Natural pregnancy loss before the 20th week is known as a miscarriage. The heartbeat can be seen on ultrasound right around the 5th week of gestation. However, even if the heartbeat is seen this will not rule out other causes of miscarriage such asbirth defects or chromosome abnormalities that may end the pregnancy. 

What Are the Chances of Miscarriage After Seeing Heartbeat?

If miscarriage were to occur, 80% of them happen before the 12th week of pregnancy. Out of those, 50% to 70% happen before women even know they are pregnant. The chances of miscarriage are actually quite low if you already see fetal heartbeat on ultrasound. There is approximately a 5%-10% chance of miscarriage after the baby’s heartbeat is visible. This does only apply if the fetal heart rate is a good number. Low heart rates may show a problem and that a miscarriage may be imminent. Also, if there is a heartbeat it doesn’t always mean that a miscarriage will not occur later on.

This rule also only applies if you are experiencing a healthy pregnancy with no bleeding, cramping, spotting or lack of pregnancy symptoms. Another factor is the heart rate. If the baby has a normal heart rate over 120 beats per minute it is considered normal. Concern goes up if the heart beat is too slow or too fast. Doctors add that even if the heart rate is normal, there can still be other conditions that affect the baby and/or pregnancy like poor maternal health, drug/alcohol use, hormone issues or uterine structural abnormalities.

Chances of Miscarriage in Different Conditions of Pregnancy

After the heartbeat is detected the risk of miscarriage begins to decline, but there are differentfactors that affect the rates of miscarriage. The numbers are not exact, but can give a rough estimate at the rates of pregnancy loss for certain situations:

  • ŸNo vaginal bleeding. With no vaginal bleeding, the chances of miscarriage after seeing heartbeat are 4%.
  • ŸWith vaginal bleeding. With vaginal bleeding in early pregnancy, the chances of miscarriage after detection of heartbeat are around 13%.
  • ŸHistory of reoccurring miscarriage. If there is a history of more than one miscarriage in the past, the chances go up to 17%.
  • ŸMaternal age over 35. Being over the age of 35 raises the risk of miscarriage after detection of heartbeat to 16% well over the 4% risk for other normal pregnancies if the mother is under 35.
  • ŸMaternal age over 40. The risk of miscarriage for women over 40 after detection of heart beat is around 20%.

How to Reduce Chances of Miscarriage

These measures can help to reduce your risk of miscarriage and increase your risk of a healthy pregnancy for both you and your baby. If you are planning a pregnancy you can start getting your body ready by eating right, changing your lifestyle to focus on health and getting plenty of exercise. In addition, the tips below can also help:

What to Do Both Before and After Pregnancy

What to Do


Eat clean

Use only organic fruits and vegetables that do not contain pesticides. Chemical pesticides can be toxic to your body and your baby.

Only use organic dairy products and avoid soy

Non-organic dairy and soy may have excess estrogen that can throw off your own hormone levels. Eat only grass fed beef and free range chicken that are also free of hormones and antibiotics.

Get Omega-3 fatty acids in your diet and avoid mercury fish

Cold water fish contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids that can help balance your hormone levels. They also contribute to healthy brain development in your baby. Stay away from fish that contain high levels of mercury.

Eat whole grains and avoid white or processed grains

White bread and processed grains do not contain enough nutrients and are just empty calories. Eat whole grain breads and pasta that contain enough vitamins for you and your baby.

Eat plenty of high fiber foods

Fiber can help keep your blood sugar and hormones in balance. They can also help with constipation during pregnancy. Eat a good amount of beans, vegetables, fruits and whole grain cereals that are fiber rich.

Reduce sugar intake

Sugar can raise your blood sugar levels which is not healthy in pregnancy. It can also cause your immune system to weaken.

Drink plenty of water

Your blood volume needs to expand to accommodate your baby’s needs. You also need to keep from becoming dehydrated. Drink at least 2 liters of water daily. Keep water with you at all times.

What You Should Do Prior to Getting Pregnant

To reduce chances of miscarriage after seeing heartbeat and miscarriage as a whole, you should:

What to Do


Have a full check-up and get tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s)

Certain health conditions like diabetes, low thyroid hormones, low reproductive hormones and sexually transmitted diseases all raise the risk of having a miscarriage. Getting tested and treated before you get pregnant can help decrease your risk of miscarriage.

Dig out your old shot records

Make sure that your immunizations are current and up-to-date. There are certain communicable diseases that can cause you to miscarry. Make sure you are vaccinated and get any booster shots before you get pregnant.

Start taking folic acid

Folic acid prevents neural tube defects, which is a malformation of the spinal cord and nervous system. This can easily be prevented with 600mg of folic acid daily 1 to 2 months before you get pregnant.

Go easy on caffeine

Not only does caffeine reduce fertility, it can also raise the risk of miscarriage in early pregnancy. Try not to drink more than a cup or two of coffee or two caffeinated soft drinks daily.

Keep a healthy weight

Lastly, if you are overweight understand that obesity can contribute to miscarriage. It is important to try to get to a healthy weight before you get pregnant since it is not good to diet during pregnancy. Doing this will also help avoid any other health conditions that obesity can cause during pregnancy.

What You Should Do After You Get Pregnant

What to Do


Easy on the exercise

It is okay to continue to exercise, but try to modify your routine so that you don’tlift heavy objects, strain abdominal muscles or get too hot. Of course, refrain from any contact exercise or sports or anything that can cause you to fall.

Don’t eat raw meats, seafood or unpasteurized foods

Toxoplasmosis and listeria are infections that raise the risk of miscarriage or can make your baby sick too. They come from eating foods that have not been cooked properly or pasteurized to remove bacteria.

No alcohol, drugs or cigarettes

Anything that is bad for you, is even worse for your baby. You share the same blood supply and everything you take in gets to your baby. Alcohol, drugs and cigarettes can cause fetal death and miscarriage.

Stay away from toxins and radiation

If you need to get an x-ray, you need to tell your doctor that you are pregnant. X-rays are harmful to your baby and should never be done in pregnancy unless there is an extreme emergency. Toxins are also harmful to your baby, including lead, benzene, arsenic, formaldehyde, and ethylene oxide.

Stay calm and stress free

Try to do things to reduce your stress levels. Stress increases the risk of miscarriage and other conditions in pregnancy like increased blood pressure, gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia. Any of these conditions can even contribute to later pregnancy loss.

Limit caffeine during pregnancy

After you become pregnant, you still need to limit your caffeine to no more than two cups of coffee or two caffeinated soft drinks a day. Excess caffeine can cause miscarriage after pregnancy occurs.

Ask about progesterone therapy

Women who have a history of miscarriage, advanced age or other hormonal issues may benefit from the use of progesterone in early pregnancy. This helps keep the pregnancy hormone levels stable and may prevent early pregnancy loss. This must be prescribed and monitored by your doctor.