Created By: johnnye on June 4, 2011 Last Edited By: johnnye on March 26, 2013
Troped

Hand On Womb

A newly pregnant woman rests her hand on her belly

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Reviving a long-dormant YKTTW

If you want to indicate to your audience that a woman has just found out she's pregnant, thinks she might be, or just happens to be thinking about it, there's one tried and tested visual shorthand -- she rests her hand lovingly on her lower abdomen. Exactly where depends on her knowledge of biology, but it should be pretty clear she's aiming for her womb.

It doesn't have to be the mother who does it; perhaps Bob comes in, kisses Alice on the cheek and lovingly strokes her belly. Or maybe Paolo struts into the room, gives Alice an evil grin, clutches her stomach and sneers "Does Bob know yet?" Either way, we're receiving the message loud and clear.

Note that to be this trope, it has to be the first time the audience knows about the pregnancy - if we already know she's pregnant, all she's doing is cradling her unborn child. And if she's heavily pregnant, it might just be the most convenient place to rest her hands.


Examples:

  • Played for horror in FEAR 2. Alma's just raped the protagonist and impregnated herself with what may as well be the Anti Christ.
  • In Sims 3, if the player hasn't caught on to the "this Woo Hoo made her pregnant" jingle, and is clueless enough about the "Mysterious Causes" nausea debuff, they should get wise when the female sim stops to smile knowingly and rubs her (still normal) belly.
  • There was a variant of this on a news program once. This guy killed his girlfriend, who turned out to be a couple months pregnant. For some reason the news anchors kept focusing on whether the boyfriend knew about the pregnancy, and they kept pointing to a prom photo taken before the attack where his hands are on her lower abdomen as incontrovertible "proof" that he knew.
  • Played for drama on one episode of Law & Order SVU, one married couple said that their daughter was away travelling, Elliot then made a bluff attack on the wife, who instinctively invoked this trope. Turns out her daughter was never born, and was petrified and still inside of the woman's womb.
  • In the first Gossip Girl book, one of the many rumors surrounding Serena is that she is or was pregnant, which speculation is fuelled by the fact that she's seen resting her hand on her stomach during a school assembly.
  • Carmen's pregnancy is revealed this way in Pan's Labyrinth. The second clue in the opening scene when she stops and rests because "your brother needs to catch up" when there is no brother in sight.
  • In the first Terminator movie, Sarah does this the first time she reveals that the late Kyle Reese left her pregnant.
  • Cowboy Bebop: Katerina Solensan does this when she enter a bar together with Asimov. This is to make it obvious that she is pregnant and her ordering a Bloody Mary is just Spy Speak. This trope is subverted later in the episode as it's revealed that she isn't pregnant, she is hiding drugs under her dress.
  • Planet Hulk: Caeira reveals to the Hulk that she's pregnant with his child this way.
Community Feedback Replies: 37
  • June 4, 2011
    hotrods4ben
  • June 4, 2011
    rjung
    Agree, this is People Sit On Chairs stuff. Next we'll have "People with headaches rub their foreheads"...
  • June 5, 2011
    Stratadrake
  • June 5, 2011
    Mozgwsloiku
    I think we might already have this... or we have had a YKTTW like that. Anyway, this is very much Truth In Television, while in fiction its a common visual shorthand for a character being pregnant.
  • June 5, 2011
    Chabal2
    Perhaps a broader trope would be when someone else (usually the father) puts his/her hand there, and the ensuing reactions.
  • June 5, 2011
    Bisected8
    Played for horror in FEAR 2. Alma's just raped the protagonist and impregnated herself with what may as well be the Anti Christ.
  • June 5, 2011
    StarryEyed
    I think this is tropable. For one thing, it's often the first hint to the audience that she is pregnant.

    Star Wars: Padme does this while staring out the window. Meanwhile, Anakin turns evil.
  • June 5, 2011
    Mozgwsloiku
    A friend of mine did this while pregnant, causing her husband to ridicule the cliche - until he took her to the doctor and saw an entire waiting room full of women in the same pose.
  • June 5, 2011
    Stratadrake
    It may be tropable as a hint that the character is pregnant, provided it is not explicitly told to the audience first.
  • June 5, 2011
    Dcoetzee
    Agree that this is tropable. It's a common way of communicating to the audience the fact that the character is pregnant, and the description makes this clear. If the hand placement is incidental then it doesn't count of course.
  • June 6, 2011
    peccantis
    • In Sims3 (Medieval at least), if the player hasn't caught on to the "this Woo Hoo made her pregnant" jingle, and is clueless enough about the "Mysterious Causes" nausea debuff, they should get wise when the female sim stops to smile knowingly and rubs her (still normal) belly.
  • June 6, 2011
    johnnye
    What Starry Eyed and Stratadrake said. If we already know she's pregnant, (especially if she's showing) it's not really an example. It's when it's used as a visual shorthand that it's tropable.

    I think it has been on YKTTW before, but I can't find it anywhere.
  • June 6, 2011
    jaytee
    There was a variant of this on a news program once. This guy killed his girlfriend, who turned out to be a couple months pregnant. For some reason the news anchors kept focusing on whether the boyfriend knew about the pregnancy, and they kept pointing to a prom photo taken before the attack where his hands are on her lower abdomen as incontrovertible "proof" that he knew.
  • June 6, 2011
    captainbrass2
    I'm sure the famous naked photograph of Demi Moore when she was pregnant on the front of Vanity Fair showed her with her hand in this position. Then again, there was nothing in that photo that was a subtle indication of pregnancy...
  • June 6, 2011
    Damr1990
    • played for drama on one episode of Law & Order SVU, one marriage said that their daughter was on a travel, eliot then made a bluff atack to the wife, she instictively invoked this trope turns out her daugther was never born, and was petrified and still inside of the woman's womb
  • June 9, 2011
    noitsnot
    I think this should be in a list of signs media use to denote something. Do we have something like this?
  • June 10, 2011
    bluepenguin
    ISTR that in the first Gossip Girl book, one of the many rumors surrounding Serena is that she is or was pregnant, which speculation is fuelled by the fact that she's seen resting her hand on her stomach during a school assembly. (Please, don't ask me why I know this.)
  • June 10, 2011
    MarqFJA
    Is This Tropable? Yes, but it might need a diligent Wiki Curator or two to make sure it doesn't suffer Trope Decay into "pregnant women put their hands on their stomachs".
  • November 20, 2012
    shimaspawn
    This does seem very tropable and I've certainly seen it in media before. Something like Hand On Womb Means Pregnant is probably what we should aim for on the title, but that's really long and awkward.
  • November 20, 2012
    KingZeal
    In the first Terminator movie, Sarah does this the first time she reveals that the late Kyle Reese left her pregnant.
  • November 20, 2012
    FastEddie
  • November 20, 2012
    Madrugada
    That works well for me. It underlines that this is a Reveal trope, not just any time a pregnant woman's belly is rubbed or touched. There will almost certainly still be some misuse, but I think that name will go a long way to minimizing it.
  • November 20, 2012
    lexicon
    The Star Wars example needs to be deleted since it doesn't fit with the bold type. The Terminator example fits though.
  • November 21, 2012
    SenseiLeRoof
    Pregnancy Revealing Touch maybe? Also, potential examples should keep in mind that the hand isn't much of a reveal if she's already "hauling a basketball".
  • November 21, 2012
    MorganWick
    As such, this is a page that could really use a good image.

    I'm actually tempted to try and pull something from The Sims 2...
  • November 24, 2012
    m8e
    The YKTTW Knitting Pregnancy Announcement is related to this.
  • November 24, 2012
    Stratadrake
    I wonder if we could just call it a Pregnant Pose....
  • November 24, 2012
    Tuckerscreator
    • Carmen's pregnancy is revealed this way in Pans Labyrinth. The second clue in the opening scene when she stops and rests because "your brother needs to catch up" when there is no brother in sight.
  • November 24, 2012
    shimaspawn
    ^^ No, that would get massive misuse because it misses The Reveal bit of it.
  • November 24, 2012
    Stratadrake
    So does the current title. Is this about the hand-on-womb being a Pregnancy Detector or a visual shorthand that she's already pregnant? Both can probably be tropable, but they are not the same.

    If it's specifically about the former, we need a better title, like a Pregnant Gut Feeling.
  • December 1, 2012
    johnnye
    ^ It's a visual shorthand for the fact that she either thinks or knows she's pregnant.
  • December 1, 2012
    Stratadrake
    I see. The first paragraph might need a tweak to make it clearer that it's used to convey this to the audience. I somehow missed that part (twice) when reviewing the description.
  • December 3, 2012
    johnnye
    ...you mean aside from the second clause of the first sentence being "there's one tried and tested way to indicate what's on her mind to the audience"?
  • December 6, 2012
    m8e
    • Cowboy Bebop: Katerina Solensan does this when she enter a bar together with Asimov. This is to make it obvious that she is pregnant and she ordering a bloody mary is just Spy Speak. This trope is subverted later in the episode as it's revealed that she isn't pregnant, she is hiding drugs under her dress.
  • December 6, 2012
    MorganWick
    ^^When the first clause of that sentence includes the phrase "thinks she might be", yes. Right now the description emphasizes the woman more than the audience. Perhaps it should start something like "Say you have a woman, and you want to tell the audience she's pregnant, or at least is thinking about it." Introduce a writer whose goal it is to get the message across; the woman is behind the Fourth Wall, so she doesn't even know the audience exists, so "to the audience" is an easily missable phrase.
  • January 4, 2013
    Tuckerscreator
    • Planet Hulk: Caeira reveals to the Hulk that she's pregnant with his child this way.
  • January 4, 2013
    NateTheGreat
    "Woman shows man she's pregnant by moving his hand to her belly" is really a Sister Trope to this.
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