Created By: Folamh3 on May 15, 2014 Last Edited By: Folamh3 on July 10, 2014
Troped

Fake Pregnancy

A female character lies about being pregnant

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Trope
A female character lies about being pregnant. This can be done for a variety of reasons: perhaps the character is trying to get her boyfriend not to break up with her, perhaps (conversely) she is trying to scare her boyfriend off, perhaps she is trying to get another character to give her unofficial child support.

This can be (but isn't always) a sub-trope of The Baby Trap. Pillow Pregnancy is a sub-trope. Daddy DNA Test can be related. This trope can carry the Unfortunate Implications of presenting women as manipulative liars.


Examples

Anime and Manga
  • Urusei Yatsura: Early on, Lum shouts that she's pregnant while Ataru is trying to talk to Shinobu on the telephone. This is a deliberate attempt to disrupt the conversation and make Shinobu give up on Ataru.

Film
  • In Identity, Ginny confesses to her new husband that she lied about being pregnant immediately before he is murdered.
  • At the start of 8 Mile, Rabbit says his girlfriend might be pregnant. She later says she just said that in an effort to make him stay.
  • The entire plot of the Lindsay Lohan film Labor Pains. The main character lies about being pregnant so she won't be fired from her job.
  • In Saw VII, one of the women on a trap hurriedly fakes a pregnancy so that another man might spare her and kill others.
  • In Baby Mama Angie is hired to be Kate's surrogate. Angie thinks the pregnancy doesn't take, but fakes pregnancy symptoms and begins wearing a false tummy so she can get money and lodging out of Kate when her boyfriend kicks her out. And then subverted when she goes for an ultrasound and discovers she really is pregnant, although she thinks the baby isn't Kate's but her own by her ex.

Literature
  • A variant in The Hunger Games in which it's the guy who lies: when forced back into the Arena, Peeta decides to play up his and Katniss's Starcrossed Lovers schtick by announcing that she's pregnant, in order to increase sympathy from the Capitol residents.
  • Ghosts in the Yew by Blake Hausladen. A woman claims to be pregnant to explain her massive weight gain over the winter, and to elicit special treatment. It's a little unclear if she knows she's not telling the truth or if she honestly doesn't know how pregnancy works. (She hasn't had sex with her husband or any other man in over a year.)
  • Subverted in The Age of Innocence, May does this to Ellen, her husband's love interest, to drive her away. It turns out she really is pregnant, but she does not know at the time.
  • A character in the Kinsey Millhone novel "D" is for Deadbeat does this, hiding some jewels underneath a fake belly. Kinsey figures it out after finding tampons in the woman's purse.

Live-Action TV
  • Kelly in The Office (US) does this in an effort to get back together with Ryan after he breaks up with her to move to New York at the end of season 3.
  • Penelope attempts this on Reign so she wouldn't fall out of favor with King Henry, but Queen Catherine quickly gets rid of her.
  • In an episode Rules of Engagement, Audrey is Mistaken for Pregnant following a poorly phrased remark at work. Finding she enjoys the attention, she then fakes being pregnant while she attempts to become pregnant for real.
  • An episode of The George Lopez Show has Angie discover she's not pregnant, but kept the lie going so George wouldn't be depressed, as Carmen had recently left for college.
  • 3rd Rock from the Sun: When Sally visits a gynecologist for the first time all the other women there are pregnant, and in order to fit in she claims she's pregnant too - which comes as a shock to her boyfriend since they've never had sex.
  • In an episode of Sally Jesse Raphael a male-to-female transgender person was on and claimed to be pregnant.
  • On Nashville after Peggy told Teddy that she was pregnant, he proposed to her. Shortly before the wedding Peggy miscarried and was afraid that Teddy would back out of the marriage. She kept acting like she was still pregnant and after the wedding she faked a miscarriage. Teddy did not find out until Peggy was murdered.
  • On Revenge it was revealed that Victoria got Conrad to marry her by faking a pregnancy as part of a Baby Trap. After the wedding she faked a miscarriage. In the present Emily uses the same tactic when it looks like Daniel is going to back out of their upcoming marriage. She was planning to fake her own death right after the wedding but her plan backfired and an outraged Daniel shot her.
  • M*A*S*H. This was the subject of an episode that was ultimately never filmed, as at the time it was considered too risqué. The episode, entitled "Hawkeye on the Double," had Hawkeye seeing two different nurses behind each of their backs, and when the two found out about each other, they planned on getting back at him by both pretending to be pregnant with his child, and pressuring him into choosing which one of them to marry. The script for the episode is available as a special feature on DVD.
  • In Home and Away, when Reese discovered that Kirsty and Kane had got married, he yelled at them to give him a reason why their marriage should not be split up (Reese hated Kane). Kirsty yells at Reese that she is pregnant - a lie which she then has to maintain after Kane tells her how happy he is. Kirsty then later has to fake a miscarriage and then discovers later that she is genuinely pregnant.
  • Used every which way in a two-part Arrested Development storyline in which Michael Bluth's ex-fling Maggie Lizer not only pulls this on Michael to try and win him back, but also lies to two cops who have contracted her as a surrogate mother for their son and pawns the surrogacy off on a client so they can sue a local restaurant for causing the client's supposed "obesity." And then in The Stinger Maggie apparently learns she's actually pregnant thanks to one last romp with Michael in the preceding episode.
  • Unintentionally done by Topanga in Boy Meets World: a misunderstanding convinces everyone she's pregnant. She fesses up pretty quickly, though.
  • On Graceland Paige is looking for a drug dealer who has gone into hiding. She puts on a fake pregnancy belly and approaches the drug dealer's mother pretending to be the guy's pregnant girlfriend. The mother is not happy with the situation but reluctantly tells her where her son is hiding.

Theatre
  • In Chicago (both the theatre and film versions), Roxie Hart fakes a pregnancy in order to gain public attention and sympathy leading up to her murder trial.
  • In Oscar (and its film version) Lisa lies to her father about being pregnant so he will allow her to marry her boyfriend.

Video Game
  • Legend of Mana, in a minor quest, had a female penguin imply to her pirate boyfriend, who was about to go to sea for an extended period of time, that she had an egg. At the end of the quest, she says she was misunderstood and was only musing about the possibility of having an egg. Then, when he's out of earshot, she admits that she lied the second time and Just Wanted Her Beloved To Be Happy.

Web Original
  • One Cracked article (here) consists of an informal social experiment, in which the author set up a fictional dating profile for a thoroughly repellent, morally bankrupt (but very attractive) woman and observes how many men will overlook her numerous very obvious character flaws nevertheless. The fictional woman repeatedly alludes to lying to men about being pregnant, for various reasons.

Western Animation
  • In Archer, Uta the assassin desperately wanted to be pregnant, to the point where she began to believe she actually was pregnant and even wore a prosthetic pregnancy belly to assist in her delusion.

Community Feedback Replies: 34
  • May 15, 2014
    robinjohnson
    This often has Unfortunate Implications by presenting women as manipulative liars, especially when the character does this in order to keep her boyfriend or get him to marry her.

    • Kelly tells Ryan she's pregnant to try to stop him breaking up with her in the US version of The Office.
  • May 15, 2014
    DAN004
    Doesn't Pillow Pregnancy cover this already?
  • May 15, 2014
    robinjohnson
    ^ From the description of Pillow Pregnancy, it's specifically about physically faking pregnancy by putting a pillow up your jumper.
  • May 15, 2014
    Folamh3
    Yes, that's exactly the distinction.
  • May 15, 2014
    Synchronicity
    Literature
    • Subverted on The Hunger Games in which it's the guy who lies: When forced back into the Arena, Peeta decides to play up his and Katniss's Starcrossed Lovers schtick by announcing that she's pregnant in order to increase sympathy from the Capitol residents.

    Live Action TV
    • Penelope attempts this on Reign so she wouldn't fall out of favor with King Henry, but Queen Catherine quickly gets rid of her.

    Compare The Baby Trap.
  • May 15, 2014
    Folamh3
    ^ The Hunger Games example isn't a subversion but a variant.
  • May 16, 2014
    Arivne
    • Added blank line(s) for readability.
    • Blue Linked Examples media section titles(s).
    • Deleted unnecessary blank line(s).
  • May 17, 2014
    abateman
    In the first season of Glee, Terri Schuester actually believes she is pregnant for a short time. When she finds out she actually is not, she decides to keep pretending due to the improvements in her marriage that the pregnancy brought about. However, when the lie is discovered in Episode 12 "Mattress", it effectively ends the relationship between her and Will and relegates her to minor character status for the remainder of the series.
  • May 17, 2014
    abateman
    In Chicago/Chicago (Both the Live Theater and Film versions), Roxie Hart fakes a pregnancy in order to gain public attention and sympathy leading up to her murder trial.
  • May 17, 2014
    JonnyB
    In Archer, Uta the assassin desperately wanted to be pregnant, to the point where she began to believe she actually was pregnant and even wore a prosthetic pregnancy belly to assist in her delusion.
  • May 17, 2014
    HeroicJay
    Legend Of Mana, in a minor quest, had a female penguin imply to her pirate boyfriend, who was about to go to sea for an extended period of time, that she had an egg. At the end of the quest, she says she was misunderstood and was only musing about the possibility of having an egg. Then, when he's out of earshot, she admits that she lied the second time and Just Wanted Her Beloved To Be Happy.
  • May 18, 2014
    Daefaroth
    Theatre/Film:
    • In Oscar Lisa lies to her father about being pregnant so he will allow her to marry her boyfriend.
  • May 18, 2014
    foxley
    In an episode Rules Of Engagement, Audrey is Mistaken For Pregnant following a poorly phrased remark at work. Finding she enjoys the attention, she then fakes being pregnant while she attempts to become pregnant for real.
  • May 18, 2014
    HellKillUsAll
    • An episode of The George Lopez Show has Angie discover she's not pregnant, but kept the lie going so George wouldn't be depressed, as Carmen had recently left for college.
  • May 18, 2014
    randomsurfer
    Third Rock From The Sun: When Sally visits a gynecologist for the first time all the other women there are pregnant, and in order to fit in she claims she's pregnant too - which comes as a shock to her boyfriend since they've never had sex.
  • May 19, 2014
    lakingsif
    Not a Sub Trope of The Baby Trap, as that's specifically having or otherwise pretending to have a kid to keep their partner. This isn't always, as per the description.
  • May 19, 2014
    Folamh3
    Right you are, I'll amend the description.
  • May 19, 2014
    SKJAM
    • Urusei Yatsura: Early on, Lum shouts that she's pregnant while Ataru is trying to talk to Shinobu on the telephone. This is a deliberate attempt to disrupt the conversation and make Shinobu give up on Ataru.
    • Ghosts in the Yew by Blake Hausladen. A woman claims to be pregnant to explain her massive weight gain over the winter, and to elicit special treatment. It's a little unclear if she knows she's not telling the truth or if she honestly doesn't know how pregnancy works. (She hasn't had sex with her husband or any other man in over a year.)
  • May 19, 2014
    paycheckgurl
    • The entire plot of the Lindsay Lohan film Labor Pains. The main character lies about being pregnant so she won't be fired from her job.
  • May 19, 2014
    LordHerobrine
    • In Saw VII, one of the women on a trap hurridly fakes a pregnancy so that another man might spare her and kill others.
  • May 19, 2014
    randomsurfer
    In an episode of Sally Jesse Raphael a male-to-female transgender person was on and claimed to be pregnant.
  • May 20, 2014
    nielas
    • On Nashville after Peggy told Teddy that she was pregnant, he proposed to her. Shortly before the wedding Peggy miscarried and was afraid that Teddy would back out of the marriage. She kept acting like she was still pregnant and after the wedding she faked a miscarriage. Teddy did not find out until Peggy was murdered.

    • On Revenge it was revealed that Victoria got Conrad to marry her by faking a pregnancy as part of a Baby Trap. After the wedding she faked a miscarriage. In the present Emily uses the same tactic when it looks like Daniel is going to back out of their upcoming marriage. She was planning to fake her own death right after the wedding but her plan backfired and an outraged Daniel shot her.
  • There's Truth In Television behind this. Because teen pregnancies are such a problem in Real Life in this day and age, there's often social experiments done, when a girl or woman who looks young enough to pass for a teenager, will act as a guinea pig and pretend to be pregnant - sometimes for a full nine months - and document how she is treated by her classmates and peers about being pregnant (and often, there are hidden cameras). It appears in most of these experiments, while a small number of other students may help her if certain tasks are too physically demanding for her, most other students gossip about and harass her behind her back.

    There's also a hidden camera Web Original prank series on You Tube, I don't remember the name of it, but it had two separate webisodes where a girl faked being pregnant, then went around and asked various different guys (and on one occasion, a girl too) if they wanted to have sex with her. One webisode she asked only white people, and almost all of them instantaneously turned her down; the other webisode she asked only black people, and while some of them did turn her away, most of the others jumped at the opportunity (even though one of them was with his girlfriend).
  • June 30, 2014
    TheHandle
    Music
    • Billie Jean's not my lover, she's just a girl who claims that I am the one, but the kid is not my son. Hee-hee!
  • June 30, 2014
    Folamh3
    ^ That would be an example of The Baby Trap, as Billie Jean apparently did have a child, it's just that Jackson wasn't the father.
  • June 30, 2014
    yisfidri
    Literature
    • In The Age Of Innocence, May does this to Ellen, her husband's love interest, to drive her away. It turns out she really is pregnant, but she does not know at the time.
  • Live Action TV
    • MASH. This was the subject of an episode that was ultimately never filmed for the series for being considered too risque at the time. The episode entitled "Hawkeye on the Double," had Hawkeye seeing two different nurses, behind each of their backs, and when the two find out about each other, they plan on getting back at him by both pretending to be pregnant with his child, and pressuring him into choosing which one of them to marry. The script for the episode is available as a special feature on DVD.
  • July 4, 2014
    triassicranger
    I thought we had this one. Anyway:

    Live Action Television
    • In Home And Away, when Reese discovered that Kirsty and Kane had got married, he yelled at them to give him a reason why their marriage should not be split up (Reese hated Kane). Kirsty yells at Reese that she is pregnant - a lie which she then has to maintain after Kane tells her how happy he is. Kirsty then later has to fake a miscarriage and then discovers later that she is genuinely pregnant.
  • July 4, 2014
    OmarKarindu
    • Used every which way in a two-part Arrested Development storyline in which Michael Bluth's ex-fling Maggie Lizer not only pulls this on Michael to try and win him back, but also lies to two cops who have contracted her as a surrogate mother for their son and pawns the surrogacy off on a client so they can sue a local restaurant for causing the client's supposed "obesity." And then in The Stinger Maggie apparently learns she's actually pregnant thanks to one last romp with Michael in the preceding episode.
  • July 8, 2014
    Paycheckgurl
    Thought of another one: In Baby Mama Angie is hired to be Kate's surrogate. Angie thinks the pregnancy doesn't take, but fakes pregnancy symptoms and begins wearing a false tummy so she can get money and lodging out of Kate when her boyfriend kicks her out. And then subverted when she goes for an ultrasound and discovers she really is pregnant, although she thinks the baby isn't Kate's but her own by her ex.
  • July 8, 2014
    JoeG
    • A character in the Kinsey Millhone novel "D" is for Deadbeat does this, hiding some jewels underneath a fake belly. Kinsey figures it out after finding tampons in the woman's purse.
  • July 8, 2014
    Statzkeen
    Can also carry the implication that men are afraid of commitment and/or parenthood.
  • July 10, 2014
    TheShadow
  • July 10, 2014
    nielas
    • On Graceland Paige is looking for a drug dealer who has gone into hiding. She puts on a fake pregnancy belly and approaches the drug dealer's mother pretending to be the guy's pregnant girlfriend. The mother is not happy with the situation but reluctantly tells her where her son is hiding.

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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=phs5bthhomfadn0iwva84g93&trope=FakePregnancy