and mental health outcomes among women referred for ultrasound assessment of pain and/or bleeding in early pregnancy, including those whose pregnancy is found to be viable on ultrasound assessment. Design: Questionnaire study with prospective follow-up. Setting: Urgent gynaecology clinic in secondary care, England. Participants: 57 women participated in the study. Entry criteria: referral to the urgent gynaecology clinic with pain and/or bleeding in early pregnancy; gestation less than 16 weeks (the clinic's own 'cut-off'); no previous attendance at the clinic during the current pregnancy. Exclusion criteria: inability to understand English or to provide informed consent. Primary and secondary outcome measures: Incidence of primary care follow-up among women referred to the urgent gynaecology clinic; incidence of women with measured mental health scores suggesting significant symptoms of distress. Results: Fewer than 1 in 10 women referred for ultrasound assessment of pain and/or bleeding in early pregnancy had follow-up arrangements made with their general practitioner (GP). Most women who had GP follow-up found it helpful and a significant minority of women who did not have GP follow-up felt that it would have been helpful. Following ultrasound assessment, more than one-third of women had significant symptoms of distress. Symptoms of distress, particularly anxiety, were present among those women found to have viable pregnancies, as well as among those with non-viable pregnancies. Conclusions: GPs are advised to consider offering follow-up to all women referred for ultrasound assessment of pain and/or bleeding in early pregnancy. Researchers in this area are advised to consider the experiences of women with pain and/or bleeding in early pregnancy whose pregnancies are ultimately found to be viable on ultrasound scan.

Original publication

DOI

10.1136/bmjopen-2013-002595

Type

Journal article

Journal

BMJ Open

Publication Date

17/05/2013

Volume

3