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Convenient Miscarriage

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They're at a loss for words after what just happened.

In television, pregnancies are more likely to end in a recognized miscarriage than they do in real life. What's a female character to do when she discovers she is pregnant? It would not be too controversial for television writers to suggest an abortion, but it would be if she were actually to have one, since Good Girls Avoid Abortion. In the end, she'll make her mind up to have the baby, if it's not what she decided ought to happen in the first place, but it will not happen, because the plot of an ongoing series would change too much if her character had to be rewritten to include raising an infant (to say nothing of creating a new character from scratch and finding suitable child actors for it, and remember that this is a completely irrevocable change).

So the writers employ the Reset Button by having her miscarry, often by falling down a flight of stairs. This trope is limited to serial works, where reverting to a status quo is more important than advancing a plot. Therefore, miscarriages are less common in non-serial works, and even when they do happen it's not a Reset Button. A common variation is for a character (usually a main character's girlfriend) to say that they've miscarried, only for The Reveal to come later that the baby was born, perfectly fine. Whether or not this gets picked up again depends on how tied the writers are to the status quo. More severe critics cite the trope as a cheap source of drama for female characters, whose most important dilemmas always end up as highlighting their femininity.

Keep in mind that this may be Truth in Television; about 15% of known pregnancies end in a miscarriage. Some studies, which use the most sophisticated and sensitive tests for pregnancy to detect it almost immediately, long before most commercial tests or the woman is likely to realize she's pregnant, indicate that 70 to 80% of successfully fertilized eggs will miscarry or fail to implant on the uterine wall in the first place. Sometimes the woman also wanted an abortion — but in most cases, the woman didn't even know she was pregnant; the fertilized egg simply fails to implant (or disintegrates upon implantation) and she either has a perfectly normal period or one that is slightly late and slightly heavier than normal.

However, if a woman wants to have a child, this trope probably doesn't exist to them. If they do have a miscarriage, it's usually a Double Subversion of the Law of Inverse Fertility.

It should be noted that there are other ways of resolving a pregnancy storyline without adding a baby to the regular cast that don't involve killing off an unborn or newly born child. For example:

  • The character carries the pregnancy to term and gives birth successfully. However, she is unable (or unwilling) to raise the child herself and places it in the care of someone else. Whether the child is ever mentioned again after this depends on how strictly the Status Quo Is God rule is enforced.

  • The character was never actually pregnant in the first place. She may have been faking it, though, unless she admits to doing so, this can lead to her faking a miscarriage to cover up for the fact that no baby is forthcoming. Alternatively, another character may have overheard her say something which gave the impression that she was pregnant when she wasn't. Or she may have thought she was pregnant, only for the test to come back negative.

A subtrope of The Plot Reaper. Compare with Tragic Stillbirth, Premature Birth Drama, and Forced Miscarriage. Contrast Abortion Fallout Drama.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Berserk offers a non-Reset Button variant. Casca became pregnant at the beginning of the Griffith rescue arc but the knowledge of it only came up after the Eclipse happened, where Casca was brutally raped to insanity by the newly-demonic Griffith, and the trauma of it caused her to miscarry the fetus. However, since it was tainted with evil because of what Griffith did to her, the fetus - often referred to as the Child - survived the miscarriage and continued to be a presence in the story. This also happens to be mixed with Plot Armor, as several women throughout Berserk have been brutally raped by demons and monsters and impregnated as a result but none were as lucky as Casca to be given the "luxury" of miscarrying said fetus before it came to term...
  • Sae - the malicious frenemy of the leading female in high school drama Peach Girl - falls pregnant only after she conveniently gets attacked. It turns out her pregnancy was a phantom one.

    Comic Books 
  • The Batman comic Batman: Son of the Demon uses the variation. Batman joins up with his Well-Intentioned Extremist enemy Ra's al Ghul, marries his daughter, Talia al Ghul, and gets her pregnant. Talia decides that to defend her and the baby would hold Batman back from his mission, and fakes the miscarriage; the last we see is their son, in an orphanage, holding the necklace Bruce gave to Talia. This story was retroactively declared an Elseworld and then retconned right back to being canon years later when Talia presented Bruce with his son Damian, now 10 years old.
  • In an arc of Captain America, the title character's sometimes-girlfriend Agent Sharon Carter of S.H.I.E.L.D. discovered that she was pregnant. She was then taken captive by Red Skull and, after a fight, was found stabbed in the abdomen. The next issue revealed that she had done it to herself to keep her baby away from the Skull. No one blames her. (It's hinted that Red Skull was going to use her baby as his new body.)
  • Concrete: In The Human Dilemma, Larry impregnates a one-night-stand while cheating on his fiancée. She miscarries the same day they had planned to talk over their options and future, and she hysterically and somewhat self-aware-ly notes he's "off the hook".
  • Nocturne from Exiles who not only lost her child between issues but did any grieving there as well. One issue the father is put into a coma while punching out Galacticus and has to be left behind when the Exiles move on. In the next issue, someone asks her about why she's not showing yet and she informs them that she 'lost it 5 worlds ago and She's glad because what sort of crappy situation is this to bring a child into?'. The baby isn't mentioned again until the father comes out of his coma and the second thing Nocturne says to him is 'I lost the baby' (the first is "You're Alive!" In between, it was strongly implied that she had actually either gotten an abortion or used her powers to perform the abortion herself.
  • One of the oddest occurred in Robotech: Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles. Mainly written to bridge plot points between the end of the TV series and the film Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles, the comic worked some rather sudden changes on several characters (killing them off, etc.). Perhaps the most Anvilicious was Admiral Lisa Hunter from the original Macross segment of Robotech. Due to a space battle in which she is commanding one of the ships involved (while pregnant!), she loses her baby and later steps down from military command. This is rather confusing because Admiral Rick Hunter, her husband, only shows up in one brief shot, and Lisa herself not at all. Even more confusing, there had been no canonical evidence that she was pregnant before that sequence; it picks up where the comic book version of Sentinels left off (with Kyle being killed and Minmay kidnapped)) and the main reason for the miscarriage seems to have been to shock Rick into having white hair, to distance his design from that of Hikaru's, which, due to the current status of the court ruling on the Macross IP, Harmony Gold can not use in derivative animation.
    • That said, the PTTSC miniseries did tend to incorporate elements of the now dubiously canon Robotech novels (as a nod to older fans), which had Rick and Lisa have a son later on. Max and Miria's psychic Messianic Archetype daughter Aurora was retconned into their hotshot ace pilot daughter Maia, so the details are not always important...
  • Spider-Man:
    • Mary Jane in the comics, as part of Marvel's constant effort to keep Spidey young. It was revealed that the baby had actually been born healthy and spirited away, but we never saw any more of this plot, except in the MC2 Alternate Continuity, where said baby eventually became Spider-Girl.
    • One More Day upped the ante when Mephisto revealed to the couple the wonderful daughter they WOULD have had if they hadn't made their deal with him. Boy, it's like Spider-Man and everyone close to him aren't allowed to catch a break.
    • Mary Jane's pregnancy was originally supposed to tie in to The Clone Saga. At the time, Peter was going to be revealed as a clone and not the real Peter. Since Peter wasn't the real Peter anymore, this allowed the writers to get around the problem of a baby making Peter too old, but later Marvel changed their minds about Peter being the clone because the fans complained about it. If there had been no complaints, Pete and MJ would have had their baby and been Put on a Bus, and all storylines afterwards wouldn't have included them at all.
  • In Love and Rockets, Hopey has a Convenient Miscarriage after accidentally getting pregnant through a drunken three-way. The actual description of it is her narration, though, so it's just possible that it wasn't a miscarriage.
  • Subverted in Cerebus the Aardvark. Jaka, Cerebus' love interest, reunites with him after a long separation, only to tell him that she is now married and expecting a child. Cerebus is angry, but eventually relents and gives her some money for the baby. When he next sees her, her pregnancy is seemingly handwaved away with a single line about a miscarriage. It looks like Jaka has fallen victim to this trope... until the end of the story arc, where we learn that Jaka did not miscarry, she had an abortion behind her husband's back. This leads to the end of her marriage, and to her eventually getting back together with Cerebus. In the world where Cerebus takes place, abortion is very, very illegal, and while Jaka's husband did want to have a child, her main motivation for lying to him was to protect him from criminal liability if she was found out.
  • A disturbing example occurs with Erishad, a minor character in Lucifer; she's an immortal who appears to be a young woman, and is going to some pretty extreme lengths to end her immortality and thus her life. When one of the other minor characters asks her why immortality is so terrible, she explains: every morning her body is reset to one day of her mortal life, so she has had the same miscarriage every day for four thousand years.
  • Edie in The Invisibles carries the roaring twenties on by herself until 1933, when she's surprised by the consequences of her colorful sex life bouncing down the stairs of Fortnum & Mason.
  • The Incredible Hulk: Betty Ross got hit with this one due to Executive Meddling; writer Peter David had the story of the birth already plotted out, but editorial vetoed the Hulk having kids. He refused to write the miscarriage himself, and a fill-in author had to do the job instead, having Nightmare kill her and Bruce's unborn baby.
  • A variant in the Season 9 comics of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy discovers she's pregnant. She considers the possibility of raising a child as a slayer, and ultimately decides on having an abortion, but, before she can go through with it, it's revealed that Buffy had her mind transplanted into a robot's body, and she was never actually pregnant in the first place.
  • Subverted by Hawkeye and Mockingbird, who underwent one of these during their marriage; the reader didn't find out about the pregnancy at all until years after it was over, and the miscarriage didn't manage to maintain the status-quo - the couple divorced afterward.
  • Defied in Saga. Alana's miscarriage just causes further problems for herself and her family. The stillborn fetus can't exit her body naturally and so begins having an adverse effect on her health, and it having been a hybrid of two species at war with each other means she and her husband have to seek out extremely off-the-grid doctors who won't ask any questions about them.

    Fan Works 
  • This happens quite a lot in fanfiction - a character gets pregnant for drama purposes, often with the wrong person from rape. They get to go through all the trauma of being pregnant for a little while. Then the writer, having decided they don't want to have the character have a baby (they don't want to take away the character's freedom, or they don't want to write for a baby), gives them a miscarriage for even more drama.
    • A classic example in the Law & Order: UK fanfic "Choices" that has CP Alesha Philips conceiving as a result of her rape. When she decides to keep the baby, DS Matt Devlin offers to step in as the baby's father. When she miscarries, it draws them even closer, with Matt outright offering to light a candle, "for our baby", thus playing this trope twice—not only does Alesha not have to carry her rapist's baby, losing it makes her and Matt realize how much they love each other.
  • The spiritual predecessor of Nobody Dies, Walking in the Shadow of Dreams, had Canon!Rei deciding that she wants babies (due to ND!Rei's interference) and targets Kensuke as the father. After putting her superhuman stamina to good use, she finally scores...then one day in the first trimester, she suddenly starts menstruating with very painful contractions. Turns out Ritsuko underestimated the chance of the instability of her genetic structure causing an immune reaction - in other words, she miscarried because the father is a human and she's not. It left her permanently traumatized. This contradicts canon which makes a subtle hint that Canon!Rei's sterile.
    • It is unknown (at least so far) if the rewrite of this fic will take this angle or move in a different direction; the setup has been incorporated.
  • In How I Became Yours 15-year-old Katara's baby with Zuko is a stillbirth because of a poisoned fruit delivered by Mai. It's supposed to be a Moral Event Horizon for Mai and a dramatic moment for Katara, but it falls flat because Mai had a pretty good reason to do it (mainly, political fallout from having a bastard heir) even if it wasn't a nice one and the fact that all it does for Katara is provide cheap Wangst.
  • Twice this happened to Deanna Patterson in The New Retcons. The first was a result of But We Used a Condom!, the second was very much wanted. Both might have happened because Millborough, the main characters' hometown, was built on top of a nuclear dump site, which has left adverse effects on its citizens, including birth defects and miscarriages.
  • Played with in Gensokyo 20XX, in Ran's case, in that she gives birth in litters and tends to lose some, as well as the fact that technically what she's having are miscarriages, being stillbirths. Of course, if looked at from a certain perspective, these could be caused by outside sources in that their circumstances, at the time, were not necessarily environmentally/ circumstantially permissive to pregnancy or it could be that her body might not be made for carrying a large litter, possibly justifying this trope. Nevertheless, she gets grief over it.
    • On the other hand, in the Gensokyo Diaries tie-in, with Sakuya, who pursued a romance and ends up unknowingly pregnant but miscarries, finding out she's pregnant only after going to the doctor over the symptoms there of.
  • My Brave Pony: Starfleet Magic: In the fifth "season", a column collapses onto Cadance, killing her baby when she was only a few weeks away from giving birth, just so the author can punish her some more for being Happily Married. According to this Tweet, Mykan originally intended to write Cadance getting pregnant then miscarrying when a possessed Shining Armor kicks her.
  • In Flam Gush, Lina and Gourry finally get their acts together only for a string of framings, assassination attempts, hostages, and unpleasant meetings to pop up. Lina is taken prisoner and nearly kills herself from magical exhaustion breaking free. She finds out at the end that she was a few weeks pregnant and miscarried. The knowledge doesn't break her much, but it unsettles her and it is unknown if she ever tells Gourry.
  • In The Dark Lady, the Black Fairy sets the Dark Castle on fire in order to stage an "accidental" miscarriage with Belle - who did not even know she was pregnant at the time - as an ingredient to the spell that frees her from the Dark Realm.
  • In the NUMB3RS story Kidnapped Amita is found out to be pregnant while being held hostage and after she is rescued it turns out to it was twins but she ends up losing one of them due to the situation. They name the remaining twin Atal, which means inevitable.
  • Perfect Diamond World: Iris ends up pregnant by her lover Tycho. The problem is that he loves her, but she doesn't feel the same (she is only using him, plus she's a lesbian). She worries if having parents in a loveless relationship is best for the baby. All this thinking is moot because she ends up losing the pregnancy to infection after being shot. Or not. Iris actually lied and ran off with her son because she doesn't care about Tycho.
  • Khaos Omega has only used this in one story, the second of three 'Rainbow 18' stories, as part of the actual plot; prostitute-turned-Rainbow Angel Roxanne Mazaki is forced to miscarry twice, with the second triggering an energy beacon that leads Jet to her. 'Delta Wyvern', the third of the trio, makes the most prominent reference to this as the reason its own main prostitute-turned-Rainbow Angel character, Jasmine Levesque, acquires an XQ device enabling her to avoid what led to Roxanne's miscarriages.
  • In If You Ever Cared To Ask, Nyoko is only thirteen when she finds herself pregnant. However, it turns out she's experiencing an ectopic pregnancy, which almost kills her on her fourteenth birthday when one of her fallopian tubes ruptures and has to be terminated for her sake. The non-viable pregnancy itself is only convenient in a narrative sense. Otherwise, it's considered anything but.

  • In Fools Rush In, Salma Hayek's character tells her lover that she's miscarried their child who is later born on the Hoover Dam.
  • Subverted in The Godfather Part II: Kay, the wife of Michael Corleone, apparently suffers this trope, only for it to be revealed later that she aborted the child, out of hate towards her criminal husband. However, some argue that her "confession" is a lie meant to hurt Michael.
  • Citizen Ruth is about a drug addict who gets pregnant and is fought over by Pro-Life and Pro-Choice groups who both want to use her as a pawn to further their respective causes. Thanks to this trope, neither wins.
  • Happens, textbook, in Singles.
  • Subverted in The Last Emperor. The Emperor is told by Japanese officials that the child his wife gave birth to (which she conceived with their driver in an attempt to give the Emperor an heir) was stillborn. The truth (which the Emperor probably suspected) is that the child was born healthy and was quickly murdered in an attempt to cover up the affair.
  • Crossroads features Mimi as a pregnant girl, who falls down some stairs and loses the baby. Of course, she was also confronted with her date rapist who was also her friend Kit's fiancé beforehand. Slightly unusual in that she had (some semblance of) a plan to raise it and was 6 or 7 months pregnant, making it technically a stillbirth (the line is at about five and a half months).
  • In the backstory of Sweet Home Alabama, Melanie and Jake got married right out of high school after Melanie got pregnant. It's implied that she had a miscarriage at some point after that ("I guess Mother Nature had other plans"), which allowed her to leave for New York and pursue her career as a fashion designer.
  • In High Crimes, Tom and Claire have been trying for a baby for a while and Claire finally gets pregnant, but miscarries the baby following an ambush attack on her car. In a Twist Ending, Tom turns out to have been the killer all along after Claire spent the whole movie trying to exonerate him from the massacre of village peasants in El Salvador. Tom is killed by the El Salvadorian witness to the crimes. This means that Claire doesn't have to raise a baby alone and also doesn't have to raise a baby who will remind her of her husband's crimes and betrayal, in a bittersweet way.
  • Played with in August Rush. Lyla wants to keep her baby, but her father has other plans for her and tells her that she lost the baby after being in an accident. He lied.
  • In What to Expect When You're Expecting, the only woman who became pregnant from a one-night stand, rather than as part of an established couple, is also the only character to miscarry.
  • In A Kid Like Jake, Alex and Greg get pregnant with their second child. Due to the stress of their son's behavior, Alex ends up miscarrying. This leads to a fight that lets Alex and Greg vent out their frustration, which in the end leads them to a mutual conclusion that their son Jake should see a therapist.

  • Older Than Radio: Fanny Hill (1748). But then, Fanny is strongly suspected to be an Unreliable Narrator. She's just been dumped by her lover (whose father has sent him on a world tour to detach him from her), she's pregnant, and she owes an astronomical sum to her landlady. Her only possible source of income is prostitution, but that would have been impossible in 1748 while pregnant. Moreover, her landlady is a "wise woman" - that is, an abortionist.
  • Used in the Sword of Truth series. Despite Shota's warnings that a child born of Richard and Kahlan would bring about a cataclysmic disaster, they go ahead and get pregnant. (They had an artifact to prevent conception which failed to work as advertised.) Soon afterward, Kahlan is struggling over drinking a miscarriage potion and finally decides against it, pouring it away. However, she is then beaten by a gang of thugs to an inch of her life, losing the baby anyway.
  • In Robin McKinley's Deerskin, the female protagonist is raped by her father and then subsequently miscarries. In the middle of the wilderness. In a hut half-buried in the snow. This book doesn't just Break the Cutie, it tries to tear her psyche apart.
    • Convenient Miscarriage, however, is averted—while the third or fourth week is akin to a heavy period (and is ridiculously easy to trigger, hence the trope), miscarriage in the later terms of pregnancy is painful.
    • Also a Justified Trope; given what the character had gone through up to that point, it was amazing that the pregnancy lasted as long as it did.
  • Alice Series has Pamela get pregnant by her boyfriend in Almost Alice. None of the girls really discuss options because they are too freaked out about this sudden drop of reality and responsibility until Alice pretty much forces Pamela to at least tell her mother. Her mother discusses options with Pamela, including abortion or adoption, but Pamela can't deal with it and just wishes she wasn't pregnant to begin with. When she's about four weeks along, she ends up having a convenient miscarriage that took all decision-making from her.
  • Cat in The War of the Flowers miscarries near the beginning, which leads to her breaking up with Theo and demolishing the remainder of his life to leave him no real ties to hold him in our world when Applecore shows up to take him to Faerie. The miscarriage was anything but accidental, however.
  • Near the end of the Friday the 13th spin-off novel Hate-Kill-Repeat, the teenage protagonist, who had earlier discovered she was pregnant, miscarries when Jason nonchalantly punches her in the stomach.
  • Happens off-stage to Diana Villiers in Patrick O'Brian's The Surgeon's Mate.
  • Played in-universe in The Hunger Games. In Catching Fire, Katniss pretends to be pregnant in order to gain sympathy in the Quarter Quell. However, when she has to become the face of the rebellion in Mockingjay, pregnancy would be inconvenient (and it would become obvious after a while that she was not really pregnant), so Katniss and the other rebels Hand Wave this as a Convenient Miscarriage.
  • Molly Murphy, in the turn of the century detective series by Rhys Bowen, discovers she's pregnant in one book and plans to get an abortion. However, she backs out at the last minute and miscarries at the end of the book.
  • Stephen King does this twice:
    • In Rose Madder, Norm causes Rosie to miscarry by punching her in the abdomen several times.
    • Carrie may have caused Sue Snell to miscarry Tommy's baby. It's ambiguous whether Sue was actually pregnant or her period was just late.
  • In the Sweet Valley University series, Steven's girlfriend Billie has one of these just when it was looking like she might finally decide to go through with an abortion.
  • Subverted in Newes from the Dead Anne is pregnant out of wedlock and tried an abortion, which didn't work. After giving up on it she miscarries several days later. That would be convenient... except it happens while she's supposed to be working, there is blood everywhere, Anne is too upset to think of a lie to explain all of it, and even though the miscarried fetus is not nearly large enough to be alive, she is accused of infanticide.
  • In the Left Behind series, Hattie Durham is carrying Nicolae Carpathia's child. However, she is also suffering from being poisoned and fears that the child will be killed. As it turns out, she ends up delivering an undeveloped stillborn child which was soon after disposed of to prevent further contamination, though the Tribulation Force doctor who does the delivery contracts the poison and ends up dying.
  • A Boy Made of Blocks: A year ago, Emma ended up pregnant from a fling. Her miscarriage came as a relief since she was living in a beach hut at the time. But it also affected her so badly that she spent two days crying and wanting her mum to take care of her.
  • Subverted in The Year of the Rat. Ksyuta miscarries after a Savrian occupant gets her pregnant. She is relieved about it, but seventeen years pass, and she has changed her mind, as she is aging, desperately lonely, and wishes she could have someone to call a family.
  • Air Awakens: In book five Vhalla does not even know she's pregnant, she thinks her lack of periods is due to insufficient food, exhaustion, and stress. And then she makes a trade with Vi and as a result loses the baby. Her friend Elecia, who deals with the aftermath as a healer, claims it was a blessing in disguise, since Vhalla and Aldrik haven't wed yet so the child would have been suspected to be a bastard.
  • My Sweet Audrina has Vera suffer one just a few pages after announcing the pregnancy and the miscarriage is brought on by a fall that wasn't even that serious. Vera is heartbroken as she hoped that the baby would convince Lamar to take her with him to New York. Her mother, on the other hand, is relieved and completely unsympathetic, only telling Vera to make sure she cleans up the blood so it won't stain the rug.
  • The Japanese Lover: Alma becomes pregnant after Encounters with her illicit lover, Ichimei. She marries her cousin Nathaniel, but she miscarriages in her fifth month. Eventually she and her husband have a child of their own.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Dasha miscarries between the second and third seasons of 1941 (2009), averting a great deal of personal and romantic drama. Perhaps justified, as it is wartime and she's suffering privation and danger running for her life in the remote Russian wilderness from Nazis.
  • An episode of All in the Family before Gloria and Mike successfully had a baby featured Gloria finding out she was pregnant and then losing the baby almost immediately afterward. Interestingly, in the spinoff Maude, the title character did have an abortion. The episode ended with her simply making the decision with no abortion scene, but the episode was still incredibly controversial.
  • Arrow: Ollie thinks this happened to a girl he knocked up several years before the start of the show; he even comments (though visibly upset) on how lucky he was to dodge the baby bullet. In actuality, Moira paid the girl $2 million to lie about losing the baby, move away, and never contact Ollie again.
  • On As the World Turns, teenager Liberty Ciccone, herself the product of a teen pregnancy, becomes pregnant. After waffling for several months over getting an abortion, raising the child herself, giving the child up for adoption, or letting her mother raise the baby, Liberty has decided to get an abortion, probably. Maybe. Anyway, then she gets tackled by an errant football player and has a miscarriage.
  • Caprica-Six and Saul Tigh in Battlestar Galactica with their son (Wil)Liam, possibly due to Tigh switching affections from Six back to his real wife Ellen. Apparently, Cylons need love to breed).
  • Beverly Hills, 90210: Kelly became pregnant with her and Brandon's child, and after a full episode of coming to terms with it, she lost the baby. Conversely, Kelly's actress, Jennie Garth, however, was actually pregnant with her first child around the same time (which was hidden from the audience).
  • Sarah Hendrickson in Big Love.
  • In the recent short-lived Bionic Woman remake, the same car accident that leads to Jamie becoming bionic also causes her to miscarry. The offhandedness of it has led to some fairly… interesting WMGs.
  • Margaret in Boardwalk Empire gets beaten so severely by her husband (in the first episode) that she loses her baby. This isn't really to avoid her having children (she already had two); it's probably more so that Nucky had an incentive to order a hit on Hans, and so that she and Nucky could get to a sexual relationship that much quicker.
  • Lorna in the series Bomb Girls, though she is an older woman.
  • Kitty in Brothers & Sisters, although she never considered an abortion, miscarried her pregnancy very early, resulting in her then-fiancé not having to deal with being a Republican presidential candidate expecting out of wedlock.
  • For a series so heavily concerned with childbirth and the ways it affects people's lives, and tending towards neat endings, Call the Midwife could be forgiven for employing this a lot more but rarely does. One plot line saw a young man's dilemma of choosing between marrying his pregnant girlfriend or going to university effectively solved by her miscarrying.
  • Chicago Med: April gets pregnant with her relatively new boyfriend Tate's baby. The two quickly become engaged and seem happy to start their family, but have constant fights about whether or not April should be working and how her TB medications affect the baby. Ultimately, April goes for an ultrasound and there is no fetal heartbeat. She and Tate are both crushed and eventually break up since Tate can't get over the idea that her work contributed to the miscarriage and he never wanted a working wife anyway.
  • Coronation Street actually inverted the subversion. In the 1980s, the soap received a certain amount of controversy by featuring UK soap's first abortion storyline, when Susan Barlow chose to get rid of her baby rather than be trapped in her marriage to Mike Baldwin. Nearly fourteen years later, this was retconned to reveal she had actually lied about having an abortion and had been bringing up a son that neither Mike nor Susan's father Ken knew about.
  • CSI: Miami has a subversion of this. A man's second wife gets pregnant and he does not want to go through the process of raising a kid. He sabotages her car and hires some goons to have her carjacked with the intent that this causes a Convenient Miscarriage and his life goes back to 'normal'. The carjackers end up beating the wife almost to death which gets massive attention from the police. The mother and baby live.
  • Clare on Degrassi: The Next Generation. She became pregnant in the middle of her senior year and intended to keep the baby. But obviously the writers weren't going to have their main character graduate (and therefore leave the show) while still pregnant, so she had a late-term miscarriage shortly before graduation. In-universe, Clare was absolutely devastated, but the miscarriage did give her an optimistic ending where her future was looking brighter than ever.
  • Gabrielle in season 2 of Desperate Housewives. Particularly annoying as there had been a great deal of tension built up over whether Carlos or John was the father.
    • Subverted later with Susan, who falls down the stairs while having a fight with Mike. He takes her to the hospital, and it turns out that both of them are all right.
      • Also done with Lynette, although only one of her twins is dead. More realistic in that she suffered from major stress and pain due to a plane crashing onto Wisteria Lane. She also worries that the surviving twin may be disabled for life.
  • Dirty Sexy Money had this with Karen since the show had been cancelled and it gave Karen and Nick a happy ending.
  • Completely inverted in Downton Abbey, when Lady Cora's stunningly convenient, deus ex machina-style pregnancy ends in an inconvenient miscarriage.
  • On General Hospital, Holly was pregnant by Luke, whom she mistakenly thought was dead. His best friend, Robert, married her to keep her from being deported. She miscarried when picking up an antique (and heavy) wooden cradle for the baby. Irony noted.
  • You could see this coming a mile away for Blair in Gossip Girl. Hardly anyone even thought the baby might survive.
  • Grey's Anatomy's Cristina Yang unequivocally wanted an abortion in the first season but never got to go through with it due to falling ill from her ectopic pregnancy (which, of course, was when the father found out about it, after he dumped her in a previous episode for not letting him into her life enough just as she was about to tell him about the pregnancy). When she gets pregnant later, she doesn't miscarry so she goes through with the abortion.
    • When Callie gets pregnant it complicates things a lot since she just got back together with her girlfriend. Soon there seem to be a problem with the baby and Callie thinks that she miscarried. The baby is fine and Callie is just panicking.
  • Hand of God: After deciding not to have an abortion and planning on giving her baby up for adoption instead, Alicia suffers a miscarriage after accidentally being shot.
  • Kirsty did this on Home and Away: first she lied she was pregnant, then to weasel out of it she lied she miscarried, and then she found she was having a baby for real, and then she miscarried for real. (Doubly convenient since she needed a kidney transplant but couldn't bring herself to have an abortion.) Several years later (having had a full-term pregnancy in the meantime), it happened to her again: She pretended to try for a baby but kept taking the pill, admitted she didn't want a baby, got pregnant anyway, considered an abortion but realised she wanted the baby, then had a miscarriage.
    • An awkward case with Sam Holden: Having just undergone a Face–Heel Turn and killed a criminal who was blackmailing her, she conveniently discovered she was pregnant just as her husband Jack was about to report her to the police, then suffered a convenient miscarriage during an argument. Not long after she committed suicide in a failed attempt to frame Jack and Martha.
  • Carrie in The King of Queens was pregnant for exactly one episode, until the series finale where she got pregnant again and this time had a baby without incident.
  • The L.A. Complex: Raquel gets pregnant by either Connor or Gary (it's left ambiguous.) She decides to pursue a relationship with Connor and is just about to tell him about the pregnancy when she miscarries while he is on a date with another woman (Connor's other relationship is a publicity stunt, but still.)
  • Lady Dynamite: To generate some sympathy after accidentally dressing an African child militia in Maria tour shirts, Bruce takes over her Twitter account with a made-up story of her losing her baby while riding horseback.
  • Megan Draper in Mad Men, though this is only revealed after the miscarriage happens. Nonetheless, she does mention that she felt extremely relieved not to have to make a decision about the pregnancy.
  • Katey Sagal's real-life pregnancy was written into a season of Married... with Children, but the baby was stillborn in a third-term miscarriage. To avoid the trauma of an infant on-set so soon after her loss, Peg's pregnancy was made All Just a Dream, and Sagal's subsequent pregnancies had Peg chasing after her parents, and thus not on-screen, to prevent it happening again.
  • Subversion in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Joel's season 3 and 4 girlfriend, Mei is revealed pregnant in season 4. In episode 1 of Season 5, she tells Joel she's had an abortion and is moving to Chicago. Not the only Hand Wave to open the season.
  • Maddie, in Moonlighting. Cybill Shepherd was pregnant with twins in real life, and the pregnancy was written into the show — but the babies weren't. In the "Womb With a View" episode, narrated largely by Maddie's unborn baby (as played by Bruce Willis), Maddie miscarries during the baby shower.
  • Teresa in The O.C. uses the variation; she doesn't miscarry but claims she did so that Ryan will go back to the O.C.
  • The Nanny appeared to have this late in the series, but it turned out Fran was never actually even pregnant; her pregnancy test had been a false positive. Not a convenient example, either, as Fran was anxious to have a baby and devastated by the news. She later got pregnant for real and had twins.
  • A strange example Nashville: Starlet Juliette Barnes has an unexpected pregnancy (that coincided with the real-life actress's pregnancy) and carries it to term. She thought the baby was a one-night stand but the father was actually her boyfriend Avery. Several seasons later, up-and-comer Scarlett becomes estranged from long-time boyfriend Gunnar and gets pregnant. This time the baby is not Gunnar's but her one-night stand's, and this time she miscarries later on.
  • The Neighborhood: The end of the third season into the beginning of the fourth deals with Dave and Gemma wanting another child and Gemma manages to become pregnant. A few episodes in, she ends up miscarrying the child. To say that she and Dave are devastated would be an understatement.
  • NYPD Blue: Commonly used throughout the series. Diane miscarries her child with Bobby. Danny has a crisis when he gets his girlfriend pregnant, but she has a miscarriage by the end of the episode. Baldwin and ADA Haywood have a multi-episode arc about whether they should have their baby or have an abortion, only for a miscarriage to render their indecision moot.
  • On One Life to Live, following fights with their respective partners, a despondent and drunken Will and Jessica had sex, resulting in pregnancy. After the requisite waffling over having an abortion, marrying her boyfriend (who graciously offered to step up and "do the right thing" even though he wasn't the father), or placing the baby for adoption, Jessica ultimately decided to keep and raise the baby herself. In what has to be one of the most ridiculous examples of this trope, she was hit by a car as she was going into labor (she had gone for a walk to escape the chaos of her baby shower), thus eliminating any chance of the show handling this realistically.
    • From the same show, a near-term Blair getting into a car accident, killing her and Patrick's baby, just after each of their respective partners had accepted the baby's existence and the changes it would bring to their lives. For bonus angst, the driver at fault was Blair's cousin, who was driving drunk.
  • Orphan Black: Gracie losing Helena and Henrik's baby is inconvenient for Gracie (even though she didn't want the pregnancy, it's the only reason her family still has use for her), but an excellent plot point as it will force her away from the Proletheans and to Art (and maybe the rest of clone club.)
  • Subverted in Packed to the Rafters. When Rachel finds out she's pregnant by her drug-addicted ex-boyfriend, she has an abortion rather than have his baby, a decision her Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior! grandfather gives her an awkward lecture about.
  • Julia got pregnant on Party of Five and was going to have an abortion, but miscarried before she got to the clinic. Due to Executive Meddling; they didn't want the character to do anything too controversial.
  • The Ranch: Discussed and deconstructed. Colt gets Heather pregnant at a really bad time, but they agree to keep the baby and look forward to being parents. However, she miscarries, and both grieve over the loss but also admit to being kind of relieved, as it solves a lot of problems for them both. They both feel guilty for considering the miscarriage convenient, and while they're both sad, they're not sure if they're sad enough. Heather ultimately concludes that it doesn't matter; regardless of whether they wanted the baby or not, the pregnancy ended in a miscarriage and now they can move on with their lives.
    Colt: Hey, Heather? Do you think we would've been good parents?
    [Long pause as she considers.]
    Heather: Fuck no! [She exits.]
  • In Rescue Me, Tommy gets his dead cousin's wife Sheila pregnant. Right around the time Tommy realizes he has to quit drinking to win his real family back, Sheila handily has a miscarriage; now that her baby is out of the way, Tommy can go live a happy life with his real wife and kids. Wait, what?
  • In Revenge (2011), Charlotte's poorly conceived, entirely unnecessary pregnancy was written out within moments of her first appearance in the next season. Seemed blatant that the writers realized what a terrible idea this was and decided to backpedal.
  • Rizzoli & Isles: Facing an unexpected pregnancy, and having already broken up with the father of the baby, the main character wrestles with how she's going to balance motherhood with her demanding job as a Boston homicide detective. As it turns out, she doesn't need to...
  • Used in Saving Hope. Maggie gets pregnant by Gavin, the two of them fight a lot and don't seem particularly well suited to having a baby. When they eventually come to accept the pregnancy, Maggie miscarries.
  • Subverted in Scrubs. JD goes from California to Tacoma to see Kim's ultrasound, only to leave when she tells him she's miscarried; the episode closes with her gynecologist telling her she has a healthy baby boy. This ends up becoming very important later on in the season's main plot.
  • Somewhat subverted on The Secret Life of the American Teenager, since Adrian and Ben wanted their daughter and were devastated when she was stillborn. But it was still pretty convenient for the writers.
  • On Sisters, second-oldest sister Teddy seduced her ex-husband shortly before he was due to marry youngest sister Frankie. Sure enough, she got pregnant. And, once the hoopla of the situation died down, she lost the baby.
  • Martha Kent in Smallville.
  • In season five of Stromberg, Jennifer gets pregnant. Stromberg would have been the father. She pondered the idea of abortion and then, after deciding to have the child, she miscarries.
  • In Tales from the Darkside, one episode involved a couple living in an apartment above a tenant who may or may not be a voodoo priest. The wife reveals to her husband that she's pregnant, only for her to have a miscarriage after falling off a ladder. The wife blames the neighbor as part of his supposed campaign of bad luck on the couple after she accused him of thievery. The man commits suicide, and it turns out the wife was lying the whole time just so she could drive the man out of the apartment building. Her husband, disgusted, realizes she was never pregnant and leaves.
  • Subverted on Third Watch with Faith. While she claims that she had a miscarriage to her husband, she really had an abortion because she felt that they couldn't afford another kid.
  • In season four of Ugly Betty, Hilda had one of these only a few episodes after discovering her pregnancy. Unlike most examples, however, she does not lose the baby through a traumatic fall down the staircase; instead, she goes in for an ultrasound and learns that the baby died in-utero when the technician can't detect a heartbeat.
  • In Upstairs Downstairs, Sarah's baby is stillborn, and Hazel has an early miscarriage. This is justified by the setting: infant mortality was much higher in 1909 and 1914. Neither case was coverup for a pregnant actress.
  • On Webster, Catherine discovered she was pregnant and lost the baby... in the same episode. Doubly-jarring, given how lighthearted Webster usually was.
  • Happens to Anthony LaPaglia's character's girlfriend after she's taken hostage in Without a Trace - although there were signs the pregnancy was already in trouble, as was the relationship since she leaves soon after.
  • Young Sheldon: Mary Cooper gets pregnant again in season 2 episode "Albert Einstein and the Story of Another Mary". But since this show is a prequel to The Big Bang Theory, which established that she only has three kids, she obviously wasn't going to have it and ended up miscarrying.
  • Happens constantly in soap operas. Makes you think there's something in the water...or they're all set in Love Canal...or something.
    • Is even more common with teenagers. Then what was supposed to be a kind of PSA turns into "it's ok to get pregnant, you will have a miscarriage anyway".
    • Since then, abortions have become so commonplace in UK drama and especially soaps that they barely cause any controversy at all. One squicky example from the last months of Family Affairs (which probably avoided controversy on the grounds it was Britain's least watched soap opera and no one noticed): A 14-year-old girl became pregnant by a boyfriend that the viewers never even saw, had an abortion the following week without her parents even knowing she was pregnant (although they found out immediately after), and was promptly Put on a Bus.note 
    • Coronation Street did play this straight in 1988 when Bet Gilroy discovered she was pregnant much to her and husband Alec's shock (mostly due to their ages; Bet was in her late forties while Alec was approaching his mid-fifties). No sooner did the couple start to come round to the idea of being parents when Bet miscarried, and after a brief period of mourning, the couple picked themselves up and carried on (the entire storyline taking place over the course of just three episodes).

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Curtis's mother in the newspaper comic Curtis.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Though there have been several pregnancy storylines, almost no children are born in Professional Wrestling, thanks largely to Convenient Miscarriages (or giving birth to rubber hands!). Then again, when the father-to-be insists on bringing the pregnant woman down to ringside, about five feet away from where he and another burly man will be throwing each other around like sacks of potatoes, perhaps this is to be expected.
    • There HAS been at least one instance of a pregnancy being carried to term — Stephanie McMahon got pregnant and carried the baby successfully to full term and delivered a healthy baby girl. This is because she was pregnant in real life. As the father of the baby was her husband, WWE wrestler Triple H, (who is NOT her husband for kayfabe purposes), the impact of the pregnancy on any storylines was limited to some Fourth Wall breaking lampshadings by HHH's tag team, DX. Stephanie got pregnant again a few years later; that time, they just shot her using typical pregnancy-reducing camera tricks (slimming outfits, not a lot of camera time with her torso showing, etc.) before keeping her offscreen.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Umineko: When They Cry, Kyrie reveals that she had one around the same time Battler was born, which is part of the reason she resents his mother. Had her son lived, Rudolf might have married her instead of Asumu. With the revelation that Asumu isn't Battler's biological mother, fans have theorized that her son might be closer than she thinks, and EP 8 of the games confirms this.
  • In the first Paramedium game, the ghost in Mrs Clansey's attic is concerned about a baby who she thinks is there, but isn't seen. It turns out that the ghost was Mrs Clansey's daughter, and it's implied that Mrs Clansey killed her in a bungled attempt to fake this trope by hiding an abortifacient in some tea.

    Web Comics 
  • Lilah in Ctrl+Alt+Del had a miscarriage which was supposedly caused by her immune system detecting the unborn child as a foreign object, which does happen in real life.
  • This happened in one part of Anders Loves Maria to Tina.
  • Day By Day has it happen to Sam Owens, in the May 11, 2011 strip, though it's referred to by its other name, spontaneous abortion. It managed to be more ridiculous than CADs infamous "Loss" strip by going from Sam's tragic miscarriage to her husband's immodest hospital gown in the same two-panel strip.
  • Wayward Sons: Haydez and Sefani find out the hard way that people empowered by the star core can't have children (at least with each other; Hurk unknowingly has a son by a human queen).
    Hara: The best I can tell is that this is a side effect of the star core event. The fetus inherits the energies of both parents and it... just-
    Sefani: -So the tingling I felt..?
    Hara: That was the fetus burning itself out.

    Web Original 
  • Deconstructed in the Irish short film Aaron. It's revealed that the protagonist's girlfriend suffered a miscarriage during a Teen Pregnancy years ago. The boy is still dealing with the trauma years later and struggles to find closure from it.

    Western Animation 
  • BoJack Horseman: Before she was a fast-talking Hollywood agent, Princess Caroline was the Southern-born, starry-eyed daughter of a clingy, alcoholic housekeeper to a wealthy family who owned an answering machine tape empire. In their last year of high school, she has a fling with the wealthy family's son and gets pregnant. Princess Caroline is upset, but her mom is ecstatic because this means the boy will have no choice but to marry her before she starts to show, as to avoid a scandal for his affluent family. This makes her mom happy, knowing that Princess Caroline will become rich and never leave home. Then, Princess Caroline has a miscarriage, meaning the son no longer has any obligation to marry her, allowing her to set herself free from her toxic mother, go to college in California, and follow her own dreams.
  • In an early episode of Rugrats, Charlotte Pickles (Angelica's mom) takes an at-home pregnancy test and the test shows a positive result, which gets her and Drew talking about having another baby, although Angelica starts angsting about not being the center of her parents' attention anymore. At the very end of the episode, it's revealed that Charlotte's not actually going to have another baby.
    • It's never actually made clear if Charlotte did have a miscarriage (or, at the very least, a chemical pregnancynote ). It's possible that Charlotte was never actually pregnant to begin with — if that's true, then she could've had a phantom pregnancynote  and/or had misread/done her at-home pregnancy test incorrectlynote . It's also entirely possible that Charlotte simply realized that at-home pregnancy tests aren't always completely accurate because right after doing the test, she made an appointment with her doctor to have an official pregnancy test done.