A character (usually male) overhears a conversation or finds some evidence that leads him to mistakenly believe another character is pregnant.
If the suspected pregnancy is with his love interest, he will freak out over the thought of being a father. The episode will be about his attempts to cope. He will have accepted the idea by the end and will be mildly disappointed when he finds out that it was a false alarm.
If the suspected expecting woman does not have an established love interest, he will try to determine who the father is. Usually, he will pinpoint some character that she has romantic tension with but is not sleeping with. He will confront the suspected father but will dance around the word "pregnant", leaving the suspect completely bewildered as to what's going on.
In any case, he will walk on eggshells around the not-so-expectant Mom and will tell everyone except his suspects what he thinks is going on. This may lead to some One Drink Will Kill the Baby moments as the poor woman wonders why everyone looks horrified that she's sipping at a glass of wine.
During the course of the episode, everyone will be convinced she is pregnant except for her.
An alternative is when a woman is assumed to be pregnant due to having what appears to be a sufficiently large, protruding stomach (which can lead to extreme awkwardness for obvious reasons), or displays quirks that could be mistaken for stereotypical "pregnancy traits", such as random bouts of vomiting, extreme appetites and Wacky Cravings. Fake Pregnancy is when a woman invokes this trope, usually on purpose (for Pillow Pregnancy, she does so by concealing something under her clothes).
Contrast its inversion, Surprise Pregnancy.
- Aggressive Retsuko: In episode 3, Gossip Evolution turns Retsuko's story about being constipated for five days into a rumor that she had given birth...
- The end of Maison Ikkoku has Mitaka discover that "she" is pregnant. After a previous drunken night with his arranged fiancée Asuna he assumes that he got her pregnant, and vows to marry her to set things right. After he proposes and everything is set in stone, she decides on a dog's name for the new... puppy. Her dog had actually been the one knocked up by his dog. Though by that point Mitaka had grown fond of Asuna herself and later she's pregnant for real.
- Keitaro has to deal with this in Love Hina when he and everyone else wake up to find Mutsumi sleeping naked in his futon with him. Mutsumi's comments about last night being great and the test being "positive" has even Keitaro himself thinking he knocked her up. Actually, she just fell through the hole in Naru's room, decided to sleep where she landed and was referring to Keitaro's help in studying. When Keitaro expresses mild regret about the misunderstanding, of course, he's chased off by Naru (vowing to personally neuter him).
- In Silver Spoon, while passing through the school pigpens, Tokiwa overhears Hachiken and Yoshino having a solemn discussion about Hachiken needing to be a man and take responsibility for the mess he's caused. Only after Tokiwa has spread the news of Yoshino's teen pregnancy all over the school do the "happy couple" get to explain that they were discussing a piglet destined for slaughter that Hachiken had named and half-adopted as a pet.
- In one story of Pet Shop of Horrors: Tokyo, a woman has cancer. When she tries to tell her boyfriend (who is drunk) about it, she gets as far as saying she went to the doctors, before he thinks she's pregnant and kicks her out, not wanting responsibility and angrily thinking it could be someone else's kid. He realizes his mistake when the doctor calls and apologizes while promising to help pay for the treatment.
- At some point in Detective Conan, Miwako Satou makes an off-hand comment to her boyfriend Wataru Takagi about something important being either lost or late. Cue to said boyfriend and their friends thinking she's missing her period and is likely pregnant. She's referring to her red badge that their department wears, having lost it in a perp-chase. As a corollary, this subtly confirms the Running Gag-like implications about Satou and Takagi being sexually active.
- Ito and Raruba from Punch Line mistake Meika for being pregnant. Being a robot, she can't get pregnant in the first place.
- Dave Barry once said in his column that you should never assume a woman is pregnant unless you see a baby coming out of her at that specific point in time...
- Jimmy Carr also made a joke about this. When asked why he refuses to give up his seat for a pregnant woman on public transport, his response was: It's better to see a pregnant woman standing up than a fat woman sitting down, crying.
- An exchange from Disorderly Conduct, a book of legal humor (all from transcripts):
Counsel: Is there anything about your physical condition that might make it difficult for you to serve in this case?Juror: No.Counsel: You don't have doctor's appointments today or the next couple of days?Juror: No.Counsel: Do you have any physical problems with your pregnancy?Juror: I'm not pregnant.
- Comedian Brian Regan has a bit about this, in which he realizes his mistake halfway through asking a woman, "When's that BABY due?"
- In one issue of the Gold Digger comic, Charlotte the Harpy is mistaken for being pregnant when she staggers off of a plane, groaning in pain and looking distressed with her stomach bulging. A doctor immediately starts prepping her for delivery, after some mild shock at discovering her race, only to discover that she's not pregnant at all: Charlotte had (seriously) overindulged on complimentary peanuts and pretzels while aboard the plane. What he mistook for labor pains was the resultant stomach-ache from hell after stuffing herself into a Balloon Belly. Charlotte herself is somewhat disappointed when she's told this means she is not going to have a baby.
- In one Calvin and Hobbes storyline, Calvin's mom is sick, and Hobbes wonders if she's pregnant. Calvin later asks his parents, and his dad mentions that if she was, she'd look like "a hippopotamus with gland problems".
Calvin: ...And that's when Mom whacked him with her pillow.
Hobbes: You have weird parents.
- An issue of MAD had a feature on conversation "saves"; that is, how to rebound from a potentially embarrassing mistake. One example featured two women at a bus stop; the first asks the second, "When are you expecting...?" The second woman, who is heavyset, replies, "I'm not pregnant." The first woman finishes her sentence: "...That darn bus to arrive? It's always late!"
- Axis Powers Hetalia:
- A Gakuen Hetalia fic involves the Bad Touch Trio discovering that Chun Yan is binding her breasts, looking stressed, and hanging around the counsellor's office a lot, and assume she's trying to conceal a pregnancy. Chun Yan, a.k.a. Yao, is actually trying to transition to living as male.
- On the fandom's Kink Meme, there was a request for a fic in which a male nation believes he got his (male) partner pregnant. Fills were done for both Denmark/Norway and America/Lithuania. In both cases, Hilarity Ensues.
- In this The Most Popular Girls in School fanfiction, Tristan mistakes Deandra to be pregnant due to the latter having a Balloon Belly from eating too many fries.
- The Bridge: In the spinoff The Bridge: Building Bridges, since Princess Cadance is pregnant, Xenilla and Blade Dancer decide to shop for various foods and supplies a pregnant mare should have to stay healthy. However, the clerk, who is aware of what these foods are for, thinks that Blade Dancer is the one who is pregnant, and comments that since she isn't showing yet, it's a little early to be buying these. The pair are incredibly embarrassed.
- Miraculous Ladybug:
- Happens retroactively in the fic Do You Hear That, Love? When Chat Noir shows up to an akuma attack with a baby in a sling strapped to his chest (Adrien's recently orphaned niece Adeline), the public overwhelmingly assume the baby must be Ladybug's, with no-one except Marinette herself questioning whether she could even have hidden a pregnancy in the suit.
- Another Miraculous Ladybug fic, Phase Eight, has Alya finding out that she's pregnant, but when her test is discovered by Adrien in his and Marinette's apartment, well...
- In Mind Brigade, Eve tells Jamie that rumor has it that Jill, who only moved to town a season ago, is pregnant. She gossips about this while Jill is in hearing range (though Eve doesn't seem to have noticed). Jill runs out of the bar without comment. It's later confirmed by the local doctor, Alex, that Jill isn't pregnant.
- The Flash Sentry Chronicles: In season 5 during "The One Where Pinkie Pie Knows", Pinkie Pie's boyfriend Wild Smile notices how odd she is acting recently and how she freaks out whenever someone mentions a secret or a baby. He pieces together she has a secret that involves a baby, but concludes that she is pregnant and that he is the father of their "unborn foal". He is shocked and a bit embarrassed when he finds out it is actually Cadance who is pregnant and Pinkie was just struggling to keep the surprise a secret.
- Played for Laughs in Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, where Sid congratulates a rather round-looking beaver for having a baby. The beaver gets mad at him and snaps "I'm not pregnant!'' and wallops his head before leaving.
Sid: Oh, I see somebody else who has a bun in the oven!
Pudgy Beaver: Oh, I'M NOT PREGNANT! [whacks Sid on the head with a stick]
Sid: OW! That's too bad. You'd make a wonderful mother!
[gets hit again]
- In Shark Tale when Oscar and Lenny were faking a fight, Lenny got carried away and accidentally trapped Oscar in his teeth. When Lenny said he was sorry, Oscar used this as an example of what 'Sorry' really is to him.
- In Shall We Dance? (1937), Peter and Linda are rumored to be secretly married. While traveling by ocean liner, they sit in adjacent deck chairs chatting while Linda knits a tiny sweater for her small dog. This sight kicks the rumor mill into overdrive.
- In Woman of the Year (1942), when Tess tries to break the news about adopting a Greek refugee child, Sam thinks she's hinting that she's pregnant.
- In While You Were Sleeping, Lucy is at one point mistaken for pregnant by the family who believes she's engaged to his comatose son (she isn't). This leads Jack, the man's brother, to announce this misconception to all of her friends at a New Year's Eve party when he tries to prevent her drinking an alcoholic beverage. Not surprisingly, Jack ends up with a lot of apologizing to do.
- In Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, Bridget tries to buy a pregnancy test, but she is unable to speak the local language and everyone in the store ends up thinking she already is pregnant.
- In Two Weeks Notice, George Wade commits this while interviewing a job candidate. And later in the movie, they meet each other again. She remarks that now she's pregnant and he can congratulate her. George thinks that she's playing a trick on him, so he refuses to believe it. Thus she gets mad at him again.
- National Treasure: Upon seeing his son turn up in the middle of the night with a beautiful woman, Patrick asks, "Is she pregnant?"
Abigail: [to Riley] I look pregnant?
- In Grown Ups, a pregnant character claims to be this when asked about her pregnancy. Cue momentary mortification from the asker. Of course, this only lasts thirty seconds to a minute, maximum.
- Inverted in Clueless, where the somewhat geeky girl tutoring the protagonists keeps leaving to throw up. They assume she has an eating disorder; it turns out she's pregnant.
- In the musical Nancy Goes to Rio (1950), Paul overhears Nancy running lines for a play and assumes she's pregnant. He spreads the rumor, and as a result, Carmen Miranda's character gives Nancy a gift of baby clothes, the ship's doctor requires Nancy to drink milk and take calcium pills, Nancy's mother prevents Nancy from lifting a heavy suitcase, and Paul even proposes to Nancy lest her baby be fatherless.
- A Running Gag in Chai Lai Angels: Dangerous Flowers has Hibiscus constantly assuming that Katherine is pregnant. It turns out she just has a pot belly.
- In Detention, Principal Verge delivers a lecture to a girl about how there is nothing funny about Teen Pregnancy. In the end, she says she's not pregnant. He then tells her to cut out the carbs.
- In one of the Heralds of Valdemar novels, a court fashion of elaborate and extremely heavy veils (Which required the ladies wearing them to walk while leaning backwards to support the weight on their heads) met an abrupt end when a man new to the court asked the two ladies who started the fad when their babies were due.
- In a Sweet Valley High novel, the girls think their mother is expecting. Initially freaked out, they eventually decide that they'd love to be big sisters and decide to offer their mother support by going on and on about how nice it would be to have a baby around. The result is that their mother assumes one of THEM is pregnant. When they hurriedly correct her and tell her they were trying to be supportive of her, the trope is played twice when it turns out she isn't pregnant either.
- Has happened twice in Neogicia. In the first novel, when Saly's classmates find out that the notoriously still unmarried emperor of their faction is keeping an eye on her, one of the rumors that gets started is her being pregnant with the emperor's illegitimate child. In the second novel, some people she runs into have a reason to think she's a Sex Slave who has either run away or been thrown out of her master's house. One of the speculated reasons for which the latter would have happened is getting pregnant.
- Hal from Malcolm in the Middle does this to a prospective employer, rubbing her belly and playfully asking "Oh, and what have we heeeere?" to which the woman replies in mocking singsong that it's her big, fat stomach. Not surprisingly, the scene quickly jump-cuts to Hal's next job interview.
- Three's Company did this at least four times ("Will The Real Jack Tripper...," "Stanley's Hotline," "And Baby Makes Four," "Jack Be Quick,") plus one episode ("And Baby Makes Two") where Janet was mistaken for trying to get pregnant.
- "The One With Chandler and Monica's Wedding" and "The One After 'I Do'". In this one, Phoebe found a positive pregnancy test and Rachel (whose test it was) allowed everyone to assume it was Monica's. Then when Phoebe learnt the truth, but Rachel still didn't want to tell anyone, she claimed she was the one who was pregnant. This leads to Joey proposing marriage so she won't have to go it alone.
- Played for comedy in another episode where Monica kept getting mistaken for preggers. She blames the baggy shirt she's wearing.
- Let's try to list all the times someone was mistaken for pregnant on 7th Heaven: Annie by Eric, when she was really starting menopause; Sarah and Matt by their parents, when her period was just late; Ruthie by many in her school; two of Simon's girlfriends/fiancées by, one-by-one, everyone...
- Joan of Arcadia included an episode where Helen has a positive return on a pregnancy test. However, Luke finds the test, believes it's Joan's and spends most of the episode panicking about being an uncle. As with Friends, unusual in that someone actually was pregnant (although the episode ends with Helen revealing she had her period that evening, indicating an early miscarriage. Or a false positive. They're fairly common.)
- Niles half-hears a conversation between Daphne and Frasier about the need to keep Roz's pregnancy a secret, and concludes that Daphne is pregnant and Frasier is the father. Things escalate from there until he drunkenly challenges his brother to a duel for Daphne's honor.
- Another episode has a pregnant Roz this close to talking her way out of a parking ticket due to her condition until she mistakenly asks the female traffic cop when she's due. Roz readily accepts her ticket after that.
- Daphne is again mistaken for pregnant as she prepares to marry Donny. Her brother Simon assumes her stress eating is a sign that she's expecting; she's actually just extremely frazzled over her newfound feelings for Niles. (Ironically, her actress Jane Leeves was pregnant at the time.)
- An episode of I Love Lucy had Lucy and Ethel convinced that Ricky and Fred were about to join the army. They decide to show their support by knitting socks; Ricky and Fred notice them knitting and assume that both their wives are pregnant.
- Dad's Army
- In a formerly Missing Episode the entire cast mistakenly believes Mrs. Pike is pregnant, when in fact she has arranged to take in an evacuee child. After its original broadcast in the 1970s, it received viewer complaints that the plot was too crude. A copy of this episode has been discovered and is included (along with the other surviving Season 2 episodes) on the Season 1 DVD.
- Also happens in another episode where the platoon thinks Mrs. Mainwaring is pregnant after a misunderstanding between Mainwaring and Jones. Mainwaring sets them straight at the end of the episode.
- When Cousin Oliver is about to join The Brady Bunch, the rest of the family misunderstand Carol's "We're going to have an addition to the family" as meaning she is pregnant.
- In the episode where Greg fell in love with one of his teachers, Mom and Alice were trying to figure out who the "Linda" was in a letter Greg wrote to her. When Alice asked Jan what she thought of the name, Jan immediately assumed Mom was having a baby. They then cut to the next scene, where Mom talks about how long it took to convince Jan she wasn't.
- Dinnerladies: Bren was mistakenly thought to be pregnant at one point because she refuses to donate blood during a blood drive, and later during the same episode mentions feeling dizzy and unwell. Turns out she just has a phobia of needles, and as she puts it, is very unlikely to be pregnant "unless sperm can get through sash windows".
- 3rd Rock from the Sun has Sally hanging out with pregnant women, much to the shock of Don, her love interest. According to Dick (who thinks the conversation is about shoes), "Pickles did it. Harry watched it happen."
- In the first season of Gossip Girl, this is the catalyst for Blair's social downfall. Serena covers for her to buy her a pregnancy test, so she is initially an example as well.
- Liz Lemon in the second season finale of 30 Rock mistakenly thinks she's pregnant, caused by eating one too many bags of Sabor de Soledad. It's played with in a scene when she goes through calendars, stating that she should cross off the days when she last had her period "like people do in movies." Jenna also discovers the positive pregnancy tests, and is distressed because "someone's going to get more attention than me!", and Dennis, the presumed father, hangs out in Liz's apartment (uninvited), listens to her voicemail, and immediately lays out his plans for the baby, such as naming it Morpheus.
- In a later episode of Boy Meets World, Topanga's decision to go on a diet is mistaken for pregnancy when Topanga refuses breakfast, can't fit into Cory's pants, and Cory later overhears her talking to Eric about "getting through this". (Though in actuality he's agreed to go on a diet as well, though he doesn't fare nearly as well as she does.)
- An episode of Mad About You took this a step further. Not only was the suspected mother not pregnant, but she was also a he.
- A scene in Are You Being Served? features the men mistaking Mrs. Slocombe for pregnant, when she's actually talking about her cat, who was impregnated by "that Burmese that lives in the next house".
- The second episode of Scrubs has a moment where JD is talking about Elliot's tendency to put her foot in her mouth when talking to people. One example is her turning to a woman sitting down and asking when her baby was due, to which the woman indignantly replies "What baby?"
- An episode of Bones had Cam worried that her adoptive daughter, Michelle, was pregnant due to a positive pregnancy test found in the trash. In actuality, it was Angela's test. And she wasn't pregnant after all, it was a false positive.
- Family Matters had a scene where Steve Urkel tells a passenger stuck on a train on Christmas Eve that she should feel extra Christmas cheer because she too is "great with child", only for the woman to say she's not pregnant.
- On The Nanny youngest daughter Grace (who is like 6 years old at the time) thinks she's pregnant due to misunderstanding the standard euphemisms Fran & Maggie use when talking about a character on a soap opera, who is pregnant. Grace and her "boyfriend" (male friend) "slept together" (they had a nap at the same time) which made her "late" (to a movie). The boy decides to do the right thing: marry Grace and find a job.
- The Munsters had an episode in which Herman and Grandpa manage to misinterpret Lily working on a birthday surprise for Herman and Marilyn planning to babysit a child as Lily being pregnant and holding out on them.
- In one episode of Seinfeld, Kramer mistakenly thinks a friend is pregnant and even after she states that she isn't, he still is not entirely convinced.
- Happens to Audrey in Rules of Engagement as the result of a poorly phrased remark about a pregnant co-worker. Finding she enjoys the special consideration being pregnant brings her at work, she tries desperately to actually become pregnant. When she eventually comes clean and tells her co-workers that she is not pregnant, they mistakenly interpret this to mean that she has had a miscarriage.
- In the first segment of the season three opener of Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction, "Morning Sickness," a girl suffers symptoms of what her parents are convinced is pregnancy, despite a negative pregnancy test and the daughter's claims that she's still a virgin. At the hospital, doctors tell the parents that there's a tumor or cyst in the daughter's intestines, but during surgery to remove it, said tumor turns out to be a live baby octopus, resulting from when the daughter swallowed an octopus egg while swimming in the ocean. Thankfully, at the end of the episode, it's revealed that the story never happened, it's just a really popular urban legend.
- On That '70s Show Kitty mistakes herself to be pregnant, only for the doctor to discover it's menopause.
- On St. Elsewhere Helen Rosenthal was excited about what she thought was a mid-life pregnancy, but it turned out to be menopause.
- Blanche Devereaux from The Golden Girls mistook menopause for a pregnancy.
- On 18 to Life a positive pregnancy test keeps being misplaced and then found by someone else. By the end, the three husbands believe that their wives are pregnant and the women think the same about each other. Turns out that the pregnancy test is actually really old and was kept as a keepsake by one of the women from her last pregnancy almost nine years ago.
- On Crownies Janet was keeping her pregnancy secret from the office. When Tracey found Janet's sonogram picture on Erin's desk (the picture having gotten caught up in some files Erin collected from Janet), Tracey leaps to the wrong conclusion regarding Erin.
- In 1971 Lisa on As the World Turns thought she was pregnant but it turned out to be an ovarian cyst.
- In The George Lopez Show, Angie took a pregnancy test, thought she was pregnant and told George. Initially stunned, George welcomes this development, but then Angie learns the first test was wrong. However, because George seemed so happy about having another child, Angie fakes it and tries to get pregnant quickly to cover. George winds up getting Squicked out by having sex with a supposedly pregnant woman. When he hears the truth from someone else, he has a little fun with it.
"Oh, look! You're showing!"
- A particularly disturbing version happens in CSI. Catherine is interrogating the daughter of a murder suspect when the girl begins to lactate—a symptom which, coupled with the fact they just found evidence of the daughter sharing her father's bed, leads Catherine to suspect the worst. However, the medical examination reveals the girl is, in fact, a virgin, and her symptoms are the result of a "false pregnancy" brought on by a very extreme Electra complex.
- A lighter version on CSI: NY had Lindsay talking to Danny about being hungry and listing a bunch of foods she wanted him to bring her. Danny gives her a look, wondering if she's pregnant again, and she quickly responds that she isn't, she's just hungry.
- Life of Riley: In the second episode, Maddy, Katy and Danny's girlfriend are each assumed to be pregnant at some point after Maddy and later Jim discover a pregnancy kit Ted had stolen from the chemists.
- Averted and played straight for two different characters in an episode of Royal Pains. One character has some Wacky Cravings, and a friend immediately gets her a pregnancy test. However, the main characters see her buying the pregnancy test and start making assumptions. However, this mistake causes them to realize their patient is pregnant.
- How I Met Your Mother:
- In one episode Marshall mentions that their mailperson hates him because Marshall genuinely mistook him for a pregnant lady.
- In the season 2 finale, when Ted and Robin have a big secret they are trying to hide at Marshall and Lily's wedding, Barney thinks that Robin is pregnant with Ted's child after seeing her drink a bottle of water (there was also a flashback showing Ted and Robin having unprotected sex on the couch, which further adds up Barney's suspicions). However, it turns out that Robin isn't pregnant and they broke up.
- Inverted on Desperate Housewives, when Susan was mistaken for being in menopause when she was actually pregnant.
- Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, Dorothy thinks she's pregnant, but it's menopause.
- Ally McBeal: Georgia thinks she's pregnant and they discuss it with Billy whether they're prepared to be parents. When they get excited about it, it turns out to be not a false alarm.
- In the Made in Canada episode "Office Rumours", office manager Wanda suggests to production adviser Veronica that she deal with the increasingly childish behaviour of the cast of Beaver Creek by getting a book on childcare. Her co-worker Richard overhears part of the conversation and concludes that Veronica is pregnant.
- In an episode of Bewitched, Louise suspects she is pregnant. She has told Samantha but no-one else. Larry catches his wife and Samantha visiting the doctor together, draws the conclusion that Samantha is pregnant, and tells Darrin what he saw. Later as the four of them are having dinner together when Louise broaches the subject, Larry kicks her under the table, then admonishes her that this is sensitive and personal information that Samantha should be the one to tell Darrin.
Samantha: [excitedly] Darrin? Louise is going to have a baby!
- This happens in Gilmore Girls. Jackson is convinced that Sookie's mood swings and cravings are a sign that she's is pregnant. He finds out from Lorelai that Sookie decided to stop taking birth control and didn't tell Jackson, assuming that he had a vasectomy and that there was no chance of conceiving. Of course, Jackson didn't get the vasectomy but lied about it, and it turns out Sookie really is pregnant and is basically the last one to find out.
- The Bob Newhart Show - Emily thinks she's pregnant, so Bob and his pal the Peeper celebrate, get quite drunk, and bring a pony into the apartment.
- The Young Ones - Vyvyan thinks he's pregnant, but it's just gas.
Rick: ...I was wondering if you'd thought of a name... [Rick points to himself] for your baby yet.
Vyvyan: Shut up or piss off!
Rick: [angered at his rejection] Oh, that's very nice...
Vyvyan: No, no, those are two names I'm considering. I mean, they'll be very handy in later life, you know, for getting into fights and things.
- In The Catherine Tate Show, Elaine spends series 3 trying to get pregnant via a sperm donor. When she misses her period, she thinks she's finally pregnant; but turns out to be having very early menopause.
- Happened in Mind Your Language where when Anna starts crying in class, Miss Courtney suggests to Jeremy that Anna may be having boyfriend woes. Subsequently, when she tells him she is "in trouble", Jeremy jumps to the conclusion that she's pregnant (she was actually afraid of having to go back to Germany if her visa to remain in the UK isn't renewed.)
- General Hospital's AJ Quartermaine notices that younger brother Jason is scrambling around, desperately trying to get some money, but not wanting any adult, especially his parents to find out. AJ quietly asks him if he's gotten his girlfriend Karen pregnant, obviously assuming that he needs the money to pay for an abortion. Jason truthfully assures him otherwise, but AJ clearly doesn't believe him.
- Happens in the first episode of Kath and Kim when Kel meets Kim, asking her when the baby is due. She's not pregnant, she's just fat.
- In an early episode of Charmed, Phoebe finds the box from a pregnancy test Piper had taken in the trash, and touching it gives her a vision of a demon child being born (the first warlock they fought after discovering their powers turned out to be Piper's boyfriend, adding a bit more credence to the idea). Typical comedic misunderstandings ensue until Phoebe confronts her with "I'm going to have to kill you before you can give birth to the prophesied demon, but it's okay, because I haven't found the specific knife yet, so we've got some time." Piper is, of course, not pregnant, and is more offended by that implication than the death threat.
- In the Psych episode "Office Space," Juliet's attempts to help the boys cover up their latest shenanigans — ex. saying she's at the doctor when Lassiter calls her while she's helping them, stalling going to the crime lab by saying she's not feeling well — leads Lassiter to believe she's pregnant, or, as he puts it, "carrying Spencer's unborn demon seed."
- On Schitt's Creek Johnny finds a positive pregnancy test in Alexis's bathroom and assumes it is hers. This leads to some comic It's All About Me moments with David and Moira and an awkward conversation between Johnny and Alexis which she thinks is about her college career. It turns out that Jocelyn is the one who is pregnant.
- Different Strokes Kimberly's efforts to help a pregnant friend leads to her brothers and father thinking that she's the one expecting. Her friend telling her own father this in a panic doesn't help.
- A non-human example occurs on The Kitten Rescuers when a woman calls the RSPCA about a pregnant-looking cat hiding in her garden. It turns out that the cat has been spayed and is just fat. Still, the cat had wandered away from home and gotten lost, so she did genuinely need help from the RSPCA.
- I Dream of Jeannie: Shortly after Jeannie and Major Nelson get married Major Healey finds a bassinet and a bottle of pre-natal vitamins in their bedroom. He assumes this means Jeannie's pregnant and rushes off to tell everyone at NASA. The basket and vitamins are actually for Jeannie's dog's mate who's expecting a litter of puppies.
- Exploited by Shtriga, a blood-sucking witch with an enormous appetite, has been known to feign being pregnant to disguise what is actually a stomach swollen taut with consumed blood.
- Female hosts of Texas Tummy Twisters, a repulsive parasite that takes root in the stomach and creates a significantly distended gut, can often be mistaken as being simply pregnant, and sometimes may be compelled to claim that they are by their parasite in order to disguise what's actually happening.
- In The Solid Gold Cadillac, Miss Shotgraven suddenly breaks down in tears about the state of her own life. Mrs. Partridge suspects it has something to do with her boyfriend Mark, which Miss Shotgraven mutely confirms. Mrs. Partridge, after blaming herself a little for the situation, then asks Miss Shotgraven if she's told Mark, and she becomes verbal again:
Miss Shotgraven: Told him what?
Mrs. Partridge: About your condition?
Miss Shotgraven: What condition?
Mrs. Partridge: Then you're not going to—I mean you aren't—
Miss Shotgraven: Of course not! How could you think such a thing?
Mrs. Partridge: Well, in my day, when a girl said she was in trouble—she was in trouble.
Miss Shotgraven: We can't afford to get married. He has to support his mother and sister, and I don't want to live with them.
- In Sigma Star Saga, Recker finds himself worried that Psyme may be pregnant, even though as far as he knows, they've only kissed once. Turns out, she's not the one giving birth, her living symbiotic Powered Armor is. Sorta. Also not helped by the other Krill knowing perfectly well Recker's got no idea what's going on, and making good on this golden opportunity to screw with the earthman.
- This happened in Um Jammer Lammy after the main character Lammy ate too much pizza.
- Junichi briefly worries that he may have gotten Kotori pregnant in Da Capo due to her rather distant attitude and avoidance of him lately. Turns out that when the cherry tree died she stopped being able to read minds and has never been able to read other's emotional cues, leaving her majorly stressed around family and friends.
- Mae's mother in Night in the Woods briefly wonders if Mae is pregnant. This has nothing to do with Mae's weight, however — she gets this idea because Mae dropped out of college, seemingly out of nowhere, to come and live at home, and has been feeling physically ill and has been unusually moody and avoidant. Of course, it's nothing like that at all, but Mae's mother is surprisingly supportive and open-minded when she asks Mae about it.
- College Roomies from Hell!!!, here. Blue's talking about class periods and Dave takes it the wrong way. The woman should not say, "I missed my last period. I'm LATE."
- Inverted early on in Bridgette's Belly. Bridgette actually is pregnant, but her friends mistake her eating habits and morning sickness as bulimia.
- Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal provides the page image: two panels out of four. In the comic, a guy congratulates a woman with a prominent belly. She snaps that she's not pregnant. The guy tries to save it and congratulates her on... being fat. The bonus red button panel reveals that he's satisfied with such an awesome smooth move.
- Rachel in Stubble Trouble was once mistaken for being pregnant. When she says she's not, a woman berates her for being fat.
- In Once Stung, Cynthia's parents notice her weird behavior after getting superpowers but come to the wrong conclusion and leave a pregnancy test on her bed much to her confusion.
- At least three separate Not Always Right stories deal with this trope.
- This woman, upon learning her mistake, inadvertently insults the "pregnant" lady in question.
- This person gets angry because they believe the woman is pawning off others by pretending to be pregnant.
- Finally, this woman appears a bit chunky because of a medical condition requiring her to take steroids, resulting in a person straight up rubbing her belly out of nowhere. She is not amused.
- Meanwhile, over on Not Always Friendly, a woman threatens to call the cops on a female customer for daring to drink when pregnant. "I'm not pregnant; I'm just fat."
- Yahtzee uses this as an example of an awkward situation he wishes he could simply hit the Escape key to get out of.
Janice: (Depressedly) Um, I'm not pregnant, I've just put on some weight.
Yahtzee: ...Abort! Fwoosh!
- In an episode of Goof Troop, Peg was unusually cheerful one day and told Pete and PJ she had a big surprise for them. Later on Pistol (the daughter) asked Pete if she could have a little brother; Pete told her yes because he wasn't paying attention; she told PJ that they were getting a little brother, and PJ tells Max, who in turn tells Goofy, who then tells Pete which causes him to freak out. At the end of the episode, Peg comes back with a basket, causing Pete to run away. As it turns out she was so happy because she had sold an expensive building and paid for a trip to Hawaii.
- In an episode of American Dad! Francine is selling a house to a couple and the wife makes a comment about needing room for three while rubbing her stomach. Francine congratulates her on her pregnancy, admitting that she "just thought you were fat." The annoyed woman then explains that they're adopting a child.
- Having little to no understanding of normal human biology, Beavis of Beavis and Butt-Head once thought he was pregnant due to a severe stomach cramp. Hilarity ensues.
Woman: [to pregnant friend] I can't believe you got yourself pregnant.
Beavis: [overhearing] You can get yourself pregnant?! Aaagh!
- In the Camp Lazlo episode "Ed's Benedict", Dave and Ping-Pong slip an egg into Edward's bed as a prank. For the rest of the episode, all the kids think he's expecting while Lumpus and Slinkman awkwardly try to explain the concept of pregnancy to them.
- On an episode of The Flintstones, Fred accidentally sits on Wilma's knitting needles and finds a partially-knitted sock. He assumes Wilma is pregnant and excitedly runs outside with the news before Wilma has a chance to explain that it was for Betty's sister's baby. Note that Fred found a similar knitting arrangement in a later episode in that same season, but this time, it led to the announcement that Wilma was pregnant with Pebbles.
- On Daria, Quinn mistook her parents for trying to become pregnant. (I mean, why else would they be... you know.) She spends her subplot of the episode trying to keep them apart so she won't have to compete with a new baby.
- The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack: Happens to Captain K'nuckles a few times in "Who's That Man in the Mirror?" as part of Running Gag about how out of shape he is.
- The chalkboard gag for The Simpsons in the episode, "The Debarted", has Bart writing, "The art teacher isn't pregnant. She's just fat."
- King of the Hill:
- In one episode Hank and Peggy (who've been trying for a second child for a long time) are helping Cotton and his pregnant wife shop for baby supplies and furniture. An overeager and friendly saleswoman sees Hank and Peggy, thinks they finally have another child on the way and comments to Peggy that she's showing! The average built and athletic Peggy is not amused.
- Reversed when Didi (Cotton's wife) is revealed by way of a big bulging belly whilst carrying two heavy suitcases. Cotton yells "It turns out she wasn't getting fat!"
- A variant appears in The Loud House where Clyde thinks that his dads are adopting a baby. It actually turns out they were adopting another cat.
- The Crumpets had this happen in the episode "Lil' Wrinkly One", where Granny eats some cocoa-patches that look like cigarettes and becomes bloated, but everyone else in the family assumes she is expecting. Eventually, everyone in the family (including their dog) except Lil' One and Pa, and Cassandra McBrisk has eaten the cocoa-patches and become bloated while being assumed to be pregnant. Lil' One eventually discovers that he can make the bloating go away by pressing against their stomachs, which makes them lose the excess bulging by passing gas. At the ending, Lil' One gives Pa one of the cocoa-patches, leaving him bloated and self-expectant.
- In the fourth episode of Harley Quinn (2019), Harley returns to Poison Ivy's apartment seeing a banner that says "It's a boy!" and baby stuff all over the place, causing her to think she's pregnant and having a baby shower. She rubs Ivy's belly and congratulates her, but Ivy tells her she's not pregnant and doesn't know why the stuff is there. It turns out to be a prank set up by The Joker mocking Harley for having Robin, a preteen boy, as an arch nemesis.
- The various tabloid articles on baby rumors, showing photos of actresses who simply look like they exhaled. Or even just wearing more form-concealing clothes than usual, because obviously they couldn't possibly be wearing it for a reason other than concealing a pregnancy.
- Women who are actually pregnant will sometimes invoke this trope when strangers start asking questions that are, quite frankly, none of their business ("How far along are you?" "Is it a boy or girl?" "When are you due?" etc.). This usually results in a very embarrassed person making a hasty exit much to the relief of the pregnant gal.
- Some women's bodies are naturally built so a lot of the weight in their body goes to their stomach, creating a slightly protruding belly even if they're not pregnant.
- Certain medical conditions cause weight gain to be located in certain areas. Type II Diabetes causes people who have it to be trunk heavy. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), which is also characterized with insulin resistance, causes unusual weight gain, particularly in the belly. It is also a leading cause of infertility, making any assumption that the woman is pregnant MUCH more painful than an implication on her weight.
- The so-called Flora Hastings Affair at the beginning of Queen Victoria's reign. The Queen accused one of her ladies-in-waiting to be pregnant and thus having lived a scandalous lifestyle. Flora Hastings' growing belly seemed to support the thesis until it turned out that she had had a tumour and died shortly afterward. The Queen's approval rating sank heavily after this and she had much apologizing to do.
- Tennis Hall of Famer and current broadcaster Todd Woodbridge learned the hard way to never speculate about a woman being pregnant when tennis star Kim Clijsters confronted him during the 2011 Australian Open about a text message that he sent.