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My Secret Pregnancy

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Sophie: We can't tell anybody else about the baby, okay?
Sam: I just told Bill.
Bill: Yeah, and I told Harry.
Harry: And I told many, many people…

A pregnancy which the bearer keeps hidden. The mother may decide on keeping it "mum" for a few weeks or months; in extreme cases, she may give birth secretly and spend years without divulging. Usually she'll have at least one Secret-Keeper, to help her maintain the ruse (and possibly raise the child, after birth). The father may or may not know, but the key of this trope is that the world at large does not. Pregnancy and gestation can usually be hidden at least for a couple of months, but actually going into labor, giving birth, and possessing a child needs very clever finagling - which is why many bearers take a convenient "vacation" around the due date.

Reasons for this may vary. If Alice is not married, but lives in a society that condemns extramarital sex, she faces extreme censure (if not even worse things), and may end up hiding her pregnancy from her own family. Alice may be happily married, but has suffered several miscarriages, and does not want to tell outsiders her situation in case of another failure. There may be a Prophecy or other form of Narrative Causality brewing around Alice's baby, and she just wants to be normal and unnoticed, for Alice Jr.'s safety. Or Alice may be unhappily estranged from Bob, her baby's father, and does not want him to get within fifty miles of her and their offspring.

The last reason has plenty of scope for justification and drama. If the father is an abusive bastard or an insane, planet-killing psycho who might murder his own spawn — or raise his child in evil — secrecy might be a good idea. If he's an irresponsible lout, she might decide the kid would be better off without him, since he would just be a Glorified Sperm Donor. On the other hand, maybe he would be a good father, but he's already married... to someone else. Or our Alice is very uncertain, and she can't think of any good way to tell him and is just "waiting for the right time" - only for Bob to up and move and leave no forwarding address. Perhaps Alice was drunk, or otherwise does not know in Who's Your Daddy?, or believes that the father will not believe her in Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe.

In romance novels, the most common reasons are either that she doesn't want to make the man feel tied down (because she's been sleeping with him but doesn't want him to feel like she trapped him into a marriage). Commonly in historical novels the man will find out before the birthnote , otherwise it can be years before the hero meets the heroine again and discovers that he has a child. Usually the hero will be angry at the loss of time with his son/daughter.

Sooner or later, the secret pregnancy will come to light, and Bob will have to take responsibility for the kid, and Alice take responsibility for keeping it secret... that is, unless she Died In Childbirth.

Not to be confused with Hide Your Pregnancy, which is the meta version of this, or Late Pregnancy Realization, when not even the mother realizes she is pregnant until she is either heavily pregnant or has given birth. Could lead to Playing Sick if the pregnancy leads to lethargy or Morning Sickness. Contrast Fake Pregnancy.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods and Dragon Ball Super, Videl originally hides the fact that she's pregnant with Pan, but only so she could surprise Gohan later. Her pregnancy becomes a crucial plot point, as it allows Goku to reach the Super Saiyan God form he needed to defeat the Big Bad.
  • In the manga My Girl by Sahara Mizu, the hero's high school girlfriend ends up going abroad to study just to hide her pregnancy (and later, the child herself) from him—she doesn't want to burden him with it. (Of course, then she dies, and he's stuck with the kid anyway...)
  • The manga March On Earth. The hero's older sister chooses not to tell the father of her child so that he won't cancel his career-vital overseas stay and keeps who the father is secret from everyone else so that they won't contact him. She doesn't anticipate dying and having the younger sister get a Promotion to Parent since there's literally no other living relative.
  • In One Piece, Portgas D. Ace's mother Rouge hid her pregnancy for 20 months to keep the World Government from finding her son, whose father was none other than Gold Roger. Seeing as humans in One Piece are Made of Iron she pulled this off, though she died soon after he was born from the strain.

    Comic Books 
  • ElfQuest: Kahvi can't hide her pregnancy but does tell the father that it's not his kid and that the kid died shortly after birth anyway. Then she raises the kid as the ultimate counter-weapon to the father's incredible magic power (and ego).
  • Green Lantern: Rose Canton (the Golden Age Thorn) pulled this one on Alan Scott (the Golden Age Green Lantern. First, she married him under a false identity, then she disappeared during the honeymoon, after an explosion that led him to think she had been killed. She had twins, which she gave up for adoption out of fear that her evil Thorn self would harm them, and they grew up to be the superheroes Jade and Obsidian. (Note: this is the short version!)
  • Spider-Man:
    • The infamous Sins Past storyline that retconned in Gwen Stacy becoming pregnant with and giving birth to twins (albeit in appreciably less than nine months) without Peter or anyone else noticing into the continuity of early 1970s The Amazing Spider-Man (1963).
    • In 2021, this was retconned back as being a part of Norman Osborn's manipulations, with the twins actually being genetically engineered clones.
  • Superman: In the Bronze Age, the Kents claimed that Clark was born from one of these. Since Martha Kent had miscarried multiple earlier children, the neighbors were willing to accept her not wanting to mention being pregnant again, and since Clark was 'born' in the middle of winter after a massive blizzard snowed the Kents in for well over a month, nobody other than her husband would have seen her during the time frame when she would have been visibly pregnant, so everyone bought their explanation.
  • Ultimate Wolverine: In the Ultimate Marvel universe, Magda had Jimmy in secret. She only told Wolverine after birth.
  • Usagi Yojimbo: Usagi returns to his home village for a time, where his former love has been married to another man for several years. The woman has a kid, and Usagi grows quite fond of the little tyke, especially since the guy starts calling him "Uncle". Before long, however, the revelations start: It's really Usagi's kid, of course, and his love didn't want to tie him down (since he's a samurai who needs to be able to travel). After a discussion, Usagi decides not to stick around, lest he drive a wedge between the boy and his adoptive father. Then, somewhat later, it's revealed that the boy knows that he's Usagi's kid. But neither Usagi nor the kid is willing to tell the other, believing that the other doesn't know.

    Fan Works 
  • In Blizzard of the Red Castle, Akagi had one long before the events to the Anime and the fic. Reasons were multi-faceted: 1) the father was in her chain of command, and thus a blatant violation of military law, 2) said father's death made the whole situation painful, and 3) there were concerns over how the JSDF and allies would try anything with the baby, and so the baby was sent away not long after the birth. Said child, upon finding out her life was filled with lies, did not react well when she found out.
  • Downplayed in Cabin Fever: Promises To Keep. It's implied that Marcy never revealed to Paul's family that he got her pregnant before he died. Although since they had very little reason to ever see one another, it's unlikely that she had to take any steps to conceal her pregnancy. Even if they did see her pregnant or with her daughter, they would have no reason to suspect that the baby was Paul's.
  • Cellar Secrets has Aikurou's theory about Ryuuko involving this and it's further implied in chapter 16 when Satsuki and Nui find evidence that supports that, along with fact that their little sister might not have been born during happy times, Nui even asking, "I wonder, did Ryuuko remind the Mistress of something she wanted to forget?" We actually find out why Ragyo kept her third pregnancy secret and, well, the reasons were because of her erratic behavior and her refusal to seek help, Souichiro was planning on leaving her and taking their daughters with him, thus if she had a child within that time, she probably would have lost custody She wasn't very keen on letting that happen.
  • In Child of the Storm:
    • Wanda had one of these during the first war against Voldemort by John Constantine (who by the time she discovered the pregnancy she emphatically did not trust), panicked and had the resultant baby adopted with the help of her best friend, Lily Potter. The kicker is that said baby is Hermione Granger. The reasoning behind this was a mixture of It's Not You, It's My Enemies (considering their enemies it's generally accepted that any child she tried to raise would probably have died horribly in short order) and the desire to let her child live a normal life. And, of course, to keep said child away from her father, who was part way through his Heel–Face Turn (which, in any case, she was and remains sceptical of).
    • It's repeatedly hinted that Pepper is pregnant throughout the first book, though how long it takes her to figure it out is unclear.
    • Peggy Carter hid her pregnancy by Steve, which resulted in Alison, who was passed off as her much younger sister. It helps that there's blonde hair and height in the Carter genetics.
    • On top of that, a somewhat maudlin Sirius explains that Lily was pregnant with a second child and had been planning to tell James after Halloween, to make it a surprise, and has since kept it secret for James/Thor's sake. All those present immediately agree to never, ever tell Thor.
  • In the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story "The Birth Of Psycheliana", Smurfette becomes pregnant with Empath's child while Empath was away traveling on the seas, but Smurfette wishes to keep the pregnancy a secret among herself, Papa Smurf, Doctor Smurf, and Polaris Psyche until Empath returns. Tapper does find out, but it's only through a spiritual revelation, and he also intends to keep it a secret. Empath eventually discovers that he's the father of Smurfette's child upon his return to the Smurf Village, and even before that, when on his return trip he experiences Morning Sickness.
  • Played with in How Lynn Clogged the Toilet for the First Time — Rita is pregnant with Lucy, and Lynn Sr. does admit that there'll be a baby, but pretends it will be from the Delivery Stork. However, Rita's pregnancy ends up making her sluggish, and three-year-old Lincoln asks why. Lynn Sr. claims that she'll need to be strong when the stork comes, causing Lynn Jr. to think that Rita and the stork will have to fight.
  • I Will Never Be Him mainly happens in a harem setting in which the concubines won't hesitate to poison each other if they suspect one to carry a potential heir to the Demon Sovereign. After helplessly watching the latest wife suffering a Forced Miscarriage, Shen Yuan refuses to tell anyone about his own pregnancy.
  • Johanna Mason: They Will Never See Me Cry: The oldest victor of District 7, has a daughter and grandchildren whose births he never reported (he faked his wife's death when she got pregnant and found a man willing to go into hiding and marry his daughter) so they can escape the reapings and the Games, and they live in his house in secret.
  • Subverted in The Hobbit fanfic The Monstrous Company of Thorin Oakenshield; everyone knows about the pregnancy except the one person with Rape as Backstory who would go berserk because she'd suspect it to be a Child by Rape.
  • In the Megamind AU fic Knocked Up, Megamind gets Roxanne pregnant after a one-night stand. Since he's still a villain in this fic, this is obviously not good, so creates a disguise generator for Roxanne to use when she starts to show. They handle the doctor's visits by getting Roxanne's midwife friend (and midwife's doctor brother) to help.
  • In Kyon: Big Damn Hero, Kyon's pregnancy was this. It helped the mother-to-be was young and a late bloomer, had a Friendless Background and by the time she realized her pregnancy the father-to-be stopped visiting her for a few months because they lived in opposite sides of Japan.
  • Zig-Zagged in Legacy of the Gray Jedi, the fifth entry in The Gray Jedi Series. Kyra doesn't tell Des and Zari (her parents) about her pregnancy, but she does tell Lucia (her ex).
  • Love Can Surprise You At Any Time In Your Life: Leela considers telling Fry about her pregnancy early on, but since he'd just broken up with his new girlfriend, she decides against it. Her plans to tell the rest of the crew (besides the three that already learned on accident) are interrupted when she has to comfort Amy over Kif's death. While Farnsworth is among the first to learn, he's dead set on Leela having an abortion, so she pretends to not be pregnant when she sees him again. Everyone on the crew eventually finds out on accident, except Fry, who Leela finally decides to tell at the end of Chapter 6.
  • In Offspring, Link and Mipha were married prior to the Calamity and chose to have children despite the risks. They kept their kids a secret from the other Champions. The others didn't learn about their triplets until they came to Zora's Domain themselves in order to fight off Calamity Ganon, at which that point the kids were already four months old. In this case, Mipha had the added benefit of being a Zora and thus she laid eggs, making keeping the secret easier than with humans.
  • Shows up in The Second Try, though it is a massive spoiler. Due to her mess of insecurities, Asuka was rather freaked out when she discovered she was pregnant and had tried to hide it from Shinji (she even went as far as to starve herself in a misguided attempt to induce a miscarriage). He only found out after a rat got into their trash and he stumbled onto a positive pregnancy test Asuka tried to hide. To say he was surprised would have been an understatement.
  • Satsuki's pregnancy in Secret Sunshine is this, as she hid the entire length of her pregnancy until giving birth. Her pregnancy being a secret adds much of the drama to the story, given that she also never told anyone else she gave birth and sent Ryuuko away to raise her daughter.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fic The Truth, Apple Bloom turns out to be the daughter of Applejack and Big Macintosh, and that the two are actually step-siblings. When Applejack got pregnant at 16, the family decided to raise the foal as her parents' new foal to cover up the potentially scandalous actions; Applejack stayed behind at the farm while Pink Pearl gained weight to convince the ponies of Ponyville.
  • In Valerie, Sophia Hess (AKA vigilante-turned-superheroine Shadow Stalker) keeps her pregnancy secret from everyone until after she gives birth for several reasons:

    Films - Animation 
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox: When Mrs. Fox gets Morning Sickness and mistakes it for a 24-hour bug, she lies that it is indeed a bug after going to the doctor. However, when she and Mr. Fox then get caught in a trap, she admits that she's actually pregnant instead of sick.

    Films - Live-Action 
  • 8 Women: Suzon is a young, unmarried woman in the 1950s, so she wants to have as few people as possible knowing about her pregnancy. When her father is found murdered and she becomes a suspect, she is forced to admit to the other women that she made a clandestine visit to the house the night before to tell him about her pregnancy.
  • Dark Waters: A minor point, but one of the female lawyers at the firm delays the announcement, so people won’t be concerned it will affect her work.
  • Dreamgirls: Effie never tells anyone about her pregnancy once she's kicked out of the show. She tried to give Curtis a hint but he never picked up on it. He finally catches on after seeing Effie's pre-teen daughter at the end of the film.
  • The Great Lie: As to not stop her career and be judged for giving up a child, Sandra has her baby in secret in an isolated home Maggie chose in Arizona.
  • Innerspace: Lydia keeps it a secret from Tuck. When he finds out while cruising around in her womb with his minisub, he starts crying Tears of Joy. Referenced again at the end when Tuck's first words to Lydia after being returned to normal were, "Why didn't you tell me?"
  • In Knocked Up, Allison hides her pregnancy at work out of fear that she'll get laid off from her on-camera job as a reporter if her bosses know, but eventually her baby bump grows too large to conceal and her bosses tell her that they know she's pregnant and don't mind.
  • Attempted and Played for Laughs in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, when Sophie becomes pregnant with her son and has no intention of announcing it until she has the twelve-week test. She only breaks the news to Skye (her husband), the Dynamos (her mother's friends), and Sam... who then tells Bill, then Bill tells Harry, then Harry proceeds to tell many, many people.
  • Never Rarely Sometimes Always, Autumn hides her pregnancy, only telling her cousin Skylar about it.
  • No Time to Die: Madeleine doesn't get a chance to tell Bond that she's pregnant partly because they're running for their lives and partly because he's furious at her, wrongly thinking that she's betrayed him. By the time he puts her on a train and sends her away, she's too heartbroken to say anything, and it's not until they're reunited five years later that he learns that he's a father.
  • Not Wanted: Sally has her baby in a special institution for unwed mothers.
  • The Prowler (1951): Shortly after the wedding, Susan informs Webb that she is four months pregnant. Since her husband was infertile, she knows that Webb is the baby's father. The date of the baby's conception would prove that they lied in their testimonies to hide their previous relationship; it also would suggest that Webb's killing of Susan's husband was intentional. Webb and Susan flee to Calico, a Ghost Town, for the baby to be born without anyone back home knowing.
  • Quick Change: the female bank robber keeps her pregnancy secret from her boyfriend, the ringleader, firstly because she doesn't want anything to distract him from the heist they're pulling off and wants to wait until they're away and free to spring the good news, then because she doesn't like what he seems to be turning into following the heist. Unfortunately, she confides in the less-than-bright third robber, who accidentally spills the beans.
  • In A Room in Town, one of the reasons Violette is so eager to get married is because she's pregnant with Francois's child, which he's initially unaware of.
  • Saved!: good little Christian girl Mary has sex with her boyfriend in an attempt to "cure" him of his homosexuality. She successfully hides the resulting pregnancy for months because pregnancy at her school is "about as common as the flesh-eating virus."
  • Star Wars: Padmé Amidala does this in scenes whenever she is appearing in public during Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. George Lucas said this was intentional since she needed to uphold her reputation as a senator and, more importantly, hide her relationship with Anakin who is not supposed to have a wife or children. This is somewhat subverted due to a great many people (including a couple of the Jedi) knowing about or having suspicions about their relationship. Thus when she began wearing form-concealing clothes, they connected the dots. Also, Force-users are capable of sensing life via the Force so any Jedi worth their lightsaber likely knew she was pregnant. The surprise for everyone was that she was carrying twins.
  • Tess of the Storm Country: Teola manages to hide the fact that she is pregnant out of wedlock. She finally winds up in Tess's cabin to deliver the baby. Tess then passes off the baby as hers.
  • To Each His Own: Jody has her baby in New York instead of the small town where she's from.
  • Waitress: Jenna tries to keep her pregnancy a secret from her abusive husband and plans to run away with her gynecologist. For several months he thought she was fat. She also keeps this from her demanding boss. Humorously, the boss already knows when she tells him: "You thought I thought you went out and got fat? I don't care if you work while giving birth."
  • Where Hands Touch: Leyna must hide being pregnant, as she's supposed to have been sterilized. Also, it would provide evidence she's had sex with an "Aryan", which is a crime punishable by death.

  • Angie Branzino, in June Casey and Joan Triglia's Bound By Blood. She goes so far as to wear a corset until the sixth month (and only ditches it then because she gets found out).
  • In A Brother's Price people don't ever talk much about late-term pregnancies and try to hide early ones out of a superstitious fear of something going wrong with it. After her brother and several other family members died in an explosion at a theater, a grieving Kij Porter visited a crib and got with child, but it turns out she made the story about the crib up; she had in fact been impregnated by her brother and hid it until she had an excuse not to; because of her noble birth, it would have taken a lot to get her to go to a crib. The fear of sexually transmitted diseases, even after she'd proved clean, made it much less likely that she would be married.
  • In Marion Zimmer Bradley's Centaurus Changeling, Beth hides her pregnancy from her husband. However, as she soon discovers, the air on the planet where they are living is poisonous to pregnant women... And it is revealed in the end that she was mind-controlled by a local to get pregnant without him knowing.
  • In The Dark Tower novel "Wolves of the Calla", Susannah becomes pregnant but decides not to tell Roland, Eddie, or Jake for a long time, since she is also still having her periods. In the next novel, we find her baby is half-Crimson King, half-Roland man/spider hybrid Mordred, although, strangely, Mia is the actual mother and performed a Grand Theft Me on Susannah.
  • In Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Oskar's grandmother deliberately breaks her and his grandfather's agreement to never have children, and she does this for a while, attempting to hide the bump with baggy clothes and pillows. Sadly, he leaves her anyway.
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings: Maya Angelou relates that she hid her pregnancy from her family for eight months.
  • In the backstory of the Inheritance Cycle, it's revealed that both of Selena's pregnancies were this. When he learned she was pregnant with Murtagh, the baby's father Morzan had Selena spirited away to his castle to give birth in secret and then gave Murtagh to nursemaids so his enemies could never use his son against him. Upon learning she was pregnant with Eragon, who was fathered by Brom rather than her husband, Selena secretly returned to Carvahall to give birth and gave Eragon to her brother and sister-in-law to raise.
  • In Tom Clancy's novel The Bear and the Dragon, a woman living in the People's Republic of China conceals that she's pregnant, as the unborn child falls afoul of the PRC's "One Child" policy, and thus would be subject to being aborted. (While one can get a permit for another child, when the first has died, as was the case in this example, the woman in question was part of a known Christian family, so the obstructive bureaucrats of the region denied the couple's permit request.)
  • The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul: Yazmina is pregnant, but the father was killed. So she has to keep the baby a secret out of fear of execution. Thankfully, most of the coffee shop employees are understanding of it, though Ashmat takes some time to accept it.
  • In Lynne Reid Banks' The L-Shaped Room the protagonist has no respect for the father and doesn't want him around, so she doesn't tell him. Made easier by the fact that their paths had uncrossed by then. He finds out by happening to pass her when she's very big.
  • In Margaret Drabble's The Millstone, the narrator doesn't tell the father that their one-night stand had results, and when she happens to see him again, lies about the age of the baby so he won't put two and two together. This is a 'not wanting to burden the father one'.
  • In Newes from the Dead Anne hides her pregnancy because not only is she pregnant out of wedlock, the father is not her sweetheart from the village but her employer's son, who raped her.
  • In the backstory of Nighttime Is My Time, 18 year-old Jean had only just found out she was pregnant when her boyfriend Reed died. No one even knew they were dating (or so Jean believed); Jean knew her parents wouldn't be supportive and she wasn't sure how Reed's family would react, so she confided only in Dr. Connors, who helped organise a private adoption. Jean managed to hide her entire pregnancy and give birth in secret by getting an out-of-town nursing home job lasting eight months; Dr. Connors travelled out there himself to deliver her baby. As a result, Jean is understandably freaked out when someone begins sending her messages that they know about her child.
  • Aliena from The Pillars of the Earth hides her pregnancy until the day of birth. She never had sex with her husband, so she knows he'll know right away it's not his, and wants to put that off as long as possible.
  • In the Jodi Picoult novel Plain Truth, the plot revolves around a deceased newborn having been found in an Amish family's barn, with no one having been aware of the pregnancy. At first, it suggests that the mother had been in the dark about her pregnancy as well, but it becomes clear later that she had worked it out and not told anyone for fear of the repercussions. And the girl's mother had figured it out as well, but not mentioned it.
  • In the Red Rising trilogy, Mustang hides her pregnancy from the majority of the cast and from society at large for multiple reasons. In addition to being a rebel leader fighting on the front lines of a war, Darrow was captured and imprisoned before she even knew she was pregnant, and when he was rescued after being presumed dead for nine months, the resistance movement he's part of is slowly slipping into He Who Fights Monsters territory, and she's concerned that he wouldn't be able to be a good father for their child. She spends the majority of Morning Star subjecting him to a Secret Test of Character to make sure that he'll be able to be a good father when the rebellion is over, and only tells him when he passes her test.
  • In The Red Tent, Leah hides her first pregnancy for a time, so as not to upset Rachel, who is celebrating her own bridal week. Later, Rachel does it herself while she is pregnant with Joseph, until she is about 3–4 months along, hoping she won't "jinx" it and have another miscarriage.
  • Reign of the Seven Spellblades: For reasons currently unknown, Posthumous Character Chloe Halford seems to have kept her pregnancy with main protagonist Oliver Horn a secret known only to the Sherwood clan and the child's father Edgar Groves. Chela McFarlane even recalls having met Chloe as a young girl, but has yet to connect the dots to her best friend Oliver.
  • Rebekah in the book Angel Seekers of the Samaria series until she was forced to try on her wedding dress.
  • The Thornbirds: Meggie goes so far as to sleep with her estranged husband one last time to create an alibi. Justified, as the actual biological father is a Catholic priest. He only finds out years later. Hilarity definitely does not ensue.
  • Time Scout:
    • Kit never suspected he had a granddaughter. Because he never knew his Sarah was pregnant. He had to ask his granddaughter whether he'd had a daughter or a son.
    • Jenna has an extra reason to hide hers: she's disguised as a man with surgically implanted facial hair.
  • Warrior Cats:
    • Leafpool hides her pregnancy from everyone but Squirrelflight, who then raises the kits as her own. Justified in the sense that Leafpool was a medicine cat, a role that's forbidden from having kits. Also, the father was from WindClan.
    • Yellowfang also hides her pregnancy from the rest of her clan, but not from the father, Raggedstar. Then again, she was also a medicine cat.
  • In Wicked, Elphaba goes catatonic after Fieryo's death and didn't realize that she had given birth to Liir during the time.
  • In A Yellow Raft in Blue Water, Ida George's aunt Clara becomes pregnant with her father Lecon's child, and now their family is suffering possible shame because Ida's mother was barren after bearing her and her sister Polly. Ida and Lecon come up with the solution that the child would be Ida's through an alleged illicit affair with the boy she was interested in, Willard Pretty Dog, and to keep the pregnancy secret, Ida and Clara would both be sent away secretly to a Catholic mother house in Colorado where Clara could have the child and then disappear while Ida would return to the reservation, bearing the shame of being the teenage mother of Clara's child, who on paper would legally be her own child.
  • At the end of You Only Live Twice, Kissy does not tell James that she is pregnant; instead allowing him to go off to investigate the lead as to he really is, knowing that he will probably never return.
  • A French short story features a servant girl hide her pregnancy via a belt made of wooden slats, causing the baby to be hideously deformed at birth. Along comes a traveling show, who offers to buy the baby to put it on display. She accepts, and when she gets pregnant once more, out comes the belt again...

    Live-Action TV 
  • On 30 Rock, Avery hides her pregnancy from her co-workers for as long as possible, as part of a play to get a promotion. Since she works as a news anchor, this involves a bunch of jokes about standard things TV shows do to hide pregnancies — she does one broadcast holding a large ham in front of her belly, and later takes up wearing black wizard cloaks.
  • In Another Period set in upper-crust Newport, RI, circa 1902, new household maid Celine (a/k/a "Chair") is not only having an affair with her employer, Commodore Bellacourt, but is pregnant with the Commodore's child. Which (being on a reality-TV Mockumentary) she reveals to the Confession Cam. By the end of the first season, she will use her condition to attempt to seize control of the entire estate.
  • Baywatch: In the episode "Baywatch Down Under", Jake learns that his ex-wife didn't tell him she had become pregnant with his child before divorcing him because she felt he needed to be free and didn't want him to feel obliged to stay with her.
  • On black•ish, Bow hides her pregnancy from her hospital staff because she's up for a promotion to partner.
  • The Brittas Empire: Carole keeps her pregnancy secret from Brittas during Series 2 as she fears that she would lose her job (and her home). Brittas winds up not finding out until she is actively giving birth. Luckily for Carole, although Brittas considers doing it, he doesn't fire her in the end.
  • Charmed (1998): Fourth sister Paige was explained away as being the result of this. Patty Halliwell knew that her three oldest daughters were destined to become the Charmed Ones and worried that her fourth child would strip them of that. She and Paige's father kept the pregnancy secret and had the baby adopted to ensure that destiny played out as it should.
    Patty: You were both toddlers. You just thought Mommy got a little fat. You never knew I was pregnant.
  • The Chosen: Eden gets pregnant just before Simon leaves to go preaching, but loses the baby while he's gone. She can't bring herself to tell Simon for some time. When Simon eventually finds out, it's a while before he finally tells John on the way to the Decapolis, because he can't understand why Jesus would heal complete strangers but not prevent this.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances", the mother kept her pregnancy secret from everyone. It is then revealed that her younger brother was actually her son.
    • In "The Unicorn and the Wasp", a woman returned from abroad and spent the next few months in her room, claiming severe illness. Of course, she was really pregnant. Also, this was the late 19th century, she was unmarried, and the father was a shape-shifting alien wasp, so she had some pretty good reasons to hide.
    • Amy Pond does a very good job of this. Of course, she's completely unaware because the Amy we've seen all season is actually a ganger and her real body has been trapped in a white tube, super pregnant on a far-away space base.
  • In season four of Downton Abbey Lady Edith becomes pregnant out of wedlock and decides to hide the pregnancy and give the baby away once it's born.
  • A tragic version on Earth: Final Conflict. Sibohan Beckett and Ron Sandoval were raped by Ha'Gel. Sibohan is captured by the Resistance and gives birth to Liam in captivity. The Resistance decide to mindwipe her to prevent her from revealing their hideout to the Taelons, with the caveat that if she remembered Liam was her son, it would cause the alien implant in her head to overload and kill her. She eventually does, and the only consolation is that Liam's by her side (and Sandoval's watching from the shadows) as she dies.
  • Farscape: Due to some genetic Applied Phlebotinum, Peacekeepers can keep a pregnancy in status for up to 7 cycles (years.) As a result, it isn't difficult for Aeryn to hide her pregnancy from John...until Noranti spills the beans, anyway.
  • General and I: Bai Ping Ting has to hide her pregnancy while a prisoner in Bai Lan because it would put her and her child's life in danger if it was found out.
  • In Glee, Quinn tries to hide her pregnancy from everyone but Finn and Puck, since she knows she'll likely lose every bit of her social status when people find out, not to mention her strict Baptist parents' reaction. It doesn't stay hidden for very long, though.
  • How I Met Your Mother: When Lily first finds out she's pregnant, she and Marshall try to hide it from their friends for the first three months as to not jinx things. This becomes an issue at Punchy and Kelly's wedding the week they find out, as Lily has to pass all her drinks to Marshall, whose Alcohol-Induced Stupidity ends up outing Kelly's secret pregnancy by mistake. Eventually they just decide to tell their friends, who are all extremely happy for them.
  • Keep Breathing: Liv didn't tell Danny after she got pregnant, which likely stems from her fear of intimacy as she rejected a relationship with him before, while having a baby would draw him closer. She also is very unsure she'll be a good mother or wants to have a baby at all initially.
  • Tina from The L Word hides her second pregnancy from everyone, especially her then-ex Bette, for fear of Bette's reaction if she has another miscarriage.
  • Peggy on Mad Men, being a nice Catholic girl who had had sex just that one time when she got pregnant, didn't even find out for herself until going into labor; even after the baby's been put up for adoption, she doesn't mention it to anyone, even the father, until the last episode of Season 2, when everyone is panicking during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Completely justified, considering that it is the very early '60s.
  • NCIS Ziva neglected to tell anyone that she and Tony had a daughter until after her death, when the child was brought over from Israel to live with her unsuspecting dad.
  • The Pact: Tamsin is pregnant with Jack's baby, and initially doesn't tell anyone.
  • The Rookie (2018): In the third season, with Lopez discovering her pregnancy literally a day before being officially promoted to Detective, rather than reveal her news she instead opts to keep her pregnancy a secret for as long as possible so that she isn’t treated as “fragile” for turning up as pregnant on day one as detective.
  • Stargate Atlantis has Teyla hiding her pregnancy from her superiors for a while because she doesn't want to be taken off the duty roster. When Sheppard starts to get suspicious due to her immediately visiting the infirmary after getting hit by a Wraith stunner, she confesses that she's in the second trimester and was worried the stunner could harm the child. He instantly chews her ass off for risking her life and that of her child's like this before putting her on maternity leave.
  • K'Ehleyr from Star Trek: The Next Generation doesn't tell her son Alexander's father about him until he is three years old, and probably would've waited longer if she hadn't been sent back to the Enterprise. Worf is understandably pissed.
  • In Star Trek: Voyager, B'Elanna Torres becomes pregnant with Tom Paris' child during the final season, but want to keep the pregnancy under wraps for as long as possible without the whole crew finding out about it before they have the chance to tell them themselves. Unfortunately, this being Voyager, the news gets out to the whole crew (with the exception of Tuvok not hearing anything about it except from Tom himself), and they get showered with congratulations sooner than they were hoping.
  • Succession: Shiv gets pregnant, likely towards the end of Season 3, and it’s revealed to the audience in 4x04. At that moment, she hasn’t told anyone, likely due to a mix of getting divorced from Tom (the baby’s father) and the shock of Logan’s unexpected death.
  • Underground: Rosalee keeps her pregnancy hidden under loose clothing from everyone, including the father, so she can continue liberating slaves.
  • Virgin River: Lilly Anderson, reeling from the loss of her husband and drowning in grief, hid her pregnancy from everyone - her family and town included. The truth wasn't discovered until after she had the baby.
  • Scully hides her pregnancy from everyone except A.D. Skinner for several months on The X-Files. The reason for hiding it is never really given, though there are a fewnote  Theories  It wasn't until close to the birth and after William is born that we find out he's an alien/human hybrid, of sorts, and every bad guy wants him thanks to a prophecy. A more benign reason is that she wanted to keep on the hunt for Mulder without issue, didn't think anyone else needed to know (including her new partner), or the fact that the men in her life kind of become twitchy, overprotective bodyguards when they find out she's pregnant.
  • Yellowjackets: Shauna is pregnant in 1996, and is keeping it a secret (however Taissa finds out, though she doesn't tell). This is because she's pregnant from Jeff, boyfriend of her best friend Jackie.

  • In Jairo's song "La Balada de Corto Maltese" (Ballad of Corto Maltese), when Corto drops by Buenos Aires, he becomes involved with a local Mafia Princess. When he leaves, she decides not to tell him that she's pregnant with their kid. At the end of the song, it's mentioned that her and Corto's son goes to the port to wait for his father's appearance. He never comes back.
  • In "Down from Dover" by Dolly Parton, the singer is an unmarried woman keeping her pregnancy a secret while the father is in Dover.
  • The Run–D.M.C. rap section of Kurtis Blow's "8 Million Stories" goes like this:
    A young girl seems to be gaining weight.
    The parents all thought it was the food she ate.
    Their attitudes are all la-de-da-de,
    But little do they know, there was a baby in her body.
    She tries to hide it, but the parents'll soon know,
    'Cause sooner or later, the baby's got to show.
    Can't the parents just accept it as a fact
    That it wasn't a meal and it wasn't a snack?
  • In Tupac Shakur's song "Brenda's Got a Baby," the eponymous Brenda is stated to have tried to hide her pregnancy from her family, though they wouldn't have cared even if they did find out. In the video, she is shown wearing a baggy sweatshirt and resisting a hug from her dad. Apparently, she hides it well enough that no one (her family, her friends, or her teachers) notice any change in how she looks, right up until she gives birth in the bathroom at school.

    Mythology & Religion 
  • In The Achilleid, Deidamia conceals her pregnancy via Achilles from everyone but her nurse. She even manages to keep it a secret after giving birth to her kid.

    Video Games 
  • If you romance Aerie throughout Baldur's Gate 2 and its expansion the end result is pregnancy while you are still in the middle of adventuring. Rather smartly Aerie mentions that until the later stages it won't be visible under her long flowing robes. The reason why she decides to hide it from the rest of your party is that she has only recently managed to prove herself as competent in their eyes and does not want their pity or insistence that she needs to slow down.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic:
    • If you decide to romance Doc as the Jedi Knight, you'll have a chat about having kids. Since Jedi aren't supposed to have families, he reckons you wouldn't have a problem hiding a pregnancy under all those robes, and when it is born, he'll pretend it's a distant cousin.
    • In the backstory, Grandmaster Satele did this when she wound up pregnant (and gave the kid up for adoption). Meaning she's more than a bit of a hypocrite when it comes to the "no attachment, no families" doctrine.
  • The Turing Test: Audio logs in one of the hidden rooms reveal that Sarah at some point became pregnant by Chris. Such a relationship would likely be a huge breach of protocol, as even in the current era all space agencies have strident regulations designed to prevent women astronauts getting or being pregnant in space, due both to ethical concerns and the effects that cosmic radiation could have on a developing embryo. The rest of the logs progress from her telling Mikhail about it, to him offering to help her terminate the pregnancy, to him later telling a sobbing Sarah that the fetus has developed a birth defect which will either result in miscarriage or stillbirth. And if you solve the first optional room you find a grave of the child, Minos Brook.
  • Christa in The Walking Dead (Telltale) fits this trope. She attempts to hide her pregnancy from the group, probably fearing they'll kick her and Omid out if Lee and Kenny found out. When Lee asks what she and Omid were arguing about, she tells him to mind his own business, when she vomits due to the rotting dog (no one else did, not even Clementine), she tries to pass it off as the extreme smell. Also, Lee and Vernon find a sonogram, and she says, with a tone of familiarity, "It's a sonogram." Eventually, Kenny finds out when he offers her whiskey. She takes the bottle and looks down at her stomach. Kenny stares at her for a moment, and then she gulps down about half the bottle before handing it back to Kenny. It's implied by his facial expression, he was thinking, "Holy shit! She must be pregnant!"

    Visual Novels 
  • Daughter for Dessert:
    • Taken to its logical extreme in the “good” ending with Amanda. When they get the news, the protagonist and Amanda leave behind their friends and their business to start over again in Hawaii.
    • Given her family’s attitude toward her relationship with the protagonist and Cecilia’s attempt at revenge on him, it’s very possible that Lainie kept her own pregnancy with Amanda secret from them. Otherwise, Cecilia probably would have come looking for Amanda sooner.
  • Galaxy Angel: A secret sub-route in the first game reveals that Shiva Transbaal was conceived from an affair between Emperor Gerard and Lady Shatoyarn. Given the potential repercusions of a relationship between the Emperor and the Holy Mother, Shiva was raised secretly by Shatoyarn in the White Moon, all the while unaware of her true parentage. As very few people are privy to this information, Shatoyarn must have successfully kept it in secret.
  • Averted in the Family Ending of Melody. The title character has no choice but to tell Hank about her pregnancy, and it prevents her from going on tour to promote her debut album. Her contract with Sharp Records is ultimately canceled.

  • In Part Two of Ennui GO!, most of the original cast are shown starting families while Len seemed to be one of the few who wasn't pregnant. However, in "Super Frat Bros", she reveals herself to be pregnant all along. She had been using a glamour spell to hide her belly bump throughout most of her appearances up until that point. As to why, Noah helpfully explains that she wants people to still think "she's got fat tiddies but a slim waist."
  • In Erfworld, Parson explains pregnancy as "how our units pops" to Janis. She then asks if he has popped any. He thinks of invoking this trope — "none that I know of" — as a joke, but then he would have to explain that, too. He just says no."
  • In Megatokyo, Miho's Endgames character, m0h, impregnated Piro's character, Pirogoeth, shortly before Miho's permaban. Piro never told Miho about this. (Yes, the game in question has some absurd realism, beyond what any real MMORPG can do.)
  • In Rain, Emily is impregnated (strongly implied to be nonconsensually) by her (now ex-)boyfriend Chase around Halloween. As she goes to a Catholic high school where premarital sex is potential grounds for expulsion, she hides her pregnancy from everyone at school except her close friend (and later girlfriend) Rain,note  for most of the rest of the school year, until she's too far along to hide it anymore. When she finally has to come clean to the rest of the school, she's given an extended period of detention and stripped of her valedictorianship to punish her for having sex outside marriage (never mind that she almost certainly had no say in the matter).

    Web Original 
  • In The Birch, Lanie's parents, claiming she had mononucleosis, took her out of school and kept her at home until she gave birth. Afterwards, they actively try to convince her that the new baby is her "sister".

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons: Homer was in the dark during most of the time Marge was pregnant with Maggie, in part because she knew Homer planned to just stay with two kids and keep his dream job at the bowling alley and didn't want to upset him. Her sisters, wanting to see Homer suffer, spread the news around town. However, Homer was far too thick to see the signs, understand the congratulatory euphemisms, or notice the outright statements of his soon-to-be fatherhood, and in fact only fully understood after someone congratulated him on his new job due to Rule of Funny.

    Real Life 
  • During the reign of Louis XV of France, a young woman who gave birth to his stillborn child was charged with infanticide because she had hidden the pregnancy. Remember that as this was a classical European monarchy, and France, she was unlikely to have been stigmatized for this. The King's mistress, Madame du Barry, pleaded with the King to spare the girl's life; her request solidified his love for her because it was the first time she had ever asked him for anything, and it was for someone else. Later on she asked him for quite a bit for herself, to put it mildly.
  • Sex columnist Dan Savage notes in his book The Commitment how his parents got married after a brief engagement and in a borrowed wedding dress because they were expecting, and didn't want their Catholic families to know they conceived a child out of wedlock.
  • In older times, this was often inverted by adoptive mothers who would fake being pregnant because they didn't want their families and friends to ask too many questions. In the case of Sir Paul Nurse, his grandmother did this to hide the fact that the baby she brought home after going out of town and raised as her biological child was actually the son of her teenage daughter, whom he thought of as his older sister. Sir Paul found this out only in his fifties, when he was initially refused a passport despite his many honors because his short form birth certificate did not list his parents.
  • Nobody outside Sarah Palin's immediate family knew she was pregnant with Trig, her fifth child, until she was seven months in. For a forty-something, mother-of-four governor, that's not unimpressive. Unfortunately for her, this just gave ammunition to her political opponents, who accused her of faking the pregnancy to cover up premarital hanky-panky by her teenage daughternote . No actual evidence exists to support the claim, but when has that ever stopped people from making accusations against political figures they don't like?
  • There is a TLC show called Secretly Pregnant which deals with women that hide their pregnancy for whatever reason. For example, one woman hid her pregnancy because she was 40 years old and pregnant by a 19-year-old.
  • There are at least two stories about foreign au pair servants in London circa the 1980s who turned out to have been hurriedly sent onto new employers, who were found to be heavily pregnant (one who went into labour within 24 hours of being hired). They tended to speak little English, had no home but their jobs, and were usually afraid of being sent home if they spoke up (and employers decided the easiest way was to foist them onto other households). Another girl held in her 'bump' with a wide leather belt until her employer worked it out a few weeks before the birth (she'd gone to England hoping to keep her pregnancy secret from her family and have the baby adopted; eventually, she couldn't give up the baby, and her employer helped her reconcile with her mother).
  • Attempted by Lady Katherine Grey, the middle child of the unlucky Grey sisters. She fell in love with and married Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford. Young Queen Elizabeth I would not have approved of this match, since Katherine was in the line of succession and Hertford was a descendant of Edward III. This meant that if they produced a child, and especially a male one, said issue could theoretically challenge Elizabeth's own rule. After their wedding and Insatiable Newlyweds behavior Katherine found that she was indeed pregnant. To hide both the pregnancy and the marriage from which it resulted from the Queen, Katherine wore progressively larger, looser dresses. The ruse worked so well that she gave birth while imprisoned in the Tower of London (where she and Edward conceived another child.)


Video Example(s):


Carole's Secret Pregnancy

Carole's pregnancy is becoming more and more obvious, although she's still too scared to tell Mr. Brittas about it.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / MySecretPregnancy

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