Instant Birth, Just Add Water
A Pregnancy Trope
. The moment a pregnant woman's water breaks, FAZAM! Her vagina is now her baby's personal waterslide, and she's going to give birth right there, right then. Bonus points if 'right there' is somewhere extremely cramped, uncomfortable or inaccessible (say, an elevator
) and 'right then' is precisely when it will be least convenient for her or any other bystanders (such as when the aforementioned elevator has stopped working
). And don't expect Baby to wait for the situation to improve; as long as there's somebody there who's so much as witnessed a birth before
, it's ready to jump into that person's open arms.
Other variants include childbirth in the backseat of a car (taxis are quite popular for this purpose). Inevitably leads to a Screaming Birth
, often performed by someone with no medical training whatsoever
As with many tropes, this one has one foot in Truth in Television
— the water breaking is a reliable early indication that labor has started, and active labor can be quite a quick process (although also quite a slow one). However, the 'instant birth' part happens far more frequently on television than it does in real life, and in many real-life labors the amniotic sac remains intact until well into labor or even until birth. Likewise, in most of these fictitious situations, the woman's baby is her first
— which, on average, rarely
precedes a labor-period of less than twelve hours,
which would outlast almost any "crisis." On the other hand, there are documented cases of Real Life
second or third babies who begin to deliver so quickly that the mother barely has time to get into a bathtub
, let alone a backseat.
Usually combined with Clean Pretty Childbirth
. Not to be confused with Express Delivery
- Played straight in the Fullmetal Alchemist chapter "Miracle at Rush Valley," where Winry Rockbell delivers a baby based on her family's background in medicine and medical textbooks, before a doctor can even be reached. Edward is less than helpful.
- Also in the 2003 anime "Fullmetal Alchemist", where Edward himself (with absolutely no background) delivers the Hughes' daughter Elysia, when he is twelve years old.
- This happens in Chapter 13 of Extended Stay when the Mistress goes into labor at the altar during her and the Warden's wedding. However, this is subverted as she doesn't actually give birth at the altar right away. There's actually enough time for Warden to send Jailbot and NOVA out to find a doctor, for the robots to come back with said doctor, and for Mistress to be moved into another room where she eventually gives birth to brother-sister twins.
- Played straight in Gone. Diana gives at the bottom of a certain mineshaft, with hardly any assistance and not a lot of preparation either.
- Played straight during Reuben's birth in The Red Tent
- Averted in The Thrawn Trilogy. Leia is in a meeting when she feels her water go and excuses herself. She spends enough time in labor to get annoyed with the decor of the room she was set up in.
- Averted for Juna in The Color Of Distance. Water breaking is a sign certainly, and her alien friends make birth considerably easier and less painful than it could have been, but it's still a family event which takes time.
- When Queen Isabel births her last child in The Kingdom of Little Wounds, it almost slides out of her without effort because her body has done this so many times. She's had seven live children already and who knows how many miscarriages.
- One of the rescue missions in Gottlieb's Rescue 911 is "Stork", where the player must deliver a mother in the middle of childbirth to the emergency room.
- Ars Magica takes this to wizard-did-it extremes with a spell that instantly teleports the baby out of the womb. Justified in that the game is set in medieval Europe, where childbirth was a dangerous process for both the mother and child. One feels compelled to note that the rules allow an entrepreneurial mage to imbue the spell into a top hat...
- Avatar: The Last Airbender in the serpent's pass episode. Parts of the trope are averted - Katara is an experienced midwife and takes charge.
- Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs Ellie gives birth in the middle of a raptor fight, and only Diego, who knows nothing about delivering a baby, is present! Ellie screams and winces, and Peaches comes out already happy and sleepy, in one of the most exaggerated Hollywood births ever.
- Family Guy takes this trope literally when Peter and Brian sneak into a center for pregnant teens and put their hands in warm water while they're sleeping. They run from the room and laugh it up, until the sound of many crying babies are heard.
- Legendary Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev was born on a train traveling through Siberia. He was his mother's fourth child, and it was in 1938. Such births tend to be faster than first-timers, and hospitals were few and far-between at that time and place; likewise, a doctor was more likely to be on such a train than most other civilians (except for Dr. Zhivago, who missed his). In comparison, a normal passenger-jet today can circle almost half the globe, in the time than it takes for the average first-time childbirth.
- This baby girl was born on a plane going from Russia to Armenia. Her mother decided to name her after the flight attendant who delivered her.
- Ina May Gaskin is author of Spiritual Midwifery, a collection of "Amazing Birthing Tales" from the Tennessee commune "The Farm". She and her contributors chronicle a number of cases where the baby arrived before the midwife did — a midwife living within easy walking distance.
- With the advent of labour-inducing drugs, births can take only a few hours.