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Hand on Womb

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"Did it just high-five me?"

If you want to indicate to your audience that a woman has just found out she's pregnant, thinks she might be, or just happens to be thinking about it, there's one tried and tested visual shorthand — she rests her hand lovingly on her lower abdomen. Exactly where depends on her knowledge of biology, but it should be pretty clear she's aiming for her womb.

It doesn't have to be the mother who does it; perhaps Bob comes in, kisses Alice on the cheek and lovingly strokes her belly. Or maybe Carlos struts into the room, gives Alice an evil grin, clutches her stomach and sneers "Does Bob know yet?" Either way, we're receiving the message loud and clear.

This gesture is usually made when the pregnancy is not visibly showing. Contrast Obvious Pregnancy, where the character has a prominent belly. It can overlap: if we see (for the first time) her belly, she may gently touch or caress its curve. This draws attention to it and leaves no doubt about what it means.

May lead to someone being Mistaken for Pregnant when really, she was just feeling queasy or bloated.

Note that to be this trope, it has to be the first time the audience knows about the pregnancy — if we already know she's pregnant, she is simply cradling her unborn child or Feeling the Baby Kick. And when she is heavily pregnant, it might just be the most convenient place to rest her hands.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Angel's Egg: An abstract variant. The girl is not pregnant. She is however taking care of the large mysterious egg, and often carries it by stuffing it under her dress and holding it protectively with her arms. Her gentle posture mirrors a pregnant woman cradling her large belly. Whatever is within the egg, she takes a maternal attitude toward it.
  • In the anime version of Bokurano, Chizuru "Chizu" Honda puts her hand on her stomach as she dies from piloting Zearth. This ends up being Five-Second Foreshadowing for her being pregnant, which is not revealed until after her death in the animeFrom the manga , and it's confirmed when two of Zearth's lights(which represent the pilots' lives) go out, signifying Chizu and her unborn child's deaths.
  • Cowboy Bebop: Katerina Solensan does this when she enter a bar together with Asimov. This is to make it obvious that she is pregnant and her ordering a Bloody Mary is just Spy Speak. This trope is subverted later in the episode as it's revealed that she isn't pregnant, she is hiding drugs under her dress.
  • Done by Mayo in the 3rd Fushigi Yuugi OVA when she's telling everyone about her (nonexistent) relationship with Taka, leaving out the part where she essentially stole Taka's real life wife Miaka's baby through magic. When he calls her out on her BS, she switches from a loving touch to threatening her baby bump with a dagger.
  • Near the end of Blue Gender, Marlene watches a group of settler children play while resting a hand on her stomach, before interacting with them in an unusually motherly way. This, naturally, foreshadows her being pregnant.
  • Ceres, Celestial Legend has Aya put her hands close to her lower stomach when Suzumi asks her about her last period, which Aya mentions was over two months ago and implying that she may be pregnant with Tooya's child. It turns out that she is pregnant.
  • This is how Tamiko Shinshi lets her husband Mikiyasu "Miki" Shinshi know that she's pregnant in the second Patlabor movie, right before he goes off to quell the unrest.
  • Implied in Berserk. After an incident between herself and a crippled Griffith, Casca is distraught and is seen huddled beside one of the covered wagons crying. While doing so, she's seen putting her hand over her lower abdomen. One could ride it off as her stomach being upset, but she's only put her hand over this region once before: when she was having menstrual cramps. Two volumes later, it's officially but tragically revealed that Casca was pregnant after she miscarried the fetus due to the trauma she sustained during the Eclipse. Whether Casca herself was aware of the pregnancy is never made clear.
  • Near the end of Space Battleship Yamato 2199, the Yamato leaves Iskandar with her mission accomplished. Queen Starsha watches them leave from Mamoru Kodai's graveside with her hands over her abdomen, leading fans to think they were romantically involved before his death and that she's pregnant.
  • This is how we find out Kurenai is pregnant with Asuma's child while she and Shikamaru visit his grave in chapter 342 of Naruto.
  • Shinou from School-Live! is in the early stages of pregnancy and is seen doing this the first time it's implied she's pregnant.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS has a far more sinister example than most regarding Quattro, since she (like all of the Numbers) has a unborn clone of Jail that will be born with all his memories in the event of his death.
  • Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water: In the finale, Captain Nemo prepares to make a Heroic Sacrifice. As he says goodbye, he tells Electra to take care of everything when he is gone. She touches her abdomen meaningfully and agrees. The epilogue confirms she has Someone to Remember Him By.
  • In The Promised Neverland, at one point during the flashback of Isabella's Dark and Troubled Past, we see her stroking her heavily pregnant womb while she hums her song. In a subsequent flashback that takes place a few years later, she touches her womb when she notices Ray humming her song, causing her to realize that he is her son, having been separated from him due to being a Baby Factory and Ray lacking infantile amnesia.
  • The final scene of Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon has Kukui sitting at the side of Burnet who is laying down on a chair while she's resting her hand on her slightly-larger-than-usual stomach. When they return in the follow-up series Pokémon Journeys: The Series, they're revealed to have a baby named Lei.

  • Kitty Flanagan once complained about the sort of pregnant women who make a big show of doing this, claiming that it's just a way of reminding everyone of how awesome you are for reproducing.

    Comic Books 
  • Planet Hulk: Caeira reveals to the Hulk that she's pregnant with his child this way.
  • In Guardians of the Galaxy, Star-Lord's mother Meredith Quill does this when she realizes that she's pregnant just after his father J'Son leaves Earth.
  • Toward the end of Alias, Jessica is flying along when she has to suddenly land in order to vomit. Afterward, she does this when she realizes what her nausea means.
  • Happens in Firefly “Float Out” with Zoe, along with her saying she’s pregnant.

    Fan Works 
  • In A Crown of Stars, older Asuka rubs her visibly pregnant belly while speaking to her six-months-younger counterpart.
    "A lot of things are different between Baka-Shinji and I now. Or are you going to pretend you didn't notice?" She gestured at her belly. Her face softened as the wave became a caress. Her stare was aimed far away from Asuka now, inward.
  • In Wise Ancestors, Zelda does this after waking up from a night of Rescue Sex with Link, because she thinks she might've gotten pregnant.
  • Blind Courage: After reading up on her sudden symptoms, 17-year-old Zelda realizes she's pregnant. She's surprised but not scared. When she goes to bed that night, she puts her hands on her stomach and thinks about how she's going to be a mother.
  • Us and Them: In the side story "Nephilim", Aeris, already a mother of four, announces to Sephiroth that they have another child coming by putting her hand over her stomach.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Carmen's pregnancy is revealed this way in Pan's Labyrinth. The second clue in the opening scene when she stops and rests because "your brother needs to catch up" when there is no brother in sight.
  • In The Terminator, Sarah does this the first time she reveals that the late Kyle Reese left her pregnant.
  • In 20 Years After, Sara puts a guy's hand on her womb to show her baby.
  • In Forty Five Years, the discovery of the lost body of Geoff's girlfriend from shortly before he met his wife Kate seems to trouble him to an extent Kate thinks is suspicious. She discovers they had pretended to be married on the holiday during which she died, and finds a lot of intimate memorabilia stored in the attic. Going through a slide collection, she pauses for a long time on one in which the woman is holding her abdomen in a suggestive manner. She never mentions the photograph, but it seems to contribute to her feeling that Geoff is still deeply mourning a great love from his youth.
  • In the closing scene of Minority Report, Anderton gently touches his pregnant wife's belly. (Pictured)
  • In It's a Wonderful Life, George does this to his wife when Mary reveals she's pregnant with their first child.
  • Horrific: A horror version occurs at the the end of Terror Vission segment, as Rita and Jane both place their hands on their bellies as they feel the first stirrings of their alien pregnancies.
  • Left for Dead: In the flashback to before the massacre, Mary is shown resting her hand on her belly just before Mobius dumps her, indicating she was pregnant with Michelle at the time.
  • At the end of No Time to Die's Action Prologue, as James Bond and Madeleine part ways, Madeleine can be seen doing this, though no attention is brought to it. Sure enough, when they reunite five years later, Madeleine now has a young daughter. And yes, Bond is the father.
  • At the end of Dogma, Bethany seems to have come to terms with her status as the Last Scion, and admits as such to the Metatron. But then he does this, correcting her, "You were the Last Scion, now this is the Last Scion."

  • Centennial by James Michener traces the development of this town on the South Platte River, mainly by homesteader Levi Zendt and his common-law bride Lucinda. During their westward trek, they cross the Great Plains, and encounter some cordial Native Americans. The Native women inquire how far along Lucinda is in her pregnancy, which surprises her, as she isn't showing a significant bulge yet. "[Native] women watch. [Native] women know." Their best clue was watching Lucinda dismount from the wagon: she instinctively guarded her abdomen against any trauma.
  • In the first Gossip Girl book, one of the many rumors surrounding Serena is that she is or was pregnant, which speculation is fuelled by the fact that she's seen resting her hand on her stomach during a school assembly.
  • Graceling Realm: When Fire sees Lady Murgda placing a hand on her own belly at the Winter's ball, she recognizes the gesture from a pregnant friend and (correctly) assumes Murgda to be pregnant.
  • In The Wheel of Time, Davram Bashere tells Rand that he has figured out that he must be the father of Elayne's baby because of the way she was holding her bump while looking at him during their meeting.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Played for drama on one episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, one married couple said that their daughter was away traveling, Goren then made a bluff attack on the wife, who instinctively invoked this trope. Turns out her daughter was never born, and was petrified and still inside of the woman's womb.
  • On Breakout Kings this was how Lloyd figured out that Erica has a child.
  • Quantum Leap: When Sam leaps into a pregnant 16 year old he sees his other self in the mirror with baby bump, and instinctively starts rubbing it. "Oh, boy" indeed.
  • Nick Carter's contemporary routine on season 21 of Dancing with the Stars ends with such a gesture, with Nick wrapping his arms around pro partner Sharna Burgess, placing his hands over her womb, as a representation of his wife Lauren's pregnancy.
  • On American Gods, when Essie McGowan is "pleading her belly" to get out of being hung for theft and escaping transport to the colonies, she clasps her hands over her stomach.
  • Father Brown: In "The Kembleford Dragon", Father Brown deduces that Mrs Webb is pregnant because she keeps touching her belly. She is doing this deliberately so she can fake a pregnancy to allow her to appear later with a baby.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Sauron's watery vision of him and Galadriel shows her hand on her stomach, implying Sauron was thinking about making some more hybrid maiar-elfs like Luthien.
  • Miami Vice: Crockett's second wife Caitlin does this when she calls him shortly before her murder. She doesn't have time to tell him she's pregnant, so Crockett doesn't find out until her autopsy.
  • In Season 7 of Game of Thrones, Cersei announces her Surprise Pregnancy (she was previously believed to be past childbearing years) to Jaime and the audience by putting her hands on her abdomen, after giving Jaime a speech about how they'll destroy all their enemies "for ourselves, for our house. For this."
    • House of the Dragon: Queen Aemma, Alicent Hightower and Rhaenyra Targaryen touch their own wombs a couple of times when they're pregnant in Season 1.
  • Played for laughs in The Goes Wrong Show when, in one episode, one of the performers in the Show Within a Show "The Lodge" has to play a heavily pregnant woman and uses balloons to simulate the baby bump. Unfortunately, every time someone tries to pull this trope on her belly, they accidentally burst the balloon.

  • A variation occurs in A Raisin in the Sun. Ruth Younger discovers that she is pregnant in the first act, but secretly plans to get an abortion because she knows that the family doesn't have the money or physical space to support another child. But later, after Mama Younger uses a life insurance payout to purchase the family a proper house, Ruth ecstatically celebrates and places her hand on her stomach with joy; the stage directions indicate that this is the first time she's doing this because it's the first time she's actually happy about the pregnancy.
  • In All's Well That Ends Well, Bertram, a callow noble, sets Helena, the woman who loves him, the apparently Impossible Task of wearing his ring and carrying his child without his knowing it—only then will he consent to marry her. Helena takes action and, with the help of a Bed Trick, pulls off the challenge. Some productions signify this by having Helena happily place her hand (or even Bertram's) on her belly when she explains how she completed his request.

    Video Games 
  • Played for horror in F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin. Alma's just raped the protagonist and impregnated herself with what may as well be The Antichrist.
  • In The Sims 3, if the player hasn't caught on to the "this Woo Hoo made her pregnant" jingle, and is clueless enough about the "Mysterious Causes" nausea debuff, they should get wise when the female sim stops to smile knowingly and rubs her (still normal) belly.
  • This trope is used in Nohime's Sengoku Basara 2 ending to imply that, even though Oda Nobunaga is dead, she still has Someone to Remember Him By.
  • In the prologue of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Olga Gurlokovich's father Sergei wants Olga to leave the ongoing operation out of concern for his unborn grandchild. She rests her hand on her womb for a moment before insisting on staying. Said unborn baby becomes a very important character in the rest of the series.
  • In The Walking Dead Season 2 Clementine is offered a chance to feel Rebecca's baby kicking in which she'll lean her head and put her hand on the womb.
  • Used in Tactics Ogre to reveal the pregnancy of Mannaflora, the queen's handmaiden. After Queen Vernotta finds out about the affair between her and the king, Mannaflora's sprite is seen rubbing her belly after she is slapped. Mannaflora ends up being the true mother of Catiua, making her only living heir to Dorgalua.

  • Vanessa Olsen from The Overture is first introduced resting her hand over her womb as her daughters observe. She gives birth a few chapters later.
  • Drowtales:
  • On Page 226 of Wurr, Niavel does this with both forepaws after being informed by Iralbe that half of her pups are likely to be stillbirths.
  • Sarine does this at the very beginning of Errant Story. Being that it's at the beginning, we don't grasp the full significance of it all immediately, but developments over the next several years, harking back to this moment, make it clear what an unusual elf Sarine is.

    Western Animation 
  • The Jem episode "Homeland, Heartland" had Danse narrate a flashback of her mother's experience after Danse's father disappeared. Danse's mother is shown resting her hand on her stomach when Danse mentions her mother discovering she was pregnant with her.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: In "A Distant Echo", Padmé has a larger stomach than usual and rests her left hand there, indicating that she's in the early stages of pregnancy. Anakin doesn't notice.
  • Star Wars Rebels: At the beginning of "Family Reunion — and Farewell", Hera looks down at her abdomen and puts her hand on it while overhearing Ezra talk to a photo of his parents. The Distant Finale later shows Hera with her son that she had with the late Kanan. Word of God is that the two have been regularly "getting some" offscreen throughout the show, but conceived their child during a scene transition a couple of episodes prior. Presumably, Hera discovered her pregnancy after she had to return to Yavin 4 during the mission, as a Rewatch Bonus suggests that she was trying to reveal her pregnancy to Kanan in his final episode.
  • In Lego Friends episode "Rabbitouille", Sophie rubs her stomach in the beginning and the end of the episode