Someone in a relationship deliberately causes a pregnancy without their partner's consent, usually by lying about or sabotaging birth control, in order to bind their partner to them. The character's motivations run the gamut from understandable to reprehensible: sometimes they're just clingy and/or desperate to get hitched or have a child; other times they feel the relationship is on the rocks and believe that babies make everything better; still other times they feel the pregnancy will establish a claim on the other person (or their resources, such as pursuing an inheritance or child support payments) or make it harder for him/her to leave. In accordance with the Law of Inverse Fertility, attempting this even once will invariably result in pregnancy, with all attendant drama.
A variation involves a woman faking a pregnancy with the intention of faking a convenient miscarriage after the wedding, or actually being pregnant but lying about who the father is. Can lead to a shotgun wedding, or a very special episode about abortion or adoption, but more often drama or hilarity ensues, depending on what sort of show we're dealing with.
While it's usually made clear that this is a cheap, sneaky thing to do, rarely is it pointed out that it's actually a form of spousal and/or child abuse.
The character doing this is usually female, often a teenage girl, because of gender stereotypes that say all women are desperate to get married and have babies while all men flee commitment as long as they can. (This is dependent upon several factors within real life, such as abortion rights. These laws can cause a huge imbalances in agency, whereas either a woman has all control over what happens within her body or none at all. This can also put pressure on the father as well, who has to either make an "honest woman" of her or take financial responsibility.) Because of this, female characters who are disliked by their male partner's friends or family may be suspected of plotting to use this trope on him even if there's no evidence of any such thing. The moral tone also depends on several factors, such as the gender doing the trapping and the circumstances in which the sex took place. For example, a man who traps a woman is portrayed as planting something within her body that she does not want there. The greater problems of Double Standard Rape and Marital Rape License also create deeper concerns which we will NOT get into here.
This usually involves some form of Contraception Deception. The most common example of this (poking a hole in a condom with a pin) is a mild example of artistic license; it's possible but much harder to do (at least without the partner noticing) than it looks on TV. Condoms are designed so that failure is usually obvious. Most of the time, using a condom with even a small hole will result in the whole thing shredding apart under use.
It's quite easy, however, to stop taking birth control pills without telling the partner, which is also a common form of this trope.
- The is part of the Freudian Excuse for a pair of Creepy Twins in the Great Teacher Onizuka spinoff Shonan 14 Days: their mother was having an affair and had the kids in an attempt to blackmail the father into marrying her.
- In the sequel to ½ Prince Lan's brother pokes a hole in a condom to force Lolidragon to marry him when she's hesitant to commit.
- In the manga version of His And Her Circumstances, Souichiro Arima's birth mother Ryouko does this to squeeze child support money out of his father Reiji because she knows Reiji is the son of a rich doctor. (What she doesn't know is that Reiji is illegitimate, much younger than his father's legitimate children, and actively hated by all of them except Souji, the eldest). She leaves Soichiro to die sometime after finding this out, but Soichiro is saved by Reiji's timely arrival and ends up being adopted soon after by Souji and his wife Shizune, who can't have children of their own.
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans plays around quite a bit with this in a rare example of this being done for non-selfish reasons. After a particularly nasty battle in the second season, Atra gets it in her head to have a child with the protagonist Mikazuki to give him a reason to live and snap him out of his self-destructive tendencies. And if it's not with her, then him impregnating Kudelia is another option. Hilariously, when she finally does ask Mika about it, his response is basically "Yeah, sure"... Unfortunately, he winds up dying in the end anyway, leaving Atra to raise little Akatsuki with Kudelia.
- Nagasarete Airantou: Ayane once planned doing this to Ikuto to make him more unwilling to leave the island. For once her plan works and she manages to pin down Ikuto under her while being half naked. Unfortunately she has no idea what they are supposed to do next. At least she gets their First Kiss out of it!
- In Oishii Kankei, Kanako tries to pull this on Keiji to force him to marry her. She was, in fact, pregnant, but the baby wasn't his, but from her boss.
- Sae of Peach Girl believes herself to be pregnant (this is later proved to be psychological) and tries to use this to bind Ryo to her who she loved who loved Misao instead. When Ryo refuses her and tries to leave with Misao she blurted out that she was pregnant.
- In the anime version of School Days, Kotonoha is convinced Sekai did this to Makoto and cuts open Sekai's belly to "make sure" after murdering her. Is this what actually happened? The show's ambiguous on it: Sekai has a fairly strong claim in regards to pregnancy itself, but it's left up in the air whether she deliberately pulled the trope, or this is just Teen Pregnancy without the baby trap itself behind. (Some fans speculate that Sekai might not have been pregnant, but sincerely believed she was due to having symptoms that could easily be mistaken as those of pregnancy).
- Subverted hilariously early in Tenchi Muyo!, when Ryoko implies that her ship's egg is actually her and Tenchi's. Tenchi's family and even Sasami are actually happy for them (though obviously not Aeka), totally ignoring Tenchi's denials. The egg quickly hatches and is revealed to be the cabbit-like Ryo-Ohki, but some swear they still see a resemblance to Tenchi.
- Carol Leifer, the Real Life inspiration for Elaine Benes, had this variant:
He tricked me into marrying him. He told me he was pregnant.
- Comedy writer/standup Ali Wong talked about this trope throughout her standup special "Baby Cobra". Specifically, she talked about turning her dating life around from the losers she used to date when she met her husband and going out of her way to be sure to get into a relationship with him and get him to propose to her because he had much better prospects for the future than any man she might otherwise date. She specifically, and repeatedly, describes it as "trapping" him, with the hope that thanks to his business background she could retire early and still live a happy, prosperous life of comfort. But at the very end of the special, it turns into a subversion when she describes discovering that his Harvard education had left him massively in debt and they would, in fact, be relying on her money from writing for shows like Fresh Off the Boat to take care of it.
Worked hard to trap his ass, got him to propose to me, oh my God, then we got married, my dream is coming true, then we got pregnant, and recently we bought our first home together. And two weeks into the escrow process, I learned that my beautiful, Harvard educated husband was seventy thousand dollars in debt. And me, with my hard earned T.V. money, wound up paying it all off. [beat] So as it turns out, he's the one who trapped me! ... Now if I don't work, we die! Why else do think I'm doing this show while seven and a half months pregnant?!
- Her second special, Hard Knock Wife goes further into it. She jokes about how her husband knows how loaded she is and so doesn't give a fuck about himself in his business life and he knows his wife is totally loaded. She darkly admits the irony of trying to trap him but in reality trapped herself into a marriage that she is at the least very happy with.
- The retelling of Batman's tryst with Talia in the New 52 plays along these lines; Talia spikes Bruce's drink with something before they get to it, and the morning after tells him that their son will be a worthy successor to the two of them.
- Subverted and later played straight with Cheshire.
- Subverted in the case of her daughter Lian, who wasn't planned. Cheshire still followed through on the pregnancy and gave birth to Lian as part of her revenge plan against Roy Harper for walking out on her. Her goal was to torment Roy, first by revealing their child's existence but never letting Roy near them, later by feeding Roy the barest details about Lian's development and how all of it was happening without him. Even after Roy gained permanent custody of Lian, Cheshire was still capable of manipulating Roy by relying on her connection to Lian.
- Played straight with her son Tommy, who was deliberately conceived for this trope. While being blackmailed into joining the Secret Six, Cheshire singled out Catman as the most desirable candidate and seduced him to get pregnant again. She did this for two reasons. The first being that she would now have a child in case Mockingbird followed through on his threat to detonate a bomb in Lian's head. The second that she would rely on Catman to protect her from the Six's eventual retaliation after she betrayed them to the Secret Society.
Cheshire: Mockingbird may kill my beloved child. So isn't it fortunate that I will soon have a replacement?
- In DCU Infinite Holiday Special issue #1, Supergirl must reunite a little girl with her father, a jerkass drunk who thinks his ex-wife got pregnant to force him into a marriage.
Fred: Or that he never would have married that witch if she hadn't skipped her pill on purpose—!
- In The Sandman, Shakespeare's wife implies she did this to Will and Will seems to think his eldest daughter is planning the same for her boyfriend.
- It's been Retconned that Spawn's widow Wanda purposely stopped taking her birth control pills in hopes that a baby would change Al, who back in the day was a ruthless assassin. He ends up punching her in the stomach, killing the baby as well as all speculation that Cyan is his daughter.
- In X-Factor, Rahne, who is very Protestant and pregnant with a mutant-Wolf God hybrid baby, lets ex-boyfriend Rictor assume that he's the father of her baby after returning to find him about to get busy with Shatterstar.
- Part of the backstory dump Selina tells Damian in Batman: Angel of Death is that her mother Isabella was mistress to a wealthy man (implied to be mafia don Carmine Falcone), and got pregnant hoping he would leave his real family for her. It didn't work at all, so Isabella quickly pulled this on Selina's "legal" father, Brian Kyle, who did marry her. This is what first comes close to endearing her to Damian, who is the product of similar circumstances.
- Mariella Zabini from Black Sky is purely motivated by her desire to escape her life as a prostitute when she engages herself into an affair with the Prince of Sabina, whom she knows is without a male heir to succeed her. Unusually for this trope, the baby's birth would have been a boon for every party involved: Sabina gets an Heir and Mariella as the mother gets to spend her life in comfort and safety. Unfortunately, the Prince wasn't keen on acknowledging he fathered a bastard, so he brutally mind-wiped Mariella and abandoned her to die in a slum, with her son who later grows up to become Xanxus of the Vongola.
- Doing It Right This Time: In this story, Naoko was supposed to use Gendo's wife Yui's eggs to create Rei. Instead of it, she used her own eggs. Ritsuko thinks her mother was trying to baby-trap Gendo, but Gendo doubts Naoko swapped her genetic material with Yui's because she was trying to make him committed to her.
"Look! Read the results. They still had Mom's DNA profile in the records. She must've had an egg left over from the MAGI, and... Oh, fucking hell. She was sleeping with him. She must have been. Why else would she do this? She was trying to baby trap Gendo."
- In the A Hat in Time AU fic What to Expect When You're On the Run, Vanessa purposely got herself pregnant because she wanted her husband to leave his university and be with her more permanently.
- A male version occurs in Heart of Ashes. Smaug decides to get an offspring with Kathryn to make sure she won't leave him ever again. He copulates with her in his human form several times, but her menstrual period occurs soon after. When he blurts out his intentions in anger, Kathryn is hurt and furious with him for not first talking with her about getting a child.
- New Tamaran features on interesting variant. After the events of Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo, Slade forced a team of scientists to create a child from the DNA of Robin and Starfire, with the intention of raising the child as his apprentice. However, one of those scientists was Oracle, who escaped and impregnated herself with the child, whom she intends on using to force Robin and Starfire to stay together. She's convinced this is the only way to stop Robin from becoming a lonely brooder like Batman.
- The Pieces Lie Where They Fell: In the sequel Picking up the Pieces, some of Deep Blade's past lovers have tried to do this via Fake Pregnancy in order to have an excuse to marry into his family. When Sergeant Summer Nights finds out, she notes that such actions are a crime.
- In Viper Ginny was pregnant with her married lover's baby and tried to convince Harry that it was his, despite the pesky little fact that he was (a) no longer in a relationship with her and (b) a virgin.
- At the start of 8 Mile, Rabbit says his girlfriend might be pregnant. She later says she just said that in an effort to make him stay.
- Attempted in The Associate on a non-existent man who was, when he appeared, a crossdressing woman.
- The gold-digging eponymous Bad Teacher mentions that she tried doing something like this to basketball players (as mentioned below), but that they were always smart enough to make sure that the condom was intact and to take it with them after the deed was complete.
- Big Daddy features a rare Gender Flip variant: through a clerical mix-up, the protagonist Sonny Koufax becomes the legal guardian for a small child, but rather than attempt to amend the situation decides to adopt the child in hopes that this will help fix his failing relationship with his girlfriend. One of his friends explicitly compares the situation to a woman who attempts to get pregnant in hopes of fixing a failing marriage.
- In Drop Dead Fred, the reason Lizzie's mother Polly was so cruel to her was because she used this trick to try and save her marriage. When it didn't work, she placed the blame squarely on her daughter's shoulders.
- One weird example: In the movie French Twist, a lesbian asks her girlfriend's husband to get her pregnant. The film then picks up again after she's had the baby, and ends with the four of them (lesbian, girlfriend, husband, and baby) living together happily.
- The original release also has the husband being seduced by a guy. This was left out of the American release, for obvious reasons.
- Gone Girl has an interesting variant. Nick wants to have children with Amy, to the point of starting fertility treatments, but Amy changes her mind and has the sperm samples destroyed.... or so Nick thinks. Amy turns out to have kept the sample on ice. After she frames Nick for her murder, he naturally wants nothing more to do with her, but she impregnates herself with his stored sperm, believing that he'd rather stay with her than abandon his child. It works.
- Another weird example: in the movie A Home At The End Of The World a gay man named Johnathan is attempting to get his best friend, a straight woman named Clare, pregnant so they can both raise the baby together. When Jonathan's old boyfriend Bobby enters their life and also begins a sexual relationship with Clare, it obviously creates huge discourse within the trio. When Johnathan has finally had enough a threatens to leave them both, Clare reveals that she's pregnant, although she doesn't mention who the father is. This causes both Bobby and Johnathan to put aside their differences and they all raise the baby together as a family unit.
- In the film version of Interview with the Vampire, Lestat seems to first see Claudia as the "baby" for his version of this, to force Louis to stay with him. It's interesting.
- In The Invisible Man (2020), Cecilia had a secret stash of birth control pills because she knew Adrian, her abusive husband, wanted to have a baby to enact this trope. However, Cecilia gets committed to a mental hospital after Adrian killed her sister while wearing his invisible suit in the restaurant she and Cecilia were eating dinner. When she gets a medical check up she finds out that she's pregnant with Adrian's child, and finds out that he replaced her secret birth control pills with placebos shortly before she ran away from the house as away to ensure that she would return to him.
- Though it's a recurring point in An Officer and a Gentleman, the movie also tries something different: Lynette only claims to be pregnant so that Sid stays in a relationship with her. She spills the beans when he resigns from the military to be with her, which she didn't want. One has to wonder when she would have confessed her lack of pregnancy otherwise.
- When Julianne Moore's character gets pregnant in Nine Months, her boyfriend and his best friend ponder the possibility of her using this trope, as he's much happier in their childless, unmarried relationship than she is.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: Angelica tries to stop Jack from abandoning her on the desert island by lying that she is pregnant with his child; however, Jack isn't fooled.
- The Red Pill:
- Activists within the film argue that if a woman enacts this on a man, he has pretty much no legal recourse from being saddled with a child he didn't want or wasn't prepared for. In some cases, a man is legally obligated to care for a child even if he isn't the biological father.
- Activists mention France's banning of "at-will" paternity tests without a court order, which limits options for men to prove actual paternity.
- One of the activists in the film Jaye interviews alleges that it was done to him by his own wife, who trapped him in their marriage through getting pregnant, and then describes the hell she put him through in their custody battle.
- Lynette is the aspiration for Caitlyn McNabb, one of the main antagonists of the TV movie Revenge Of The Bridesmaids. When her mom grows too old to snag her fourth husband, Caitlyn carries on the family tradition. After an impulsive one-night stand with her friend Racheals super-rich ex-boyfriend Tony, she fakes a pregnancy to trick him into marriage, even though hes still in love with Racheal and vice versa. She even cheats on a doctors test using her best friends sister's urine, whos constantly pregnant due to being married to an Irish-Catholic. Of course, by the end of the movie, Tonys suspicious of her true motives, and lies about his family losing his fortune to test her. Once she thinks that Tonys broke, Caitlyn loses all interest and reveals her lie, and the wedding is called off.
- Diana, the mother in Too Close To Home, believes that this was pulled on her son to get him to marry his child's mother. This was averted since the son's wife confessed to her pregnancy after he asked her to marry him.
- Unforgettable (2017): After he broke up with her, Tessa intentionally got pregnant with David's baby so he'd stay with her, on her mother's advice as a means to insure this. However, this only extended their relationship for a time, and they got divorced when their daughter was fairly young.
- Subverted in the film Watch It; Ellen, who had been happily seeing Rick until he started acting like a jerk toward her, tells Rick she's pregnant and is keeping the baby. However, it turns out to be a practical joke she and John (his roommate) cooked up to get Rick to grow up and be a man.
- In Accelerando Mannfred Macx's girlfriend rapes him to have his child and force him to be what she sees as a responsible adult. Ultimately subverted; while she does have a daughter, and Mannfred does what he can to be a part of her life, he continues his lifestyle as before.
- In The Age of Innocence, Newland Archer expresses his desire to give up his law practice and travel the world (what he really wants to do is escape his loveless marriage and follow his wife's cousin Ellen to Paris). His wife May gently tells him, "I'm afraid you can't, dear. Not unless you take me with you. That is if the doctors will let me go..." thus revealing that she's pregnant.
- In Brave Story we eventually learn that Wataru's mom faked a pregnancy to get her ex (who was already in a relationship with another woman) to marry her. He does, but it doesn't end well.
- In the Maeve Binchy novel Circle Of Friends, after being ditched by her lover and not wanting to have an abortion, a desperate Nan seduces Jackher best friend's boyfriendand tells him he's the baby's father, knowing that he'll do the right thing and offer to marry her.
- Jennifer Crusie's works:
- In Welcome to Temptation, this happens twice. The main male character (many years before the book starts) marries his girlfriend at the time who becomes pregnant after lying to him about using birth control. A minor main character also marries a girlfriend who claims she's pregnant (also many years earlier), despite being in love with someone else. As the book puts it, "Eleven months later, sure enough, she had a baby."
- In What the Lady Wants, Armand first gets June pregnant, then when that child dies he brings home his orphaned niece so she wouldn't leave. Then there's Stormy, who poked holes in the condoms so Armand would marry her, not knowing he had a secret vasectomy years before.
- Dark Heart: Wyre claims to be pregnant by Raine after they have sex, so he feels duty-bound to marry her. It turns out she's isn't, and was just lying to manipulate him.
- Subverted in Egalia's Daughters - men are the ones responsible for oral contraception and have to earn a woman's approval to become social fathers to a child. There is a very tragic male character who works as a teacher, and one of the boys in his class is his biological son, with whom he had no contact prior to that.
- In Gone with the Wind, the novel at least, Scarlett kicks herself for not thinking of this as a means of marrying Ashley after someone tells her about Rhett refusing to marry a girl he "ruined".
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince:
- This is speculated by Dumbledore to be the reason Merope Gaunt stops giving Tom Riddle Sr. love potions. She did it in the hope that he had really fallen in love with her, or would at least stay for the sake of the child she was pregnant with. Turns out he did neither.
- It's also speculated that this was the reason the Muggles of Tom Riddle Sr.'s village used to explain why he inexplicably abandoned his previous girlfriend and ran off with a poor girl who lived in a shack, before coming back claiming he'd been deceived - that Merope lied to him that she was pregnant with his child.
- Invoked in a supernatural way in Interview with the Vampire: Lestat changes Claudia into a vampire so Louis will not leave him — if Louis leaves, Lestat will starve Claudia to madness.
- From Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure: Arabella, acting on the advice of her friends, uses this ploy to get Jude Fawley to marry her. It works but, oddly enough, she forgets about the baby till Jude reminds her months later. She just makes up a miscarriage and he believes her. At first.
- Though she's certainly not above doing it, it's a bit more ambiguous than that, since she tells her friends (to whom she has no reason to lie) that she genuinely thought herself pregnant. It gets weirder though when eight years later, after they've divorced, she tells him that they did indeed have a child together, born after they were separated, and could he please look after the kid now?
- In Kill Time or Die Trying, a girl claims to be pregnant with Kevin's child, and the group plot to steal a sample of her urine for a home pregnancy test. Successfully..
- A male example: in Morality Meat by James Tiptree Jr., a woman gets pregnant because her boyfriend pokes holes in the condoms. She found out about it after she heard him tell a friend to "keep his women a little bit pregnant". Classy.
- Parade's End: in England before WWI, a beautiful but manipulative socialite tricks a wealthy aristocrat into marrying her when she discovers she's pregnant after having a quickie with him after a chance meeting on a train. Worst still the baby may not even be his due to the woman's promiscuous ways, though he does leave her for another woman he actually loves in the end.
- A particularly dark example in 'Salem's Lot, where Reggie Sawyer punishes his wife for her adultery by repeatedly beating and raping her...after flushing her birth control pills down the toilet. Yeah, Reggie richly earned the Laser-Guided Karma that he got later.
- The third book of the The School for Good and Evil series reveals the main characters, Sophie and Agatha, are the result of this. Their mother Vanessa orchestrated a one-night stand with Stefan, the man she was obsessed with, so he would have to marry her. When she could only give birth to stillborns, Vanessa took a fertility potion and had twin girls, abandoning the ugly one but keeping the beautiful one to save her marriage. While Stefan stayed for his daughter's sake, like all Vanessa's past and future attempts, it failed to make him love his wife.
- In the second book of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, a girl that Kostos slept with does this in order to guilt him into marrying her. In the fourth book, it's revealed that she faked the pregnancy.
- Mentioned at the beginning of the first Sword of Truth book.
- Used by Drefan Rahl's mother with Darken Rahl. Her theory was that if she could give birth to a magically gifted child and heir, Darken Rahl would shower her with riches and status. When Drefan was born and found to be non-gifted, his mother began to realize that her new son was now a liability and that her master plan was probably not the smartest thing she'd ever done. Before Darken Rahl found out about the child, she brought him to a remote monastery to be raised by monks and, in perpetual fear of the infinitely creative ways Darken Rahl would end her life if she were found, poisoned herself. Drefan turned out like his father.
- Meggie essentially pulls this on Luke in The Thorn Birds, hoping that a pregnancy will make him leave the cane fields and settle down with her. It doesn't work at all—he's angry about it, given that he made it quite clear that he wanted to wait until they were financially secure before having children, and he doesn't change his behavior one bit.
- Quite a few romance novels have this trope, usually with a Babies Make Everything Better ending.
- However, one case that deals with the aftermath of this is Sisters Found, where one of the lead characters had been adopted for just this reason. When it wasn't enough for the adoptive father to stay, the adoptive mother became an alcoholic and resented the hell out of her daughter. To make things worse, said daughter later finds out that she was the only one of identical triplets to be given up - one of the other two had a medical problem and the cost of hospital bills was such that it was either give up one child or lose them all when Social Services saw they couldn't support their family. Not surprisingly, she has major commitment/abandonment issues.
- In The Secret Love Child, the hero either sabotages the condom or simply chooses not to tell the heroine that it broke. Naturally, she gets pregnant. Naturally, they get together and it is All Very Romantic. Luckily she apparently really really wanted to have babies.
- All My Children:
- An Li tries to pull this on Brian as she knows that their Citizenship Marriage is ending now that she has her green card. While it works temporarily, friend Terrence browbeats her into admitting that she's lying, telling her that she is not the kind of cruel, deceitful person to pull a stunt like this.
- Allie tries to pull this on Jake by not wearing her diaphragm. It backfired in two ways — when he found it after they had sex and dumped her, angry at her attempt at pulling this trope, and when she failed to conceive.
- Speaking of Jake, when ex-girlfriend Liza asks him to father her baby (the very reason that the jealous Allie tried to pull the above-mentioned stunt), her ex-husband Adam enlists Allie to switch Jake's sperm sample for his. Liza unwittingly ends up pregnant with Adam's baby and not until after they've remarried and she's given birth does she learn the truth. She's horrified and outright says that Adam raped her.
- Kendall tries to pull this with Anton... and, of course, it doesn't work. He doesn't believe her for a second, given how diligent she was about taking the pill. She caves in pretty quickly and tells the truth once he drags her to the doctor, who needs to give her a full set of tests and a needle, but Kendall is Afraid of Needles and freaks out, admitting she's lying.
- Taylor tries to pull this on Noah, but it fails—he leaves her for Julia anyway, even though he makes it clear that he's not abandoning her and the baby. She desperately seduces a friend of hers hoping that he'll get her pregnant and she can pass the baby off as Noah's, but she fails to conceive from that either and ultimately has to resort to lying that she miscarried.
- An unusual version on Big Love. Despite already being married to Bill and having two children with him, Nikki claims she wants another baby, even though she doesn't. This is because she knows that Bill is technically fooling around with his first wife Barb (he's not supposed to sleep with her on nights designated for the other wives) and is desperate to secure some of his affection (Nikki is fully aware that out of his three wives, she's The Unfavorite.)
- A male version on The Bold and the Beautiful had Sly poking a hole in the condom so that he could "do the right thing" and marry his girlfriend Jessica — and get his hands on her money. It failed when he was too drunk to complete the deed.
- A variation when Sheila did not intentionally get pregnant and is genuinely shocked to learn that she is. But sure enough, she uses her pregnancy to successfully drive a wedge between the baby's father and his wife.
- In an early episode of Bones, this is what got the victim killed. She was sleeping with a foreign diplomat's husband, who showered her with gifts until he got bored with it. Her mother advised her that he'd do the right thing, so she attempted to reseduce him. When that didn't work, she went after his son instead.
- Boston Legal came up with a pretty good, if extremely far fetched argument for a court-ordered abortion, possibly inspired by one of the real life examples below. A woman gave her boyfriend oral sex (to which he "barely consented"), then spat the semen into a cup and used it to impregnate herself and didn't tell him until she knew it worked. The man argued that he was tricked into impregnating the woman, and additionally, it imposed a dilemma upon him, as he was known to be outspoken on the issue of absentee black fathers and would have to choose between being a hypocrite or help raise a baby he didn't want. The judge admitted that the case was compelling, but not quite enough to warrant the extreme measure of ordering the woman to undergo an abortion.
- Played with in Charmed (1998). After Cole is possessed by the Source, the Seer leads him in impregnating Phoebe, as the child of the Source and a Charmed One will be a being of immense magical power, and if they can control the circumstances of the conception, that power will fall under the Evil alignment. She even provides him with a potion to supercharge Phoebe's fertility and "bypass any precautions she may have taken." And the pregnancy is a major factor in Phoebe's decision to remain loyal to Cole and (temporarily) become the Queen of Hell. But ultimately, the Seer wanted the baby for herself so that she could use it to legitimately claim the title of Source, and even though possessed-Cole willingly went along with the plan, his goal wasn't to manipulate Phoebe, only to have a child (albeit, an extremely powerful one).
- Another unusual version on The Cosby Show, where the friend that Denise is planning a bridal shower for admits that she got pregnant on purpose, but not to make her boyfriend marry her, but so that their parents would allow them to (the couple was madly in love but both sets of parents were insisting that they wait to complete college before marrying).
- Subverted in Coupling: Susan tells Steve, "don't worry about it" when he asks about whether they're using contraception. He later learns in an infertility specialist's office that unbeknownst to him, they've been "trying" for six months without success. Of course, Susan later discovers that she is pregnant, in what is debatable either playing it straight or a double subversion.
- Criminal Minds features this with Kat Adams, revealing she's pregnant with Reid's child while playing mind games with him. There's been no sexual relationship, but he did have a blackout period after being drugged several months earlier, which is when she claims she had an accomplice... "get him in the mood." The paternity isn't technically proven, but the team determines the real father is a prison guard, since that would allow her to leverage him for months whereas she only needed to unsettle Reid for a few hours.
JJ: Here's the thing? Do we believe her or not? On the one hand, getting pregnant is straight out of the female psychopath's handbook....Prentiss: But on the other hand, that would mean she sent her lesbian lover down to Mexico to... Ew.
- A variation in the CSI episode "4x4". An aging non-prostitute tries to get herself pregnant by a client who rejected her as too old, via some semen in one of his used condoms. This being CSI, it ends badly for her.
- A rare version on Days of Our Lives, where the man knew that he wasn't the father. After a teenage girl was raped, she only confided in her friend. When she learned she was pregnant, he claimed he was the father to spare her the humiliation of telling everyone what had happened to her. Desperate for some TLC after her ordeal, she began using the pregnancy to draw closer to him. When she miscarried after falling down, she blamed it on his girlfriend, putting the final nail in the coffin of their relationship, until she finally admitted that she'd tripped on her own, rather than being shoved.
- Anya tries to do this with Sav on Degrassi: The Next Generation, but she ends up telling him and taking the morning after pill.
- On Desperate Housewives, this is how Orson ended up married to his first wife. Then after he divorced her and remarried, she raped him in order to get pregnant and trap him again.
- Inverted in the case of Edie, who convinced Carlos to stay with her by promising she'd have a baby with him but continued secretly taking birth control.
- For a bit of irony, before the incident with Edie, Carlos managed to get Gabrielle pregnant by sabotaging her birth control, then blaming it on his deceased mother. He wanted children, and she didn't. It ends badly for everyone involved.
- This was the subject of a Dr. Phil episode and one couple involved a man having sex with his wife while she was asleep to get her pregnant. In the same episode, another woman deliberately sabotaged/stopped taking her birth control so she'd get pregnant. Of course, in both cases, the doctor tore right into them.
- In The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Season Three episode "Mama's Baby, Carlton's Maybe" features a woman trying to do this to Carlton, who's too embarrassed to admit he never actually slept with her and thus goes along with pretending the kid was his.
- Stacey attempts this in Gavin & Stacey; they're already married, but were living a long distance apart, and she wanted him to move to Wales to live with her. To make it worse, she's been trying to get pregnant for a year without his knowledge.
- Terri on Glee discovers she's suffered a hysterical pregnancy and continues to lie to her husband about it in order to keep him. Meanwhile Quinn discovers she's pregnant and lies to her boyfriend Finn by telling him it's his when in actuality it's his best friend Puck's and she and Finn haven't even had sex. The two stories then merge when Terri contacts Quinn and tries to secretly take the baby. Needless to say, both relationships ended when the truth came out.
- In Grimm, after Adalind gets pregnant with Sean Renard's child, she tries to pass it off as the child of Sean's half-brother Eric, the rightful son of the King, especially since she's currently sleeping with Eric in order to get in the Royals' good graces. After Eric's death, some of the Royals wonder who the real father is, but, in the end, it doesn't matter to them, since the child is still a Renard and has Royal blood. Later, after she finds out she's pregnant with Nick's baby, she tries to pass it off as Viktor's (Eric's cousin) child, despite the fact that they never had sex. Kenneth (another Royal) tells her, in a "by the way" manner, that Viktor is sterile.
- Guiding Light had Annie damaging her diaphragm rather than the condom. It backfired for the same reason — husband Josh had told her he wanted to wait to have kids and her deception was the last straw. She miscarried and framed his ex Reva for manslaughter by making it look like she'd pushed her down the stairs.
- In How I Met Your Mother season 2, Lily considered doing this to prevent Marshall from falling for Chloe. The alternative is called "Chloe's accident".
- Jane the Virgin: Petra planned to have a baby with her infertile-due-to-cancer husband's last sperm sample in order to save their marriage so she could get the money specified in their prenup. Unfortunately for her, her gynecologist and sister-in-law accidentally inseminates Jane instead. Later, upon learning that there's another sperm sample after Rafael breaks up with her, Petra uses it to impregnate herself in what she admits is a ploy to get him back. This time the pregnancy takes.
- When Lily left him, Marshall laments that he should have 'knocked her up when he had the chance'.
- In L.A. Law, a woman sues a rich Basketball player for child support. It was implied that she insisted that the man use the condom she provided when they had sex, and she had intentionally damaged the condom to produce a child, all for the money. When the man requested that she give him sole custody of the child, she got big 'money eyes' and quoted a price of five million dollars. The Basketball player's lawyers warned him that the agreement was non-enforceable, and she could well come back for more money in the future.
- Used a couple of times in Law & Order: Criminal Intent. In one episode, the wife sabotaged her husband's condoms and secretly gave him some fertility drugs to boost his sperm count in order to impregnate her boss. She did this because she had planned on blackmailing her boss at a later date into giving her some money so she could buy a farm and a horse.
- Another episode was about a woman who got pregnant by her rich boyfriend. She chose to keep the baby despite the fact that she was aware the baby might have a potentially serious birth defect, and even went out of her way to find a doctor who wouldn't run the relevant tests. Then, when her husband died and she wanted more money, she tried to sue the aforementioned doctor for malpractice for not running said tests.
- An unusual male example occurs in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit with a narcissistic man who pokes holes in condoms to force women to have his children. He's not particularly interested in staying in a relationship with any of these women, he just thinks the world would benefit from having lots of his offspring around. He personally thinks that he's a great father, as he financially supports all of them, but the mothers, naturally, don't. It finally ends badly for him, when one of the women he was trying to get pregnant decides to strike back. Also sort of done in another episode where a 16-year-old was raped by her dentist uncle and was trying to get him to confess while cops were listening. At first, he denies everything until she mentions being late and pregnant. He tells her to calm down and that she can't possibly be pregnant due to him having gotten a vasectomy. Whoops. Nick sums it up nicely: I've never met a bad man that wasn't afraid of a baby. Read more: https://www.springfieldspringfield.co.uk/view_episode_scripts.php?tv-show=law-and-order-special-victims-unit&episode=s16e13
- Subverted on Lost when Claire gets pregnant despite being on the pill. At first, her boyfriend is supportive and convinces her to keep the baby. Once the reality of the situation hits him he turns around and accuses her of lying about taking her birth control to get him to stay with her. Claire rightfully calls him out on his selective memory and after he leaves makes arrangements to have the child adopted.
- Married... with Children: An inversion happens in one episode, an elderly Bundy relative dies and leaves all his money to the next Bundy to concieve a child. Hoping to cash in, Al persuades Peggy to try having another child, but secretly takes birth control pills since she doesn't want more kids, and is just using the situation to have as much sex as she wants (the stress of which makes Al age prematurely).
- There are times that some of the women on Maury seem this way. Although, instead of convincing the man to marry them, they usually seem to just want to extract child support out of them, since more than a few basically say they want nothing to do with him except for a check every month.
- A woman tries this in an episode of Monk. In a twist, she isn't actually pregnant, although her receptionist is. The woman used the receptionist's urine to get a positive pregnancy test for the trap. Regardless, it doesn't end well.
- This happened to Mork on an episode of Mork & Mindy. The woman was trying to extort child-support hush money from Mork, and poor Mork was too naive to know that Earth women don't get pregnant if you don't have sex with them.
- In The Office (US), Kelly tells Ryan she is pregnant to get him to agree to go out with her again. Immediate cut to Kelly silently shaking her head at the camera.
Ryan: You lied about being pregnant.
Kelly: Right. So?
Ryan: You really don't understand why that might make me kind of angry?
Ryan: We are never getting back together.
Kelly: [whining] Why not?
- One Life to Live had Blair ensnaring Todd this way to get her hands on his money. Todd became suspicious after her ex-husband Asa warned him that Blair had pulled the same stunt on him and demanded that she take a pregnancy test. Much to her shock and relief, it was positive—Blair had in fact conceived at some point. But she was still found out months later when she miscarried and Todd realized she wasn't as far along as she should have been.
- This happens more than once Peaky Blinders, first starting with Grace, who uses it as leverage so that Tommy is forced to pick her over May and Lizzie after Grace cheats on her husband with Tommy and they are married in Season Three, then happens again with Lizzie in Season Four after she gets pregnant with Tommy's daughter. Like with Grace, he marries her shortly after.
- Sophie, Mark's baby-desperate (ex?) wife on Peep Show tries to trap Mark and/or his roommate Jez this way, although it was pretty clear that having a baby was her first priority, not a romantic relationship with either of the guys.
- On Revenge, Victoria apparently faked a pregnancy to get Conrad to marry her and then faked a Convenient Miscarriage to cover it up.
- Emily later does the same thing when Daniel decides to call off the wedding because he realized that he was still in love with his ex-girlfriend. It shows how far into Revenge Before Reason Emily has slipped. When Daniel finds out the truth, he takes it very badly and shoots Emily.
- Santa Barbara's Kirk Cranston successfully impregnated his rich wife Eden Capwell after replacing her birth control pills with placebos. He wanted his child to receive the largest share of the Capwell inheritance, and he also believed that through his child, he would become related to the Capwell family by blood.
- Carla tries to do this with Turk in Scrubs. Later, she and Turk have an open and honest discussion in which they agree they both want to have kids ... after which he starts slipping her contraceptives when she's asleep.
- This is completely inverted with Jordan, who actually lies to Perry and claims the baby isn't his, because they both have feelings for each other and she wants to make sure their relationship is based on real attraction rather than an obligation to do the right thing. They get together anyway, and he bonds with the baby before finding out he's the biological father.
- Also inverted with Kim, who leaves the hospital and fakes a miscarriage rather than have J.D. feel trapped into a relationship. Then he finds out the truth and decides he wants to be with her, then he changes his mind but can't tell her, then he finally breaks off the relationship while she's giving birth.
- On The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Adrian plans to try this on Ben in an attempt to save their marriage since they only got married because Adrian was pregnant, and their relationship started to deteriorate after their daughter was stillborn. Since things were great when she was pregnant, she seems to think another baby will fix things. Ultimately, she gives up on the plan when her doctor talks her out of it and when Ben finds out her plan, keeps rejecting her advances, and finally confronts her about it. Though it seems he was willing to go along with it and genuinely sad when she really "wanted out".
- Early in Single Father, Rita mentions to Sarah that she wants another baby and intends to have one without talking to her partner about it. Sarah expresses shock, but it's revealed at the end of the series that Sarah purposely got pregnant by Dave and didn't intend to tell him.
- In Smallville, there's a male example in which Lex Luthor does this to Lana Lang. It's even more of a dick move than most because the baby isn't real; he's been slipping her hormones to make her think she's pregnant, likely intending to play the Convenient Miscarriage card on her after the wedding.
- Not to mention that the doctor who reveals this to Lana accuses her of trying this on Lex. Admittedly it would make more sense that way to an outsider...
- Seska, of Star Trek: Voyager, uses her pregnancy to manipulate both Chakotay and the Kazon Culluh, telling both of them the child was theirs in order to get what she wants. In Chakotay's case, the baby is used as bait for a literal trap, as she's counting on Voyager to come rescue him so that the Kazon can seize the ship. It's Culluh's, and Seska's manipulations end when she's mortally wounded in an explosion, and Culluh escapes with his son.
- In Weeds, there's a rare male case; Silas Botwin does this to Meghan to keep her from going away to college. Apparently, he thought this would lead to them becoming Happily Married. It does not go well.
- Later, Nancy does it to Esteban. This was less about maintaining a relationship than as self-defense against murder.
- The Young and the Restless: Sharon technically does this to Nick even though they're actually very Happily Married. But she's insecure about the relationship (his mother dislikes her) and figures this is the best way to hang onto him. It pays off, as her mother-in-law finally warms up to her once news of the pregnancy gets out.
- 2Pac references it in his song "Do for Love"
Soon as I broke away and I'm feeling happy, you try to trap me,
You say you're pregnant and guess who's the daddy?
- Dr. Dre 2001 had a track with comedian Eddie Griffin ranting about this:
Tell the kid! "Mama was a ho. I was weak and pussy. I had you to keep the nigga. It didn't work out".
- Referenced in the early '70s song Stick-Up by Honey Cone:
I'll set a tender trap,
He'll be unaware,
I'll wear a smile down the aisle,
'Cause he's the father of my child.
- Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean", quoted above is about this. Namely, all the "Billie Jeans" his older brothers had to deal with when they were together in the Jackson 5.
- The song is ambiguous, though, open to the Alternate Character Interpretation that the singer actually is the father trying to dodge the consequences of his actions. "People always told me, be careful what you do..."
- "Stupid Marriage" by The Specials is a song about a young woman who does this:
He wanted to be something but she knows he never will,
She's got him where she wanted and forgot to take her pill,
And he thinks that she'll be happy when she's hanging out the nappies
If that's a happy marriage I'd prefer to be unhappy.
- Die Toten Hosen "Sekt oder Selters". Whereas it's somewhat disputable that the female was actively involved (could also be the usual irresponsibility of the male part), the rest of the trope is played straight as hell. (The worst thing: no more binge drinking with his buddies.)
- Done many, many times. The most obvious recent one is Kane doing this to Lita, though he was as much trying to gain an heir for himself as to keep her around. Terri Runnels and Stephanie McMahon (kayfabe) each faked a pregnancy to try and trap Val Venis and Triple H, respectively. It didn't really end well for any of these examples.
- Stephanie's false pregnancy was found out in a most ingenious way though - Linda discovered that Steph's "doctor" was actually some infomercial host, and showed Triple H the evidence a few minutes before the trap would have been sprung.
- In "Marry The Man Today" from Guys and Dolls, Sarah suggests this as one way to keep a husband from straying:
Sarah: Have a baby.
Adelaide: Have two!
- Xenoblade Chronicles X plays this for laughs in one of the sidequests: A Nopon woman attempts to pull one of these... except she isn't actually pregnant, so she tries to use a badly-made doll in the place of a baby.
- In CLANNAD, in Kappei's path, Kappei is borderline suicidal after learning his leg has to be amputated. His girlfriend Ryou, desperate to give him a reason to live, lies about being pregnant with his child. Kappei sees through it right away, though, since he and Ryou have never had sex (Ryou had somehow forgotten this minor detail when putting the plan together). Nonetheless, that she would go to such lengths impresses on him the fact that she truly loves him and would feel terrible if he died, so he begins to turn his attitude around.
- In Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony during Love Hotel, Miu heavily implies to Shuichi that she was a result of this trope. And suggests that they do the same thing so that Shuichi won't abandon her.
- A self imposed example in The Eden of Grisaia. Unable to pick just one girl to commit himself to, Yuuji decides that he'll marry the first one that gets pregnant but doesn't tell them. However, four of the five use birth control. When they're finally told what's going on when the last girl does get pregnant, they ruin the plan by planning to get pregnant themselves.
- This story tells of a man who had his girlfriend try this on him. Unfortunately for her, he had gotten a vasectomy and had the paperwork to prove it.
- Parodied in the 5 Second Films video "The One". A guy and girl are about to do the deed, and she asks him if he's sure that she's the one for him. He reassures her, and is then shown poking holes in his condom while whispering that he's gonna make her "the one". Still quite creepy.
- A favorite tactic of Laina's "Overly Attached Girlfriend".
- In one of Thomas Sanders' "Siri's a bitch" Vines, she pulls this on him.
Thomas: Siri, can you—
Siri: Thomas, I'm pregnant and it's yours.
Thomas: What?! You told me you were on the pill!
Siri: I lied.
- American Dad!: Stan and Francine once did this to another couple, who they befriended without knowing the other couple were about ten years younger than them, and found it impossible to keep up with their hard-drinking, active lifestyle. Rather than give up the friendship (knowing that the couple had previously drifted apart from their last friends for this same reason) Stan and Francine tried to slow them down by sabotaging their birth control, thinking that having a baby would make them just as exhausted. It doesn't work, the couple almost divorces over it due to neither feeling ready to have a child, and when Stan admits what they did, they stay together but never wants to see the Smiths again.
- Family Guy:
- In an episode, Stewie pulls this on Brian in order to salvage their friendship. How he does this is very disturbing. Ironically, he didn't even need to do this, as the reason it seemed they were drifting apart were because of a mutual misunderstanding (Brian seemed distant because he thought Stewie was moody, Stewie seemed moody because Brian was distant).
- Played for laughs in one episode which revolved around Meg having a huge crush on a classmate who turned out to be gay. After the disastrous events of the episode, Brian tells her she'll find someone someday, by using this trope in college.
Brian: All it takes is for one guy to make one drunk mistake, and you refusing to do what any sane woman would. You got him, Meg, you got him for life!
Meg: [sincerely] Thanks, Brian!
- In an episode of King of the Hill, Donna mentions on her blog that she wants a baby, then jokes that she might conveniently "forget" to take her birth control pill before a date.
- In a separate episode, Bobby pranks Luanne by replacing her birth control with sweet tarts. The change was obvious but Luanne and Bobby's parents, tired of the pranking, convince Bobby that the birth control just stopped working, and she would immediately become pregnant, with him as the father, forcing him to "marry" her. But Hank and Peggy one-up them and get Luanne back as well for her involvement by tricking her into thinking that Bill is actually a priest and she really is married to Bobby.
- Years back in Texas, a man was required to pay child support after a woman performed oral sex on him and then inseminated herself with the gathered sperm after he left. He didn't find out that they had a daughter until years later after she sued for child support.
- The German version of the same story is even more famous as tennis ace Boris Becker gave the male part, making him the butt of countless jokes.
- Similarly, in 2013 Kansas started a lawsuit to make a sperm donor pay for child-support when the woman he'd donated to requested financial assistance from the State. Interestingly, this is being done solely by the State, over the objections of all involved parties, and declaring a signed contract null-and-void in the process due to the phrasing of its sperm donor laws.
- Does happen in Real Life, tragically more often with abusive couples who believe that a baby will force their partner to stay. Sadly, they're sometimes right, especially when their partner would have financial troubles or lose custody of the child if they left. Some women will deliberately get pregnant to get child support off of the man since it tends to also qualify her for other forms of government assistance (assuming she's not too wealthy). While laws are slowly becoming more gender neutral, the man will probably lose anyway if the woman was someone he just had a fling with, and so this is exploited by some women. The CDC's 2010 Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey found that approximately 4.8% of women and 8.7% of men had a sexual partner who tried to get them pregnant or get pregnant against their will.
- Possibly related to this, there is an increasing number of men who have chosen to get vasectomies in their early twenties. Since the childfree are still something of an Acceptable Target, many doctors will outright refuse to perform them under the belief that the man will always change his mind. For a woman who hasn't had children as well, it is next to impossible to convince a doctor to permanently sterilise her. Many doctors are very insistent that everyone really wants babies, or are wary of being sued by a patient whom they sterilise then later changes his/her mind.
- Crosses over into Child by Rape territory with abusive men who intentionally impregnate their female partner in order to make her stay, as the Marital Rape License is common in abusive relationships. The reverse is possible as well.
- The Department of Defense is very aware of the Baby Trap, particularly in regards to the service academies of West Point, Annapolis, and the Air Force Academy. Cadets at these institutions are told in no uncertain terms that marrying while a cadet means being automatically dismissed from their school. Not only is this because the male cadets have absolutely zero time for a wife, but also to make them aware that they have to be very, very careful. Female cadets who get pregnant are also automatically dismissed.
- Unfortunately common in the Visual Kei and Japanese rock/metal scene and with hosts, where fangirls and mitsu (women paying hosts/musicians for sex) have found out that under Japanese law, they have 100 percent rights to the child (even if the father actually wants the child and/or the mother is abusive), can often force a Shotgun Wedding to the artist or at the very least demand ongoing child support payments (which often itself forces a wedding and short marriage, if the man was dependent on them, to begin with), and because many men in Japan, including hosts and musicians, prefer condomless sex in the first place. Smarter cisgender men who work as hosts/do mitsu/sleep around do keep their own condoms and use them, or get vasectomies, for this very reason.
- A common theme among many stories of professional athletes going broke, despite making tens of millions of dollars in salaries/bonuses/endorsements, is fathering multiple children with multiple women, many of whom seek to get pregnant in order to be able to extract child support payments. One former NFL player has ten children. By ten different women. This often leads to declaring bankruptcy or being arrested for failure to pay child support.
- There was a case of a man suing a woman over lying to him that she was on birth control and then demanding child support. While the judge was sympathetic to the man, he still ruled in favor of the woman, pointing out that he was more concerned with the welfare of the child, who would suffer if deprived of child support payments.
- In a rather infamous case, Justin Bieber was sued by a woman over a backstage encounter which resulted in a child. Unfortunately for her, what she failed to take into account was that, according to the date she provided for the encounter, he was 16 and she 19, meaning that if it were true she would be guilty of statutory rape (and, of course, if it wasn't true, she would be guilty of defamation and extortion).