Are you possibly scanning the Internet for miscarriage statistics..?
The risk of miscarriage is a real worry in early pregnancy, but we must remind ourselves that most pregnancies are successful.
Miscarriage statistics by week can be hard to find, so we have compiled the most recent data for you in this article. I know how important this information can be. Find research-based miscarriage statistics by week, maternal age, recurrent miscarriages, and lifestyle.
I know firsthand how it feels to worry and look for miscarriage statistics to ease your mind. Why? Well, here’s my story:
After six months of trying, we finally conceived – only to miscarry in the fifth week of pregnancy. This was followed by a long and emotionally exhausting period of keeping track of ovulation, timing the lovemaking, BBT charting, and hoping. It took another nine months before we finally conceived again. I know this is nothing compared to many other couples, but it was still very tough.
When I finally got pregnant again, I was very worried that I would have another miscarriage. I don’t know how many hours I spent online looking for miscarriage statistics by the week of pregnancy.
When I experienced bleeding in week 8 of my pregnancy, I panicked. I called my midwife (I had my first prenatal visit scheduled a couple of weeks later), and she asked me to come in for an early ultrasound. I did, and I got to see my baby. I saw her little heart beating and the little embryo moving around. It was a fantastic feeling.
This little peek inside my womb helped me stop worrying somewhat, but I did continue counting the days until week 12 had passed. I also read and learned quite a bit about miscarriage.
If you feel anxious like I did, I’d like to help you save a few hours. I have gathered and compiled the miscarriage statistics I found.
At the bottom of the page, you’ll find references to research if you want to dig deeper.
If you are very worried about having a miscarriage, or if you already have had one, you can at least take some comfort in that research shows there is no need to wait six months before trying again. You can start trying again almost immediately.You can read about this in this article about getting pregnant after miscarriage. At the bottom of that article, several moms and dads who have been through a miscarriage share their thoughts and feelings about it.
Now to the statistics!
In this article…
How Common is it to Miscarry?
As you probably already know, since you are here reading this, miscarriage is quite common. Mayo Clinic estimates that some 10-20% of all known pregnancies result in a miscarriage. Add to that all unknown pregnancies, and you will find much higher figures.
The tables below will show you estimates, according to various studies from as early as three completed pregnancy weeks, hence even including failed implantation.
Of course, as pregnancy tests become more certain early on, there will also be more confirmed miscarriages. Previously, some of these miscarriages were most likely interpreted simply as a late period.Miscarriage Statistics By Week 3 And On
seen on ultrasound
References: Tong S, Kaur A, Walker SP, Bryant V, Onwude JL, Permezel M. Miscarriage risk for asymptomatic women after a normal first-trimester prenatal visit. Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Mar;111(3):710-4.
Wilcox AJ, Weinberg CR, O’Connor JF, et al. Incidence of early loss of pregnancy. N Engl J Med. Jul 28, 1988;319(4):189-94.
The Early High Percentage of Miscarriage and What It Means
According to these figures, the risk of miscarriage right after conception is very high, between 22% and 75%. This wide range reflects that different studies have found different rates of miscarriage.
It also reflects – and this is important – that the studies claiming up to a 75% risk of miscarriage include failed implantation. This means that your egg might have been fertilized but didn’t implant appropriately for one reason or another. Views certainly vary if this should even be called a miscarriage.
These very early miscarriages are sometimes called chemical pregnancies, as in producing the pregnancy hormones, but not being viable pregnancies that could ever go full-term.
I guess my first pregnancy (and miscarriage) was a textbook example of a chemical pregnancy. Most women probably won’t even know they were pregnant, but I knew since we actively tried to conceive and I was tracking my basal body temperature very closely.
If I were you, I would not fret too much over the terrible statistics for the first few weeks. The data is highly uncertain, and if you do miscarriage, i) chances are you won’t even know that you were (chemically) pregnant, and ii) it is likely that the miscarriage was due to chromosomal abnormalities that made your body stop the pregnancy.
Miscarriage Statistics After Pregnancy Has Been Confirmed
Looking at the data, now look at miscarriage risks after a test has confirmed your pregnancy. As you can see above, the miscarriage rate falls quickly, especially if a live embryo can be seen on ultrasound. An embryo that is alive in week 9 is highly likely to become a baby!
And even without knowing if the embryo is alive or not, you can rest assured that the likelihood that your baby is healthy and growing is increasing quickly day by day without bleeding.
So, to conclude:
Most miscarriages occur very early – even before a positive pregnancy test.
Over 80% or even 90% of all miscarriages occur during the first trimester – hence the focus to “wait until after week 12 to announce the pregnancy”. By then, the miscarriage risk is low.
How the number of miscarriages and age affect miscarriage risk
Statistics for recurrent miscarriages
The miscarriage statistics above refer to a woman’s first miscarriage. How about the next one? And the next? Recurrent miscarriages are defined as having three or more consecutive miscarriages.
Only around 1% of all couples will have to endure this, while as many as 20-30 % of all women will knowingly experience a miscarriage (or even up to 75%, but without knowing, as seen in the table above.)
Out of the 1% of recurring miscarriages, 50% go unexplained.
Studies have also shown that the chances of having a successful pregnancy are about the same after the second and third miscarriage, but after that, the chances go down. It is still entirely possible, but after three miscarriages, couples are usually offered an examination to try to explain the miscarriages and possibly provide medication or other help.
Miscarriage rates by age
Another factor that affects the risk of miscarriage is the age of the parents-to-be.
The woman’s age is the most obvious here since there will come a time when her eggs can’t be fertilized anymore. But the man’s age plays a part too.
For a woman, the risk of miscarriage increases dramatically after age 37, with the steepest increase occurring after age 40. By age 45, less than 20% of all recognized pregnancies are viable.
The graph below is from a U.S. study of pregnancies conceived via IVF. The risk of miscarriage is a bit lower per age group in this study than in similar studies – probably because the stats derive from women who successfully manage to become pregnant through IVF.
Not all women who undergo IVF have successful egg retrieval. The embryos that are transferred to the woman’s womb are chosen because they appear to develop normally, and hence the risk of miscarriage for these embryos is a bit lower.
References:Slama et al., 2005. Influence of Paternal Age on the Risk of Spontaneous Abortion. American Journal of Epidemiology
The man’s age matters too. If the dad-to-be is over 40, the chances of miscarriage rise significantly. Studies indicate a 25-50% increase in the risk of miscarriage as the dad approaches 40 years old.
This all seems pretty dark if you are an “older” couple trying to conceive. Older as in approaching 35 years or older. However, it is not all dark. Once a fetal heartbeat is confirmed, the risk of miscarriage is much more hopeful!
References: Spontaneous abortion rate and advanced maternal age: consequences for prenatal diagnosis, The Lancet, Volume 336, Issue 8706, 7 July 1990, Pages 27-29
Other Factors that affect Pregnancy Outcome
Has this been a lot to digest? I bet! And to make the situation even more complicated, there are, of course, factors other than luck, age, and earlier miscarriages that will affect your pregnancy outcome. Gladly, many of these factors are within your control.
Here are some factors that may increase your risk of miscarriage:
- Being underweight before pregnancy
- High alcohol consumption
- Severe stress (increasing risk with the number of stressful or traumatic events)
- A change of partner (which can be quite stressful too!)
And controllable factors that reduce your risk of miscarriage:
- Vitamin supplementation
- Eating fresh fruits and vegetables daily
- Trying to arrange your life so you feel well enough to fly or have sex (Yes, really!)
So what is the conclusion of all this?
Miscarriages happen whether we worry or not. Most of the time, they don’t. Trying to let go of the worrying will make your life in early pregnancy happier and may even actually reduce the risk of miscarriage a little bit. (I know, A LOT easier said than done..!)
If you are very worried, ask for an early ultrasound scan. If you can hold out until the 8th week of pregnancy, a live embryo and no bleeding mean that the risk of miscarriage is down to 1.5% if you are younger than 35 years! I don’t have a figure to present for those older than 35, but a live embryo will likely cut your risks very sharply, too.
Remember that by the time you have a positive pregnancy test, the highest risk of miscarriage is already behind you. Isn’t that great to know? Also, unless you are experiencing bleeding, the risk is below 10% at around the seventh week of pregnancy.
Don’t smoke, eat healthy foods, and focus on the positive aspects of life.
I hope you found this information on miscarriage statistics useful. Feel free to share any thoughts by leaving a comment below.
Read Next About Miscarriages
- What Can Cause A Miscarriage – And Not
- Can Stress Cause Miscarriage? Maybe, Research Says
- Getting Pregnant After Miscarriage
- Early and Late Bleeding During Pregnancy
Tong S, Kaur A, Walker SP, Bryant V, Onwude JL, Permezel M. Miscarriage risk for asymptomatic women after a normal first-trimester prenatal visit. Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Mar;111(3):710-4.
Wilcox AJ, Weinberg CR, O’Connor JF, et al. Incidence of early loss of pregnancy. N Engl J Med. Jul 28, 1988;319(4):189-94.
Allison JL, Schust DJ., Recurrent first trimester pregnancy loss: revised definitions and novel causes. Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes. 2009 Dec;16(6):446-50.
Maternal age and fetal loss: population based register linkage study
Miscarriage information by Mayo Clinic
Paula Dennholt founded Easy Baby Life in 2006 and has been a passionate parenting and pregnancy writer since then. Her parenting approach and writing is based on studies in cognitive-behavioral models and therapy for children and her experience as a mother and stepmother. Life as a parent has convinced her of how crucial it is to put relationships before rules. She strongly believes in positive parenting and a science-based approach.
Paula cooperates with a team of pediatricians that you find here. They write or review all health-related articles.
This Post Has 33 Comments
thanks for sharing such beautiful information with us. I hope you will share some more information about infertility treatment. please Keep sharing
So I really appreciate the statistics and break down of data, I’m currently pregnant with our second. However, some of your wording is off. Your little girl didn’t suddenly become your daughter when she was born, she was when she was created. And a “live embryo” is an alive baby within the womb. It’s important to recognize they are human beings before birth as well
Hi Lydia, I had to go back and read my post to try to find the sentence you refer to. And I see what you mean. I didn’t mean that she wasn’t my daughter during the first early ultra scan, just that I didn’t know who she was. To me, she was very much alive and real. It was an amazing moment. Thanks a lot for the heads up and I’ve changed the wording.
Huge good luck with your pregnancy! I’m glad you found the stats helpful. How many weeks pregnant are you?
I am currently 4weeks and 3 days and only found out 2 days ago that I am pregnant again. I honestly didn’t think I would so fast. I miscarried only 2 month ago and this was my first normal cycle after miscarriage. I am terrified of having another miscarriage.. but this article really does pit my mind at ease for the most part. Thank you!!
I appreciate this post so much! It was so helpful to me when I found out I was pregnant with my first baby at 4 weeks and 2 days and had bleeding at 6 weeks. I read your post many times from week 6 to 13 and now have a wonderful one year old boy. I just had another positive pregnancy test at exactly 4 weeks and have already pulled it up as a refresher again.
Thank you, this article has made me feel a little more relaxed. Very informative 😊 xx
Thank you for your help. I’m quite nervous and just I read and I quote, Remember that by the time you have a positive pregnancy test, the highest risk of miscarriage is already behind you. Isn’t that great to know. Are you referring to a take home pregnancy test? If so then this might help ease my nerves.
Hi Lauren! How are things going? Great, I hope!
Thanks so much for this article. I had my first at 39 and am now pregnant again at 42. We conceived fairly quickly but it was quite an effort due to some issues on my husband’s side. I’m very nervous but it’s good to be informed. I’m hanging for my 10week ultrasound. My OB is away for the two weeks before. Fingers crossed!
Thankyou for writing this. I am 4 1/2 weeks
And trying not to worry this article is very helpful x
I have nominated you for the blogger recognition award! https://lovelifelaughmotherhood.com/2017/05/blogger-recognition-award-2017/
Oh sweet, thank you so much! <3
An amazing article! Thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge that you gained. Insightful and comforting.
Thank you, Sarah! Which week are you in? Crossing my fingers for you!
The wording is wrong here: “According to these figures, the risk of miscarriage right after conception is very high.” No, the risk of miscarriage right after conception is low. Only 10-20% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. According to the figures shown, the majority of those 10-20% miscarriages take place in those first weeks. Be careful with scaring people.
Thank you German, you’re correct – the overall risk of a miscarriage is low, but the risk is the highest during those first few weeks. Thanks for pointing out how the wording can be misunderstood! I’ll change it!
But you didn’t change it ^^
Thanks for the reminder. Updated! :-)
I am crossing my fingers for you, Kim! Let me know how things go!
Thanks for this. I’m 5 weeks 5 days along and I wasn’t sure if I should even bother calling my doctor because I thought I’d just have another miscarriage (given I had one a few months ago at 14 weeks). I thought the percentage at my stage of pregnancy was a lot higher but the 10% isn’t that high at all.
And good luck to you, Kat!! I had exactly the same situation as you – spotting in the early weeks. Up until week 10 or 12, I think. Extremely scary, but it went well. Crossing my fingers for you!
So happy I came across your post. Thank you so much for sharing this information. I dont think Ive ever been so concerned or worried about anything in my life and I really just want to know that everything is okay. Thanks again!
I know, Ashleigh, it can be torture to wait and hope during the first three months… I truly wish you good luck with your pregnancy! :-)
Hello, I realize that these comments on the article are a couple years old…but if anyone is there then I have a question (:
I am 10w pregnant right now…and last week I had some major bleeding. The dr took me in for an u/s and found a healthy heart beat and no bleeding up in the uterus or around baby. The bleeding was on the cervix and was most likely due to sex/orgasm.
Does this mean that my chances of miscarriage are still less than 1% since the bleeding isn’t up in the uterus, but only on the cervix? The dr told me that the reason I probably bled is because there is a bunch of new veins up there and an increased blood flow. Or are my chances of a miscarriage different since I was bleeding when I had the u/s?
Hi Jilian, bleeding in pregnancy is pure torture! Poor you! But if your Dr told you that the bleeding was not in the uterus and there was a healthy heartbeat, you should probably just rely on you Dr and consider your risk of miscarriage the same as for anyone else who has already found a healthy heartbeat… A very good sign! Please let me know how things proceed. When is your due date?
Hi Kayleigh, I truly hope the spotting was just implanting, just as your doctor said. How are you doing? Spotting is difficult, It doesn’t have to mean anything, but it can. I think you are doing exactly the right thing – bothering your doctor when you feel that you need to. Crossing my fingers for you!
Thank you so much for this article. As this is my 1st pregnancy at 38 I have been worried every second of the day about this. I entered my 9 weeks today and so far all signs point to good. Just so helpful to know I am not alone in the worrying.
I had an ultrasound at 6 weeks, heart rate was perfect, everything was great, all hcg and progesterone levels were in line, no spotting, no cramping, no issues at all, went in for my 12 week appointment and the baby’s heart had stopped beating at 11 weeks and 5 days. I guess my point is that no matter how much research we do there is always a chance, worry will not help us prevent a miscarriage though either. We all just have to have faith and hope and a great support system that will help us get through.
Thank you very much for this information. I miscarried back in October and am now 6 weeks pregnant and trying not to worry too much. This has been really helpful, thank you.
Yes! Maybe I can relax now, I am SO worried that because of my age (37) , that I will miscarry, when It’s a shock to me that we even conceived at all. But to know that the majority of the risk is already behind us, makes me so grateful. Ty ty ty! For sharing this info. :D I’m not going to be afraid to bond for fear of loss.
That’s great to hear! I truly hope you will have no problems at all. Congratulations on your pregnancy.
Thank you for compiling this information. Very helpful article :)
Thanks a lot Erin! :-)