Women have been getting pregnant since the beginning, and for many the only problems have to do with Wacky Cravings
, the expense of maternity clothes, and telling Aunt Pruthenia you're not
naming the baby after her.
But not always. The World Health Organization estimated in 1995 that eight million women had life-threatening complications from their pregnancies in that year alone, and over half a million of those women died.
In fiction, these are ignored. Unless the writer is planning a Very Special Episode
about a certain pregnancy complication, the pregnancy will be treated as routine. And to some extent this is justified by The Law of Conservation of Detail
— if pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, or ectopic pregnancy won't be making an appearance, why bring them up? However, if a female character is going through what should be a high-risk pregnancy and the risk is ignored, anyone who knows anything about human reproduction will think she and her OB/GYN are idiots.
A second form of this trope comes into play when there is a good chance of the baby having an inherited disease or disability. This one may get a little more play, thanks to Real Life
publicity about sickle-cell anemia ((note: many high-risk people get genetic testing done before the wedding)) and Down's Syndrome (more likely to result when the mother's older — see Sarah Palin
Aversions of the primary form of this trope can often result in Convenient Miscarriage
or Death by Childbirth
. It's related to Instant Birth, Just Add Water
and Out Giving Birth, Back in Two Minutes
, in both of which the birth
is treated as simpler than it should.
- The Neverwinter Nights 2 continuation fic Silver Wolf established that the Knight-Captain, a female aasimar, was pregnant throughout Mask of the Betrayer from the Optional Sexual Encounter with Casavir in the original campaign. After being queried by PM how she didn't miscarry due to not only fighting crazy battles during this time but also being technically soulless due to the Spirit-Eater curse, the author, a troper, went with the explanation of her being an epic-level character ((note:fluff-wise, starting to transcend the difference between mortals and gods)) with access to multiple high-level wizards and clerics.
- My Three Sons. Katie's triplets. She's a petite woman carrying three full-size, full-term babies. By rights, she should be enormous (and probably confined to bed rest in the late stages), but her baby bump is never unusually large, and she is not even ascertained as carrying multiples until very late-term (assumed twins, surprised by triplets). Perhaps explained by the need of the storyline not to telegraph the possibility of carrying multiples too early on, and the normal practice of using older (and larger) infants to represent the newborns on-camera.
- On Bones both Angela and Hodgens carry a recessive gene which gives their baby a 25% chance of being born blind, but it comes out fine.
- Belgariad. Polgara's pregnancy should trip this, considering that she's over 3000 years old and having her first pregnancy. The potential problems aren't mentioned by anyone, including Polgara herself (who's been acting as a midwife for most of those 3000 years, and should know the issues). One of the prequel novels suggests that sorcerers may mode lock themselves into the physical age they feel is appropriate; her ovaries may still be set to 16 years old. Doesn't explain why Polgara and Poledra just ignore the potential problems, though.
- Alluded to in The Novice's Tale by Margaret Frazier. When Thomasine overheard (in her backstory) a midwife commenting that Thomasine's hips were too narrow to give birth easily, she takes this as a sign that God always intended for her to become a nun.
- Lon Chaney was the child of two deaf parents. According to one Biopic, his wife Cleva was terrified that their child would be born deaf, so as soon as little Creighton (better known as Lon Chaney Jr) came home from the hospital they tried to wake him with loud noises.