Background:  Many women with problems in early pregnancy such as vaginal bleeding or abdominal pain present to the emergency department (ED).
Aim:  To describe demographic, service delivery and diagnostic characteristics of women who presented to the ED with a problem in early pregnancy.
Methods:  Data were reviewed for all electronically available ED presentations in 2008 in NSW, Australia according to diagnostic codes related to problems in early pregnancy (N = 12,061). Descriptive statistics were used to illustrate relevant characteristics, and adjusted odds ratios were used to highlight the predictors of key service delivery outcomes.
Results:  Women who presented to the ED for a problem in early pregnancy accounted for 1.2% of all ED presentations for women. The average age of women who presented to the ED for a problem in early pregnancy was 29.3 years, with 25% aged 35 years or older. Over a fourth (28%) of women presented to the ED on a weekend and over a third (37%) presented after‐hours. Most (70%) women were seen according to their triage category, and the median length of stay in the ED was just under 4 h. One‐fourth of women were admitted to hospital, which was 3.8 times more likely among women with an ectopic pregnancy.
Conclusions:  The findings of this research may be useful for hospitals and clinicians to review and improve their current service delivery models for women who present to the ED with a problem in early pregnancy.