Below are some terms you may hear providers use when talking about miscarriage and other forms of early pregnancy complication.
Viable pregnancy - a pregnancy that is progressing normally.
Non-viable pregnancy - a pregnancy that has not progressed normally and will end in miscarriage. Also called early pregnancy loss.
Pregnancy of uncertain viability - when it is not clear at your first ultrasound if the pregnancy is progressing normally. A repeat ultrasound will be done 10 - 14 days after the first one to tell whether or not the pregnancy is progressing normally. It is possible to miscarry during this time.
Pregnancy of unknown location - when you have a positive pregnancy test but there are no signs of pregnancy on the ultrasound. This could be due to one of three reasons:
- The pregnancy is too early to be seen on ultrasound
- The pregnancy has already ended (complete miscarriage) before your ultrasound
- The pregnancy is outside the uterus (ectopic pregnancy).
Further blood tests or ultrasounds may be done to determine the location of the pregnancy. It is important to seek medical care If symptoms worsen (e.g. you develop severe pain, feel faint, or have heavy bleeding), as you may have an ectopic pregnancy).
Ectopic pregnancy - a pregnancy located outside the uterus; most commonly in the fallopian tube (the tube that carries the fertilized egg from the ovary to the uterus). This type of pregnancy can be dangerous and needs to be treated with either medication or surgery.
Complete miscarriage - a miscarriage has occurred and all pregnancy tissue is gone from the uterus.
Incomplete miscarriage - a miscarriage has occurred but some pregnancy tissue is still inside the uterus.
Recurrent pregnancy loss - 2 or more unexplained consecutive miscarriages (1 miscarriage after another).