Pregnancy Scare
A woman worries she is pregnant - she is not.
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(permanent link) added: 2011-12-04 20:12:25 sponsor: ParadiscaCorbasi edited by: morenohijazo (last reply: 2014-01-24 17:09:00)

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How Did We Miss This One?? I just scrolled through the entire Pregnancy Tropes listing and found nothing matching this trope.

A couple has had sex, maybe even their first time, consummating the relationship. They enjoyed it. There was afterglow. In the heat of the moment, nobody considered condoms or birth control. Or maybe they did but were in a bit of a hurry.

Then the woman announces her period is late, or starts every morning greeting John.

She tells the guy who — in this trope — is almost never happy or ready to deal with this revelation that he may be about to be a father. They worry, they fret — separately or together — about what to do, and whether to consider abortion, adoption, keeping the baby, and what it will mean for their relationship in any of these instances. They agonize over the implications and whether they're ready to be parents. Will they be good ones? All the what ifs!

Then there's a pregnancy test — which comes up negative (or perhaps it was all some kind of huge misunderstanding). They are usually relieved, although there's sometimes a bittersweet melange of disappointment that there will be no unexpected blessed event.

If she's actually pregnant, it's not a scare; that's another trope altogether.

Often occurs after a one-night stand or between two people not in a relationship. The version where it's the man who is freaking out about it is common too. Yes, the woman is the one pregnant (notice that "the couple is pregnant" is not a literal statement, it's a colloquialism; it's not uncommon for a husband or wife to say "we're pregnant" even though it's quite obvious that the female is the one doing the gestating), but the man's reaction to the possibility of becoming a father is often part of this trope.

On many occasions, when there's a pregnancy scare, it leads to discussion about the guy getting a vasectomy. But the vasectomy episode is another plot completely.

Relational Troping:

Up for Grabs


  • Several years ago there was a series of ads for pregnancy tests which had three sets of couples:
    • couple who want a baby and she's pregnant: YAY!
    • couple who want a baby and she's not pregnant: AWW!
    • couple who don't want a baby and she's not pregnant: WHEW!
    • The "couple who don't want a baby and she is pregnant" version was never included in the ad.

Comic Books
  • Happened to Silver Sable in the Marvel Universe during her own short-lived series. She thought she was pregnant after sleeping with her ex-husand and starting making plans to retire from the adventuring business. It turned out to be a glitch in her cycle and her doctor pointed out this was probably for the best as the reckless actions she had taken while she thought she was pregnant indicated she really wasn't ready to be a mother.

  • In Grease, Rizzo and Kenickie's pregnancy scare is a major subplot.

  • In Lois McMaster Bujold's Barrayar, Dru is very afraid that she's pregnant after sleeping with Lt. Koudelka. She doesn't tell him about it, but acts so nervous that he becomes convinced that he had been mistaken about her consent and had raped her.
  • Happens to Tibby in the fourth Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants book, after a condom accident. What mostly makes it a scare is how she handles it, which is how she has handled things in the past (like Bailey) — by avoiding the subject entirely, and anything associated with it, including things that could help. Without even remotely knowing if she's actually pregnant, she breaks up with her boyfriend, frets about when she's supposed to get her period — a month after the last one ended or a month after the last one started?? (instead of, you know, looking it up). She was holding several dozen Idiot Balls in that particular subplot — if she'd just stopped to actually think for two seconds right after it happened she could've at least considered looking into the morning-after pill (I don't know when exactly the story is set so I don't know if they would've been accessible to her; but they would've been at the time the book was published).

Live-Action TV
  • Misfits: Seth finds a used pregnancy test — positive — and freaks out because he thinks he's gotten Kelly pregnant. He hasn't. Curtis has gotten his other-sex-self pregnant.
  • Used on Switch (a short-lived sitcom in which husband and wife swap bodies); after something over a month, the husband in the wife's body has not yet had a period, and they worry that he's pregnant. He goes to the gynecologist's office and hears all sorts of horror stories about how painful giving birth is. Turns out he's just overstressed, which causes irregular periods.
  • In SLiDE, Eva thinks she's pregnant from her one night stand with married man.
  • This happened to Drew and Kate on The Drew Carey Show.
  • Also happened on Degrassi: The Next Generation between Emma and Sean.
  • Barney and Robin in How I Met Your Mother. ((Edit correction will be made when the trope launches)).
  • On Gilmore Girls, Lorelai has a sudden craving for fresh fruit which hadn't happened since she was pregnant with Rory. She starts to think she might be pregnant by Luke but later finds out she is not. He never finds out about the scare.
  • In Bones, Cam panics when she finds a positive pregnancy test in the lab's bathroom, considering that her teenage daughter had recently used it. She interrogates Brennan—not guilty—and realizes that it was Angela's. Who got a false positive, naturally.
  • In Plain Sight: Mary hopes that her pregnancy will turn out to be this, even after the positive test. The doctor then gently reminds her that she'd have to be seriously ill to get a false positive.
  • Saturday Night Live parodied pregnancy test commercials with a one-night-stand couple who really didn't want to be pregnant. Here it is on Hulu: [1]
  • Part of a story arc in an episode of Roseanne between Dan and Roseanne. The scare ends up convincing them they actually do want to try for a fourth child.


Western Animation
  • The Simpsons: Marge thinking she might be pregnant leads to a Flash Back episode of Bart being born. Marge thought she was pregnant with a fourth child because usually it's a big deal because there are no kids around.
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