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A mis­car­riage is the nat­ur­al death of an embryo or fetus in the womb. It takes place in the ear­ly stages of pre­na­tal devel­op­ment pri­or to fetal via­bil­i­ty (the stage of poten­tial inde­pen­dent sur­vival). Among women who know they are preg­nant, the mis­car­riage rate is rough­ly 15–20% and it is the most com­mon com­pli­ca­tion of ear­ly preg­nan­cy in humans. Among all preg­nan­cies, the num­ber end­ing in mis­car­riage may be as many as 50%.