The objectives of the current study were to calculate: (1) the expected rates of miscarriage by gestational week; (2) the cumulative risk of miscarriage; and (3) the remaining risk of miscarriage for gestational weeks five through 20, through a systematic review of the literature. We searched MEDLINE for articles published in English through the end of 2009. References of articles were also searched. Four studies were identified to have the three necessary pieces of information for the proposed calculations: (1) gestational age at study entry, (2) pregnancy outcome; and (3) the gestational age at which the pregnancy outcome occurred. Data were extracted from each study and Life Table Analysis Methods were conducted. Weekly miscarriage rates varied in the early gestational weeks with the highest rate documented at >20 miscarriages per 1000 women-weeks at each week of gestation prior to week 13. By week 14, the rate for all studies became relatively comparable and fell below 10 miscarriages per 1000 woman-weeks at risk and fell even lower through week 20. The cumulative risk of miscarriage for weeks 5 through 20 of gestation ranged from 11 miscarriages per 100 women to 22 miscarriages per 100 women (11-22%). Based on data from comparable study populations, a range of background miscarriage rates by week of gestation for weeks 5 through 20, the cumulative risk of miscarriage, and the remaining risk of miscarriage are presented. Wider variation of miscarriage rates and risks occurred early in gestation (<14 weeks).