{Pregnancy Education} What Is A Viable Pregnancy?

You have just taken a pregnancy test, and it is positive. Whether this is good news to you or it is completely unexpected, one of the first things you should do is ensure that the pregnancy is viable.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a non-viable pregnancy can be defined as “a pregnancy that is not growing normally and may end in miscarriage.” The opposite of a non-viable pregnancy is a viable pregnancy, in which a heart beat can be detected and the pregnancy is progressing normally. It is of absolute importance that, before you make any decisions at all, you receive medical attention to determine the viability of the pregnancy.

One of the best ways to determine the viability of the pregnancy is through an ultrasound. An ultrasound can help determine if the pregnancy is located inside the uterus (or is ectopic, read here for more information), determine the approximate gestational age, and if the fetus has a heartbeat. It is crucial that the pregnancy is located in the uterus to ensure safety for the mother. When the pregnancy takes place outside of the uterus (ectopic), the mother should seek immediate treatment at either a doctor’s office or emergency room due to the possible severe impact it can have on her body.

It is estimated that between 10%-20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, especially in the critical early months. It is most common for a miscarriage to occur before the 12th week of pregnancy. During a miscarriage, the fetus does not develop normally, and the pregnancy ends. This can most often be detected by a lack of heart rate on an ultrasound. For this reason, it is important that when a women receives a positive on her pregnancy test that she seek medical attention.


If you, or someone you know, might be pregnant, it is important that the viability of the pregnancy is determined. This should happen before any decisions are made regarding the pregnancy. Advice & Aid offers limited ultrasound services, free of charge. If you need assistance, please contact us at our 24-hour hotline at 913.962.0200.