Failed pregnancy

Last revised by Matt A. Morgan on 9 Jul 2016

Failed pregnancy is a pregnancy that will not carry through to term.

It is termed a miscarriage or failed early pregnancy when fetal demise occurs before 20 weeks gestational age and fetal death in utero (FDIU) when it occurs after 20 weeks gestation.

Practical points

The term "non-viable" pregnancy is often used by radiologists when a pregnancy fails to progress, especially in the first trimester, but caution must be used with this term. In some situations, a "non-viable" fetus is defined as a fetus that has a <50% chance of surviving outside the womb and is reserved for a fetus less than ~24 weeks gestational age. In certain countries (such as the United States), this distinction may carry significant legal consequences 3. A first-trimester fetus without a heartbeat may more accurately be called a "failed pregnancy".

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