Created By: VoixOff on June 5, 2013 Last Edited By: StarSword on April 23, 2014
Troped

Imperiled In Pregnancy

A pregnant woman has something horrible happening to her and her fetus

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Women Are Delicate. Children Are Innocent. A pregnant woman combines these two ideas in one to create a woman whose condition rates as so vulnerable, so precious, that you never want to see anything bad happening to her.

But... what's happening? She got hurt! Worse, she's injured in a way that threatens her fetus's life! How much more brutal can a story get?

Often used to add drama and show how ruthless the bad guys are. In most societies a pregnant woman is, for good reason, treated with courtesy and concern. She's carrying the life of another, innocent human being: protecting women like her is something we have to do, in order for our species to survive. Seeing a pregnant woman at the receiving end of violence is especially shocking for most viewers/readers.

Often turns out all right in the end, as both audiences and creators frequently find it unpalatable to play this trope through to the end.

Supertrope to Pregnant Hostage. May involve a Maternity Crisis if the child chooses that exact moment to come into the world, or alternatively a Convenient Miscarriage if child is lost as a result. Often the intersection of Would Hurt a Child and Would Hit a Girl. Overlaps with Pregnant Badass if the pregnant woman is an Action Girl who extracts herself from the peril.

Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Berserk
    • A pregnant (not that this was known at the time) Casca is raped by the demon Femto after his creation. This drives Casca insane and corrupts the fetus into a demonic-like grotesque.
    • Emperor Ganishka's demon soldiers are created by dumping heavily pregnant women into an enormous artificial womb that radiates the woman full of demonic energy. The now-demonic fetus rips its way out of the uterus and joins the others.
  • In Vinland Saga, Arneis (a slave) is secretly pregnant with her master Ketil's child. When her former husband comes to take her back - slaying several guards of the farm in the process - and she tries to escape with him, Ketil does not take it well. Just before her punishment, she reveals to him she is pregnant with his child; his response is to suspect that the child isn't his, and beat her half to death. And not only half, as she dies shortly after.
  • The pilot of Cowboy Bebop had a heavily pregnant woman on the run with a man wanted for drug smuggling, with the police in hot pursuit. The belly turns out to be a huge bundle of pills.

    Comics 
  • In Sky Doll, the main character, a love doll named Noa has a very graphic hallucination when she is pregnant and her womb rips out. But it's all in a dream... or is it?
  • In Watchmen The Comedian shoots a pregnant woman during the Vietnam War. Doubles as Offing the Offspring, as the child was his.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Played with at the end of Taking Lives, the character played by Angelina Jolie is pregnant and gets stabbed in the belly, only to reveal the pregnancy was fake and the corner stone of an elaborate scheme to catch the killer.
  • In Thursday, Casey has a flashback as to what it was that finally helped him decide to turn his life around from being a drug dealer: during a busted deal, his partner Nick repeatedly shoots an eight-month pregnant woman in the stomach, killing both the woman and the fetus.
  • One of the Headless Horseman's victims in Sleepy Hollow. Her unborn child gets decapitated as well.
  • In Gangs of New York, Jenny's baby was cut out of her after she got pregnant from Bill the Butcher, leaving a big nasty scar on her body and her traumatized
  • A sixteen year old girl in The Rite was raped and impregnated by her father, causing a demon to posses her. During her exorcisms, the demon causes her body to do very disturbing and unnatural things. She is later sent to the hospital where both she and the fetus are killed by the demon.
  • Jigsaw's wife in Saw IV lost their unborn son due to a door violently smashed against her belly. This was the Start of Darkness for him.
  • In What to Expect When You're Expecting, Rebel Wilson's character tells her pregnant boss that her sister got herpes because of her pregnancy.
  • In Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, the Predalien is completely indiscriminate in its victims, invading a maternity ward in the town's hospital and implanting pregnant women with its own xenomorph embryos.
  • In the French horror movie Inside, a pregnant woman is attacked by a stranger who wants to steal her baby. With scissors. During Christmas Eve.
  • In Curse of Chucky, a pre- doll transformation Charles Lee Ray is seen stabbing a pregnant woman to cripple her unborn daughter after she rejected his advances.
  • In the first Warlock movie, the Warlock threatens to kill a priest's pregnant wife along with the child she's carrying to get the information he wants. Presumably subverted because the priest ultimately caves in to the Warlock's demands, although we don't get to see if he did leave them unharmed.
  • Blade's origin story from the Blade Trilogy involved his mother being attacked by a vampire when she was heavily pregnant, causing her to die on an operating table and the boy turning into a human-vampire hybrid. Blade swore to find the vampire who killed her to avenge her death. Near the end, Blade discovers that his mother is still alive after the vampire in question turned her, and it was actually Deacon Frost, the bad guy he had been pursuing the entire film.
  • In Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith a heavily pregnant Padmé goes gallivanting off to Mustafar after Anakin after Obi-Wan tells her Anakin has fallen to the dark side. When Obi-Wan turns up, having stowed away on Padmé's ship, Anakin Force chokes her. Padmé starts dying afterwards, forcing medical droids to induce labor and deliver Luke and Leia.

    Literature 
  • At the beginning of The Sharing Knife, protagonist Fawn has left her home to avoid being shamed for her unwed pregnancy. Then an Eldritch Abomination ground-rips (tears the life-force out of) her unborn child. Things do get better for her, but she has one hell of a woobie-fied start.
  • In The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, while Katniss wasn't actually pregnant, Peeta manages to enrage the capitol citizens by claiming that she was right before the 75th Games started, trying to invoke this trope.
  • Vorkosigan Saga:
    • Alys Vorpatril, while pregnant with the baby Ivan Vorpatril, is stranded in besieged city held by a pretender desperately looking for distinguished hostages like Alys.
    • Cordelia is attacked with a poisonous gas while pregnant. The aftereffects of the treatment that saved her life drive most of her son's life: Miles, the protagonist of most of the books, was dwarfed and crippled by the effects.
  • Carla Cassidy's Pregnesia: Amnesiac widowed heroine, Good Samaritan hero, bad guys after the baby.
  • This is teased with Elayne in The Wheel of Time, who gets impregnated in the ninth book. Thanks to a prophetic viewing, she is convinced her children can't be harmed and gets into trouble several times, finally coming to her senses after a particular wound runs dangerously close to her womb. Then things get brutal: during the climax of the last book, she runs afoul of a minor villain from previous books who intends to cut out her unborn twins and use magic to keep them alive until they can be offered to the Big Bad. He promises to rape her afterward. A timely plot device saves the day, however.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the second episode of the short-lived 2000 ABC series Wonderland, a pregnant doctor gets stabbed in the stomach with a syringe by a mental patient.
  • Played with in Desperate Housewives. A pregnant Bree gets stabbed in the belly. However, no blood appears because it's a fake belly. But it does threaten to uncover the truth.
  • In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Friday's Child", a usurper named Ma'ab kills Aka'ar, the Teer (tribal king), in an attempted coup. He then demands Aka'ar's pregnant wife Eleen and her unborn son killed, as the unborn son is the true heir of succession, and Kirk, Spock and McCoy have to go on the run with Eleen to keep her safe.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
    • In "Body Parts" Keiko O'Brien is badly injured in a shuttle accident, and Dr. Bashir is forced to transplant the unborn Kirayoshi O'Brien into Kira Nerys, the only other female present. In this case it was an Enforced Trope: In real life, Nana Visitor (Kira) was married to Alexander Siddig (Bashir) and had gotten pregnant with his baby, and rather than find some way to Hide Your Pregnancy they wrote it into the script.
    • In "The Darkness and the Light" a Serial Killer targets the surviving members of Kira's old Bajoran resistance cell, eventually luring the very pregnant Kira to his hideout, stunning her, and then attempting to cut Kirayoshi out of her (the intent was to save the innocent baby and take revenge on Kira). She manages to turn the tables and shoot him.
  • The NCIS Christmas Episode "Newborn King" had the team defending a very pregnant Marine from mercenaries trying to get the baby, due to it being, if male, the only surviving heir to an Afghan tribe. (She'd fallen in love with the previous heir, who was later killed by the Taliban.) A Maternity Crisis ensues and Gibbs ends up delivering the baby in a gas station while Ziva fights off the mercs in the next room.
  • Game of Thrones: A pregnant character is stabbed multiple times in the belly at one point, leading to the death of both her and her child. For bonus points, the character is a Canon Foreigner,note  so the producers only added the pregnancy storyline for drama and gore points.
  • Stargate Atlantis: As Teyla neared the end of her pregnancy, Micheal kidnapped her to use her son as a testbed for his human-wraith hybrids. One Alternate Universe shows that had he finished his experiments, he would have created an army that would have effectively taken over the Pegasus Galaxy, but Teyla never saw it. In the proper time, the team manages to save Teyla and her baby.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Amy is once kidnapped while pregnant because the Silence's boss thinks that her unborn child could be a Time Lord. Not to mention all of the situations she ends up getting into with the Doctor, including her husband dying. Something like ten times.
    • In the episode "Amy's Choice", one fake version of Amy is pregnant and trapped in a small town with aliens disguised as the elderly (again) ready to disintegrate everyone, but mostly her family. To get away, she drives a van into a cottage. And her husband dies. Three times. In one episode.
  • In Grimm, one of Sgt. Wu's Filipino friends gets attacked by an aswang, which nearly kills her fetus while she was sleeping. Nick and Hank were able to resolve the situation and save her again from the monster.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • When Lita was carrying Kane's baby, they ended the angle when Gene Snitsky knocked Kane into Lita which made her fall off the apron of the ring, losing the baby.

    Video Games 

    Real Life 
  • There's an anecdote about a group of child soldiers in the Sierra Leonean civil war that bet on the sex of an unborn baby, then cut it from her mother's womb to check.

Indexes: Evil Tropes, Pregnancy Tropes, Youngsters

Community Feedback Replies: 56
  • Film
    • In Film/Thursday, Casey has a flashback as to what it was that finally helped him decide to turn his life around from being a drug dealer: during a busted deal, his partner Nick repeatedly shoots an eight-month pregnant woman in the stomach, killing both the woman and the fetus.
  • June 5, 2013
    Duncan
    • In the second episode of the short-lived 2000 ABC series Wonderland, a pregnant doctor gets stabbed in the stomach with a syringe by a mental patient.
  • June 5, 2013
    KingZeal
    Subtrope of Women Are Delicate.

    • In Berserk a pregnant (not that this was known at the time) Casca is raped by the demon Femto after his creation. This drives Casca insane and corrupts the fetus into a demonic-like grotesque.
  • June 5, 2013
    SharleeD
    Needs A Better Title, as the current one makes it sound like a woman who is pregnant is the one who's attacking, and/or like the pregnancy is the source of the attack (e.g. if the fetus is supernatural and defending itself with magic).

    BTW, the Angelina Jolie movie is "Taking Lives", not "Taking Lifes".
  • June 5, 2013
    VoixOff
    I agree Sharlee D
  • June 5, 2013
    DracMonster
    This is alse a Sub Trope of Would Harm A Child.

    No Fetus Is Safe

    Imperiled In Pregnancy

    Pregnant Situation

    • At the beginning of The Sharing Knife, protagonist Fawn has left her home to avoid being shamed for her unwed pregnancy. Then an Eldritch Abomination ground-rips (tears the life-force out of) her unborn child. Things do get better for her, but she has one hell of a woobie-fied start.
  • June 8, 2013
    RandomSurfer
    Professional Wrestling: When Lita was carrying Kane's baby, they ended the angle when Gene Snitsky knocked Kane into Lita which made her fall off the apron of the ring, losing the baby.
  • June 8, 2013
    DracMonster
    BTW Voixoff, you can click the pencil next to each post if you want to copy and paste the markup and wikiwords to save yourself trouble later.
  • June 10, 2013
    Chabal2
    Also from Berserk, the Emperor's demon soldiers are created by dumping heavily pregnant women into an enormous artificial womb that radiates the woman full of demonic energy. The now-demonic fetus rips its way out of the uterus and joins the others.
  • June 10, 2013
    RandomSurfer
    Inversion: On Bones Booth & Brennan's investigation leads them to a prison. Booth doesn't want Brennan to go in (she's very pregnant) but she says she'll be fine, since all prisoners are protective of pregnant women. Sure enough, when a Prison Riot breaks out she makes her way through with no trouble whatsoever. One background character can even be heard saying "Leave her alone! Don't you see she's pregnant?"
  • June 10, 2013
    VoixOff
    [[folder:Comics]]
    • In{{Sky Doll}l, the main character, a love doll named Noa has a very graphic hallucination when she is pregnant and her womb rips out. But it's all in a dream... or is it ?
  • June 18, 2013
    Himbeergeist
    • One of the Headless Horseman's victims in Sleepy Hollow. Her unborn child gets decapitated as well.
  • June 18, 2013
    Chernoskill
    In Gangs Of New York, Jenny's baby was cut out of her after she got pregnant from Bill the Butcher, leaving a big nasty scar on her body and her traumatized.
  • June 18, 2013
    Chernoskill
    Real-Life

    There's an anecdote about a group of child soldiers in the Sierra Leonean civil war that bet on the sex of an unborn baby, then cut it from her mother's womb to check.
  • June 21, 2013
    VoixOff
    Man, this trope is gonna be more depressing that i thought...
  • June 21, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Did some formatting. Also added spoiler tags for the Berserk example.
  • June 23, 2013
    Himbeergeist
    • Jigsaw's wife in Saw IV lost their unborn son due to a door violently smashed against her belly. This was the Start Of Darkness for him.

    • In Watchmen The Comedian shoots a pregnant woman during the Vietnam War. Doubles as Offing The Offspring, as the child was his.
  • June 23, 2013
    Lyendith
    Anime and manga:
    • In Vinland Saga, Arneis (a slave) is secretly pregnant with her master Ketil's child. When her former husband comes to take her back - slaying several guards of the farm in the process - and she tries to escape with him, Ketil does not take it well. Just before her punishment, she reveals to him she is pregnant with his child; his response is to suspect that the child isn't his, and beat her half to death. And not only half, as she dies shortly after.
  • June 23, 2013
    SharleeD
    @VoixOff: I corrected the description's grammar for you, and added some links; I hope that's okay.

    Note that, if the pregnancy isn't known to the audience until after the danger is over, it probably shouldn't rate as this trope: the added emotional impact of knowing a fetus is also imperiled isn't there. That would mean the first Berzerk example doesn't fit.

    A specific aversion of Infant Immortality, when played through to the bitter end.
  • June 23, 2013
    eowynjedi
    • Star Trek The Original Series: The episode "Friday's Child" focuses on the pregnant widow of a deposed leader who is nearly killed by the new guy because she carries her husbands's heir. The rest of the episode has Kirk, Spock, and McCoy fleeing and trying to protect her so that she can give birth safely. (She ends up naming her newborn son after them when they succeed.)
  • December 12, 2013
    VoixOff
    Thank you for correcting my grammar. I am open to suggestions, but i think even if the revelation of the pregnancy is delayed, it still count. There is still this whole mystic involving pregnancy, and how you are able to kill/torture/maimed/mutate two birds with one stone. Basically its "how can we make it more gruesome / horrible?" "Let's make her pregnant, THAT always works"
  • December 12, 2013
    jatay3
    Cordelia and Alys in Cordelia's Honor. Cordelia has her son's Uterine Replicator held hostage by a rebel nobleman, and Alys has to give birth in the ghettos of a besieged city with said rebel nobleman's goons looking for her as a hostage and midwifed by a madman.
  • December 12, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Namespaced a couple of examples, sorted the folders alphabetically, corrected improper example identation in the Berserk example + added folder control.

    EDIT: Also, the Game Of Thrones example needs context.
  • December 12, 2013
    izaakren
    • A sixteen year old girl in The Rite was raped and impregnated by her father, causing a demon to posses her. During her exorcisms, the demon causes her body to do very disturbing and unnatural things. She is later sent to the hospital where both she and the fetus are killed by the demon.
  • December 12, 2013
    StarSword
    TV:
    • Star Trek Deep Space Nine:
      • In "Body Parts" Keiko O'Brien is badly injured in a shuttle accident, and Dr. Bashir is forced to transplant the unborn Kirayoshi O'Brien into Kira Nerys, the only other female present. In this case it was an Enforced Trope: In real life, Nana Visitor (Kira) was pregnant with Alexander Siddig's (Bashir) baby, and rather than find some way to Hide Your Pregnancy they wrote it into the script.
      • In "The Darkness and the Light" a Serial Killer targets the surviving members of Kira's old Bajoran resistance cell, eventually luring the very pregnant Kira to his hideout, stunning her, and then attempting to cut Kirayoshi out of her (the intent was to save the innocent baby and take revenge on Kira). She manages to turn the tables and shoot him.
    • The NCIS Christmas Episode "Newborn King" had the team defending a very pregnant Marine from mercenaries trying to get the baby, due to it being, if male, the only surviving heir to an Afghan tribe (she'd fallen in love with the previous heir, who was later killed by the Taliban). Gibbs ends up delivering the baby in a gas station while Ziva fights off the mercs in the next room.
  • December 12, 2013
    jatay3
    Related to Maternity Crisis.
  • December 12, 2013
    DAN004
    I once thought that "pregnant woman are protected by plot" (like Infant Immortality) but once I see this YKTTW... :P
  • December 13, 2013
    VoixOff
    The Game of Thrones one is a game-changing spoiler, so beware if you didn't went past book3/season3 and are planning to get there eventually: Game Of Thrones' plays it straighter than ever: At the infamous Red Wedding, Talisa is killed by being stabbed in the belly several times on camera, while Robb, the father, is watching. In the books, the character wasn't supposed to be present, let alone killed and you can't know for sure if she was pregnant or not. So the show fleshed out Talisa's role and added the whole pregnancy storyline only for the purpose of graphically slaughtering both mother and foetus
  • December 13, 2013
    Synchronicity
    ^That...can be less white.

    • Game Of Thrones: A pregnant character is stabbed multiple times in the belly at one point, obviously leading to the death of her and her child. For bonus points, the character is a Canon Foreigner note  , so the producers only added the pregnancy storyline for drama and gore points.

    Compare Mystical Pregnancy.
  • December 13, 2013
    StarSword
    Draft looks good. Have a hat.

    Video Games:
  • December 13, 2013
    lakingsif
    In What To Expect When Youre Expecting, Rebel Wilson's character tells her pregnant boss that her sister got herpes because of her pregnancy.
  • December 13, 2013
    lakingsif
    Oh, and Bella in Twilight Breaking Dawn.
  • December 13, 2013
    StarSword
    ^Not sure that counts: It's Bella's pregnancy itself that's endangering her. And that's a Zero Context Example anyway.
  • December 13, 2013
    Morgenthaler
    • In Aliens Vs Predator Requiem, the Predalien is completely indiscriminate in its victims, invading a maternity ward in the town's hospital and implanting pregnant women with its own xenomorph embryos.
  • December 18, 2013
    Sibuna
    • In The Hunger Games-Catching Fire, While Katniss wasn't actually pregnant, Peeta manages to enrage the capitol citizens by claiming that she was, right before the 75th Games started, trying to invoke this trope.
  • December 20, 2013
    Nithael
    Film
    • In the French horror movie Inside, a pregnant woman is attacked by a stranger who wants to steal her baby. With scissors. During Christmas Eve.
    • In Curse of Chucky, a pre- doll transformation Charles Lee Ray is seen stabbing a pregnant woman to cripple her unborn daughter after she rejected his advances.

  • December 21, 2013
    Morgenthaler
    • In the first Warlock movie, the Warlock threatens to kill a priest's pregnant wife along with the child she's carrying to get the information he wants. Presumably subverted because the priest ultimately caves in to the Warlock's demands, although we don't get to see if he did leave them unharmed.
  • April 20, 2014
    Morgenthaler
    • Blade's origin story from the Blade Trilogy involved his mother being attacked by a vampire when she was heavily pregnant, causing her to die on an operating table and the boy turning into a human-vampire hybrid. Blade swore to find the vampire who killed her to avenge her death. Near the end, Blade discovers that his mother is still alive after the vampire in question turned her, and it was actually Deacon Frost, the bad guy he had been pursuing the entire film.

  • April 20, 2014
    StarSword
    This has lapsed Up For Grabs. Snagging it and starting Rolling Updates.
  • April 20, 2014
    lakingsif
    The idiocy of Amidala deciding its a wonderful idea to head to Mustafa in Star Wars III count?
  • April 20, 2014
    StarSword
    ^Prob'ly.
  • April 20, 2014
    Tallens
    Contrast Pregnant Badass.

    • Stargate Atlantis: As Teyla neared the end of her pregnancy, Micheal kidnapped her to use her son as a testbed for his human-wraith hybrids. One Alternate Universe shows that had he finished his experiments, he would have created an army that would have effectively taken over the Pegasus Galaxy, but Teyla never saw it. In the proper time, the team manages to save Teyla and her baby.
  • April 20, 2014
    lakingsif
    Amy in season 7 (?) of Doctor Who, when she's kidnapped because the Silence's boss thinks that her unborn child could be a time lord. Not to mention all of the situations she ends up getting into with the Doctor, including her husband dying. Something like ten times.

    Oh, and in the episode "Amy's Choice", when. Er. One fake version of Amy is pregnant and trapped in a small town with aliens disguised as the elderly (again) ready to disintegrate everyone, but mostly her family. To get away, she drives a van into a cottage. And her husband dies. Three times. In one episode.
  • April 20, 2014
    DAN004
    Too close to Pregnant Hostage?
  • April 20, 2014
    StarSword
    ^More like the supertrope to Pregnant Hostage, since this also comprises accidents such as the thing with Keiko O'Brien.
  • April 21, 2014
    JonnyB
    In the Star Trek The Original Series episode "Friday's Child", a usurper named Ma'ab kills Aka'ar, the Teer (tribal king), in an attempted coup. He then demands Aka'ar's pregnant wife Eleen and her unborn son killed, as the unborn son is the true heir of succession, and Kirk, Spock and McCoy have to go on the run with Eleen to keep her safe.
  • April 21, 2014
    jatay3
    In Vorkosigan Saga, Alys Vorpatril while pregnant with the baby Ivan Vorpatril is stranded in besieged city held by a pretender desperately looking for distinguished hostages like Alys.
  • April 22, 2014
    woddor
    May lead to a Convenient Miscarriage.
  • April 22, 2014
    MasoTey
    This pops up occasionally in the romantic-suspense genre. One example is Carla Cassidy's Pregnesia: amnesiac widowed heroine, Good Samaritan hero, bad guys after the baby.
  • April 22, 2014
    StarSword
    ^General examples aren't allowed. Added the important part.
  • April 22, 2014
    Generality
    This is teased with Elayne in The Wheel Of Time, who gets impregnated in the ninth book. Thanks to a prophetic viewing, she is convinced her children can't be harmed and gets into trouble several times, finally coming to her senses after a particular wound runs dangerously close to her womb. Then things get brutal: during the climax of the last book, she runs afoul of a minor villain from previous books who intends to cut out her unborn twins and use magic to keep them alive until they can be offered to the Big Bad. He promises to rape her afterward. A timely plot device saves the day, however.
  • April 22, 2014
    Dalillama
    Also in The Vorkosigan Saga a pregnant Cordelia is attacked with a poisonous gas while pregnant. The aftereffects of the treatment that saved her life drive most of her son's life (Miles, the protagonist of most of the books, was dwarfed and crippled by the effects of it.)
  • April 23, 2014
    Ominae
    Live-Action TV

    • In Grimm, one of Sgt. Wu's Filipino friends gets attacked by an aswang, which nearly kills her fetus while she was sleeping. Nick and Hank were able to resolve the situation and save her again from the monster.
  • April 23, 2014
    IndirectActiveTransport
    If it overlaps with Pregnant Badass, why would you contrast it? I'd just say overlap, even if you can handle danger/peril does not change that it happens.
  • April 23, 2014
    StarSword
    ^Point, that. Changing it.
  • April 23, 2014
    StarSword
    Hats? Examples? Description thoughts?
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