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New NICE guidelines published today

Posted: 12 December 2012 by Rob Dabrowski

The NHS should consider dedicated services for women who may have an ectopic pregnancy, state NICE guidelines.

NICE guidelines
These services would also be for those who experience pain or bleeding in their first trimester.

The NICE guidelines, published today (12 December), cover diagnosis and management of ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage in early pregnancy.

Between 2006 and 2008, there were 35,495 confirmed cases of ectopic pregnancies and, of these, six women died during their first trimester as a direct result of their pregnancy.

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

Professor Mark Baker, director of the Centre for Clinical Practice at NICE, said: ‘It can be very distressing and, in some cases, frightening to experience a miscarriage or be told your pregnancy is ectopic.

‘It’s vital that women and their families receive good, consistent, timely and effective care and support that addresses their needs and enables them to make informed decisions.

‘We know that not every woman is receiving this level of treatment at the moment but this guideline will address that inconsistency and ensure all women receive excellent care, no matter where they live.’

The guidelines recommend an early pregnancy assessment service available seven days a week for women with early pregnancy complications.

Jane Munro, quality and audit professional advisor at the RCM, said: ‘Women experiencing pain and bleeding in early pregnancy need to be able to access help and support seven days a week.

‘The focus on emotional support and information giving is important, so that women can be clear about their choices and make informed decisions.
‘The guidelines will also help to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of a potential ectopic pregnancy amongst all healthcare professionals involved in the care of women of reproductive age. We look forward to their widespread implementation.’