Created By: Elle on June 26, 2012 Last Edited By: Elle on May 12, 2016

Maternity Crisis

A pregnant woman can be counted on to go into labor at the least convenient time possible.

Name Space:
Page Type:
Alternately, "Murphy's Law of Pregnancy".

If a woman in fiction is established as near-term pregnant, and there comes an event that would be the worst possible time for her to go into labor, the baby is going to pick that time to be born.

Doesn't matter if its drama or comedy, doesn't matter when the baby was actually expected to be due, doesn't matter if The End of the World as We Know It is approaching - it's coming now and the cast is going to have to deal with it on top of whatever crisis plagues them.

The most common exception, oddly enough, is any episode where the mother is already expecting to go into labor any moment and the drama around the birth itself is the point of the episode.

Super Trope of Born in an Elevator. Frequently calls for a Delivery Guy and involves a Screaming Birth.


  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Keiko, wife of Miles O'Brian, whom had been established as pregnant in prior episodes, goes into labor in the middle of a shipboard crisis resulting from a collision with a random Negative Space Wedgie, stranded in Ten Forward and with only Worf available to be the Delivery Guy.

  • Pemma in The Legend of Korra is pregnant all through the first season with her and Tenzin's fourth child, and yet it waits to be born when the Equalists launch their full attack on the city and Air Temple Island.
Community Feedback Replies: 18
  • June 26, 2012
    • Thrice in How I Met Your Mother:
      • Once on the most awesome moment of television ever (in-universe) on Robin's so-early-it's-still-late morning show.
      • Once at Marshall and Lily's wedding (the harpist).
      • Then Lily herself, when she's sent Marshall off for a relaxing night of drinking and gambling in Atlantic City to get him out of her hair.
  • June 26, 2012
    This is a good trope. I don't have examples to add, though.
  • June 26, 2012
    Jaguar Paw's wife Seven from Apocalypto goes into labor while at the bottom of a pit that's filling with water from the heavy rain.
  • June 26, 2012
    On Bones, Brennan went into labor while investigating a homicide inside a prison.

    CSI NY may or may not count, Lindsay started labor in the lab, but didn't have Lucy until she got to the hospital.

    Highlander Dr.Lindsey goes into labor after being caught in a tunnel collapse. Duncan ends up helping her deliver.
  • June 27, 2012
    I tried to launch this title earlier under the title of Trauma Pregnancy, but this seems to be better presented.

    • Played straight and averted by Good Luck Charlie. In season 1, the flashback to Charlie's birth has Amy fairly casually get up and get herself to the hospital. In season 3, for the 5th baby, Amy is a week late, and wants the baby out. She tries to induce pregnancy the day before Charlie's birthday, so the two youngest children didn't have to share a birthday. Naturally, she goes into labour the next day. Lampshaded at the beginning of the episdoe: "Wouldn't it be horrible if the baby came tomorrow?"

  • July 27, 2012
    More trope necromancy. I'm sure there's a kernel of a trope here, assuming we don't already have it.
  • July 28, 2012
    Eastenders has an episode where a woman goes into labour on a tube train that's being held at a signal.
  • July 28, 2012
    • Farscape has Aeryn going into labour in the middle of a warzone. She doesn't stop shooting her enemies for it either.
  • August 7, 2012
    Nudging back up, since a seeming duplicate has emerged.
  • August 7, 2012
    Can be considered a subtrope of Chekhovs Gun: after all, there's no way writers are going to introduce a heavily pregnant woman into the story without having her dramatically go into labor.
  • August 7, 2012
    • Fargo: The police chief is 7 months pregnant, but it's just one of her character quirks.
    • The X Files I Want To Believe, the FBI Special Agent in Charge Mulder & Scully are working with is pregnant, but she's killed in the line of duty long before the birth day.
  • August 9, 2012
    In Terry pratchett's Night watch, Lady Sybil goes into labour just as Sam Vimes returns from a trip to the past. But Sam returns naked. He has to run accross the city in the nude to be with her. He also has to choose to be with her over and above hunting the villain who was returned with him. Sam decides Carcer the villain can wait.
  • August 11, 2012
    Now I have an example: In Barefoot Gen, Kimie goes into labor the day the atomic bomb falls on Hiroshima, after watching her husband and two of her children burn to death.
  • August 11, 2012
    This happens in one of the Final Destinaation movies. I'd take a guess and say it was 2. The main characters believe they won't have to die if the pregnant woman gives birth, so the police picks her up and keeps her in a jail cell to make sure she is safe. Cue: her water breaking and the cop driving her to a hospital...
  • August 11, 2012
    • On Rookie Blue a pregnant cop goes into labor shortly after another female cop is kidnapped and the entire precinct is mobilized to look for her. The pregnant cop gets to the hospital without much hassle but the baby's father is in charge of the search so she forbids anyone to call him so he will not be distracted.
  • August 12, 2012
    In the Star Trek reboot film, James T. Kirk's mother goes into labour during Nemo's attack on his father's ship. His father gets the news of his son's birth just before he gets killed.
  • February 23, 2016
    Live Action TV Primeval: a woman gives birth in the middle of a raptor attack. Lost: Claire Littleton give birth when the only doctor on the island is transfusing his own blood with into another survivor with a crushed leg. Brooklyn Nine Nine: Terry's wife goes into labor at the precinct, the fire alarm is triggered the water shuts the computers down so everything is processed by hand, now next to no one is processed the precinct is cramped and the father will probably miss the birth.
  • May 12, 2016
    Add examples plz?