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Traumatic C-Section

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"Hey, look! A womb with a view!"
Rich, Cannibal Campout

Simply put, a Traumatic C-Section is when a pregnant woman has her unborn child crudely ripped or cut from her body. If done well (being prone to Special Effect Failure), it can result in Grade A Nausea Fuel.

Contrast with Chest Burster, for when the offspring (or the equivalent of it) just violently comes out on its own, with no outside "assistance."

Often goes hand in hand with Eats Babies, for some reason. Clothes hangers and/or vacuum cleaners may or may not be involved.

Compare Imperiled in Pregnancy. A form of Womb Horror. See also Baby Be Mine, a possible motivation behind such a grisly action.

Historically most C-sections were performed after the mother had died in a last-ditch attempt to save the baby, resulting in a lot of overlap with Born from a Dead Woman.

For a somewhat less gruesome sister trope, see Forced Miscarriage.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In the 3rd Fushigi Yuugi OVA, the fake Suzaku uses the threat of this against Mayo to get her to pray for the destruction of Konan. He tells her that Taka plans to gather the other Seishi and kill Mayo and rip the baby out of her in the process.
  • In +Anima, Cooro fell into a church when he was a baby, having become +Anima during his postmortem delivery, while his mother's newly-deceased body was being consumed by crows. The nuns there took him in and raised him.

    Comic Books 
  • In a flashback sequence in Halloween: The First Death Of Laurie Strode, a young Michael Myers is shown daydreaming about cutting Baby Laurie out of his mother during a meal.
  • A Spider-Man storyline involved the Venom symbiote being captured by a survivalist group, which forcibly extracted five "seeds" from it to create five new symbiotes for their super soldier project.
  • One happens off-panel in the Nicaragua arc of Fury: My War Gone By, led by The Punisher MAX villain Barracuda during his military days. Fury is investigating Barracuda's activities and finds the remains of a village destroyed by his Contra forces, with horribly mangled bodies everywhere, including a corpse of a pregnant woman who had her stomach cut open and her baby stomped on.
    Fury: Jesus fucking Christ almighty.
  • In Druuna: Carnivora, the eponymous character has a nightmare where she's heavily pregnant and trying to run away from a bunch of scary monsters before being rescued by a sinister group of Mad Doctors who proceed to cut open her belly.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Comics Nix X-Men fanfic Day of Reckoning, Cyclops mutilates Jean Grey and her fetus falls out.
  • In the Mass Effect's fic Crucible, this was done to Amata, the wife of Gaius, Garrus and Shepard's son from the Bad Future. Amata was still alive when her stomach was cut open and her daughter was ripped out of it, still kicking and screaming before the quarians shot the mother in the head (they also killed her son before that). After that, the baby was taken to a lab to be experimented on. Judging from hundreds of dead Hybrid babies' bodies being tested, cut apart and preserved in that place, Amata was not the first or only victim.
  • In The Racket-Rotter Chronicles, The Builder subjects Silver to one in Arc 3, after slashing her neck. She is then left to die with only her (presumably) stillborn child for company.
  • born of hell('s kitchen) has the caesarean happening in a hospital, that's the circumstances that are traumatizing, as Kilgrave uses his Mind Manipulation power to force the surgery on Jessica and making her waive her parental rights off immediately afterwards, without even letting her hold or see the baby.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 8 Ball Clown: At the beginning of the movie, 8-Ball has a pregnant woman in his basement. He uses a knife to cut open her belly and pulls the baby out.
  • Arguably the most infamous scene in The Anthropophagus Beast is Nikos ripping out a baby, and eating it in front of its dying mother. It's even worse in The Remake, due to the baby obviously being alive when Nikos takes a bite out of its head.
  • Automaton Transfusion re-creates the above scene almost exactly, but with a zombie.
  • In Las Vegas Bloodbath, Sam kills Barbara by cutting out her baby, which he casually throws at the wall afterward. It is later found crammed into a toilet.
  • In Mad Max: Fury Road, a heavily pregnant Angharad has her baby cut from her body as she dies from her injuries, in the hope of saving its life. It doesn't work.
  • The French film À l'intérieur ("Inside") centers on an insane woman who wants to cut out the main character's baby, intent on having it replace her own dead child.
  • During the making of the original Dawn of the Dead (1978), a pregnant extra suggested her character should be shown having her baby ripped out by the zombies. Director George A. Romero and SFX guru Tom Savini gave a resounding "No. Just… No" Reaction.
  • Dog Bite Dog, an excruciatingly violent Hong Kong movie, ends with the main character performing an impromptu C-section on his pregnant wife as she is dying from a fatal injury, in a last-ditch attempt to save the baby.
  • In the otherwise forgettable made-for-TV film Scarlett, one scene features Scarlett O'Hara going through this.
  • During a test screening of the My Bloody Valentine 3D, a viewer asked if it was Megan's unborn child and not her heart that the miner cut out since the camera doesn't linger on what was ripped out for very long. It was her heart, and director Patrick Lussier mentions how squicked out he was by the baby assumption in the film's commentary.
  • The first Violent Shit ends with a pregnant Karl ripping himself open to let the baby out.
  • In Felidae, a dead cat is found ripped open and surrounded by fetuses.
  • Old footage found by the characters in Xtro III Watch The Skies shows an alien's young being ripped out of the parent while she(?) is in the middle of being vivisected.
  • In The Mutilator a character mentions his father once caught a shark and slit it open, causing roughly a dozen or so baby sharks to messily spill out.
  • A Japanese soldier cuts a Chinese civilian's baby out with his bayonet in Black Sun: The Nanking Massacre.
  • Forever Evil (1987) has a random Dream Sequence where an undead woman pulls out her demonic baby.
  • The fetus ripping from Troma's Terror Firmer.
  • A fetus is cut out and devoured in Cannibal Campout
    "Smells like a girl... tastes like a girl".
  • After an argument with his girlfriend, the lead killer in August Underground's Penance does this to a random woman.
  • Seeing as how it's an abortion-themed horror film, Hanger of course features this.
  • The Shivers, one of Todd Sheets's many obscure little films, has a pregnant woman de-fetus herself due to the evil's influence.
  • Invoked but ultimately averted in the opening scene of Shoot 'Em Up. Smith follows a thug who is chasing after a heavily pregnant woman, which said thug is attempting to kill. The thug whips out a knife and threatens to rip the baby out of the woman's stomach, but Smith arrives and kills the man before he can do so.
  • At the end of one of the Carnosaurs, a Mad Scientist gives herself one of these by clawing open her own abdomen because she's pregnant with little dinosaur babies and wants to make sure they survive.
  • Prometheus has a particularly scarring one. It ends up creating a squid-like Facehugger which grows to a giant size. Zoinks.
  • One of the many endless gore scenes in The Coma-Brutal Duel involves a ripped-out fetus being stomped on.
  • The opening of Madness has one of the killers stomp on a pregnant woman's stomach so hard that what looks like her bloodied baby shoots out from between her legs.
  • This implied to have been done to the pregnant victim in Snuff 102.
  • The premise of The Clinic is that pregnant women are abducted by an underground organization, have their babies removed, and are made to kill each other in a twisted contest that prospective adopters use to judge which of the stolen babies they want.
  • In a variant, the pregnant female from Orca: The Killer Whale was terribly injured by a fishing boat and entangled in its lines. When she's hauled out of the water, the trauma causes a spontaneous miscarriage and a half-formed orca fetus is expelled onto the deck of the boat.
  • Near the end of Skyline, Elaine is dumped into a chamber on the alien ship along with other pregnant women, where an appendage of the ship works to forcibly extract the fetuses from the captives' bodies.
  • Snuff Movie: In Premature Burial, the Film Within a Film, Dr. Culpepper does this: cutting the unborn baby from Mrs Maezel when he believes he can only save one of them. Later, the psychotic home invaders cut Mary's child from her in imitation of Premature Burial. The child, Marco, survives but suffers permanent disabilities.
  • Us: One of the more disturbing parts of Red's Motive Rant mentions this. Due to her Psychic Link with Adelaide, she had to imitate all her actions and live out a shadow of her life, and thus got pregnant with her son Pluto at the same time Adelaide got pregnant with Jason. Jason had to be born via C-section, and thus, so did Pluto. But while Adelaide got a routine C-section done in a hospital by professionals, with the assistance of painkillers, Red had to rip Pluto out of her body in a dirty underground tunnel by herself, feeling every bit of it. She understandably considers this to be one of the worst moments of her generally miserable existence.

  • Horrifically, this is actually Older Than Feudalism. It goes back to the root of all Western literature, The Iliad, in which Agamemnon scolds his brother Menelaos for showing mercy to a Trojan:
    Agamemnon: Not a single one of them must escape sheer destruction at our hands. Not even if a mother carries one in her belly and he is male, not even he should escape.
  • The Bible: It is mentioned, specifically in the prophetic books of the Old Testament, and is involved with conflicts involving pagan nations. The Assyrians (one of the most brutal and most effective armies of the ancient Middle East) are mentioned as doing this among other grisly practices. Even at the time, a woman having her baby torn from her womb was considered the worst calamity to happen to a nation at war, but nowadays it is considered a war crime of complete sociopathy.
  • In Breaking Dawn, Edward rips open Bella's womb to retrieve their unborn child from her body with his teeth because both the nature of the pregnancy and the state of Bella's body didn't allow for any conventional birthing process to take place.
  • Fetuses in The Time Traveler's Wife time travel out of the womb on several occasions. This is extremely messy and disturbing.
  • A much milder example, in which the victim is a salmon, is mentioned in the Discworld novel Unseen Academicals. Still, it's only brought up for just how disturbing it was for young Vetinari to see all those cute little otter cubs eating all those little salmon eggs...
    Vetinari: Mother and children, dining upon mother and children. And that's when I first learned about evil.
  • One of the tortures inflicted upon the female mutant in Apeshit.
  • A mad scientist may or may not have done this to one of his test subjects in Jason X: Death Moon.
  • From the 13th century Saga of the Volsungs: After seven years of pregnancy, King Rerir's wife orders her child to be cut out of her body, even though she knows it will kill her. Thus, the hero Volsung is born.
  • Dantalion performs one on Amarantha after her carriage crashes in Maledicte to ensure the survival of an heir, even though the mother might live if he doesn't.
  • An incident from the childhood of Prince Joffrey in A Song of Ice and Fire is alluded to in Cersei's chapters which provides some early warning signs of his later psychopathy — while the details are sketchy, it's implied that he found a pregnant cat and cut her open to see what the kittens looked like.
    • Historically, when Queen Alyssa Velaryon was pregnant with her second child by Rogar Baratheon, she was already 47. Something went wrong during the pregnancy and she went into labor a month early. She gave permission for the maester to cut her open to save her baby, who survived (but she didn't).
  • A variation (and rare heroic example) in one of the Chakona Space side stories, done on a pregnant taur who was already very definitely dead at the scene of a terrorist attack.
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns features a variation involving what should be a normal medical caesarean. When Laila gives birth to her second child, her baby is in the breach position and so she needs a C-section to save its life. Unfortunately, the women’s hospital has limited supplies and so they will have to do it without anaesthesia. Laila’s response? "Cut me open and give me my baby." Mariam is with her the whole time and thinks to herself how much she admires Laila for the amount of time that passes before she starts screaming in pain. Laila and the baby both survive.
  • Earth's Children: In The Valley of Horses, Jetamio dies in labor due to complications, after which the shaman cuts her open in a desperate attempt to save her unborn child. Sadly the baby dies too, leaving Jetamio's mate and the father of the child devastated. It's a terrible situation for everyone else involved too, though Thonolan takes it especially hard.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Farscape. When Living Ship Moya gives birth to a Leviathan gunship, its weaponry gets this smaller Leviathan stuck in Moya's birth canal, so it has to fire its main gun on a low-intensity setting to break free. Though the main drama is that Chiana is trying to assist the birth and has to Outrun the Fireball from this so-called "low" setting.
  • In an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, the Victim of the Week was a woman who was nearly killed when her husband cut her baby out, convinced that she was having an affair and that the child wasn't his. It was. And the baby died.
  • I, Claudius had Caligula impregnate his sister, then cut her open and eat the baby.
  • This is implied to have happened to Ilithyia in Spartacus: Vengeance.
  • Happened to Violet in Private Practice. A patient was convinced the baby was hers.
  • In The Walking Dead (2010), Lori goes into labor while hiding from walkers in the boiler room of a prison. Maggie then has to deliver the baby via a C-section using a crude hunting knife, and Lori dies.
  • ER:
    • The episode "Love's Labor Lost" culminated in a horrifying emergency C-section. One TV critic says it changed how she thought about her body and life in general.
      As the episode unfurls, one thing goes wrong and then another — the baby's shoulder gets stuck, the mother's blood pressure drops — until a panicked Greene performs a brutal emergency C-section. "What did you use, a chainsaw?" asks the obstetrician when she finally shows up. Although the baby is saved, the woman dies, her body transformed from living person into scooped-out husk in a matter of moments.
    • Another episode has Kerry Weaver doing one of these in an ambulance that has crashed due to a torrential rainstorm. In this case, though, Kerry a) genuinely had no other option and b) acted quickly and excellently enough that both mother and baby made it through without major complications.
  • A delusional woman does this to acquire placenta to eat in an episode of Criminal Minds.
  • On Rizzoli & Isles, Maura had to perform a high-speed C-section on a heavily-pregnant woman who'd been fatally stabbed mere moments earlier, while Jane gave the already-dead woman CPR to keep blood moving long enough for the fetus to be saved.
  • Slasher: Sarah's mother was murdered by the original Executioner when she was highly pregnant with her daughter. In something of a subversion, while he did violently cut her baby out of her womb, instantly killing her, he intentionally kept the infant Sarah alive until the cops arrived on the scene.
  • On Game of Thrones, this happens during the Red Wedding. Robb Stark decided to Marry for Love instead of marrying one of Lord Frey's daughters. So the first person to be killed as revenge was his pregnant wife Talissa, who was stabbed right through her womb.
    • More directly childbirth-related, the first episode of House of the Dragon has a Sadistic Choice for King Viserys Targaryen: if the maesters don't intervene, both his wife Queen Aemma and their baby will die. Intervening would mean a C-section (while she's conscious) after which she will bleed to death — an even worse death than the one she'd have if they do nothing — but it could save the baby. He orders them to do it out of the need for an heir to the kingdom. His wife's belly is cut open (the scene is quite gruesome) to take the baby out, and she dies... and then it was All for Nothing in the end, as the baby dies too anyway a few hours after the birth.
    • In the sixth episode, Viserys's brother Prince Daemon is given the same choice with regards to his wife Laena and their child, but he's just shaken his head when they notice Laena has gotten up and gone outside to command her dragon to spare her the agony by immolating her.
  • CSI-verse:
    • Doc Robbins on CSI gets the rare-for-an-M.E. chance to save a life when he realizes that a teenage girl who'd hanged herself just minutes before he and Nick arrived on-scene still has a living fetus inside her. A hasty C-section with improvised tools saves the baby, and the team tracks down the ex-boyfriend, who had no idea the girl had been pregnant when they broke up but is still willing to be a father to their daughter.
    • CSI: NY: In "The Box," a young pregnant woman agrees to let a childless couple adopt her baby in return for them paying for her medical care and living expenses but changes her mind shortly before her delivery date. The husband angrily shoves her while they're on a second-floor landing and she falls down the stairs, breaking her neck. Figuring an ambulance can't get there in time, he grabs a large kitchen knife and cuts her open to get the baby out. He then hides her body in the trunk of his car for a few days before abandoning it in a junkyard.
  • Silent Witness: In "Undertone", it is revealed that a murdered woman was heavily pregnant when she died and the killer performed a crude C-section with a kitchen knife to remove the baby (she was already dead or at least unconscious at the time, but everyone is still horrified). Much of the story revolves around the team trying to find the missing baby as well as locate the killer.

    Video Games 
  • Puppet Combo's Bloodwash features a Serial Killer known as the Womb Ripper who does exactly what his name says to women. The ending reveals that the killer was in fact a missing woman thought to be one of the Ripper's victims. She was having an affair with a man and when she got pregnant, he tried to kill her. The woman survived but her baby didn't, and it made her snap and kill women who had what she didn't.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, The Boss, during the invasion of Normandy, went into labor. Naturally, being in the middle of a war zone without access to a proper medical facility, drastic measures needed to be taken. The most badass thing of all is that she performed the C-section on herself. Out pops baby Revolver Ocelot, in the middle of a battle.
  • In Martha Is Dead, Giulia cuts open her sister’s corpse to confirm her pregnancy.

  • Kane threatens to do this to Wendy in a Jack (David Hopkins) arc, as seen here.
  • Happens in Eight Cicadas to Annette. As a hybrid, she is immune to human painkillers and couldn't be anesthetized for delivering her daughter. It ends with her punching out a nurse and spending time in therapy.
  • Parodied in The Last Days of FOXHOUND when they flashed back to the Snake Eater example above. The Boss is completely unfazed about it, even saying 'hard part's over' when Ocelot is born. The baby's father, the Sorrow however is so traumatized by witnessing it that he ends up fainting.

    Web Original 
  • Averted with extreme prejudice in Gayle: while Gayle's daughter Terry was born in a premature c-section, this was apparently at Gayle's request because she was sick of being pregnant and not being able to give it 150% in spin class. Talk about establishing one's an Abusive Parent right out of the gate.
  • Metamor City: this happens to Abbey Preston, by her abusive boyfriend. While she survives, she is extremely traumatised for years afterwards, especially as Sasha is killed at the same time. It gets worse - see, she's psychic, and it's hereditary, and she had even held simple conversations with her child in the womb. When her child died, she heard her scream.
  • SCP Foundation: SCP-1048 is an animate teddy bear that can make more of its kind using any random material, including a fetus it somehow removed from a dozing employee.

    Western Animation 
  • This bit from The Simpsons version of The Nativity Story.
    Doctor Nick: I've got some very good news: Caesar just invented the Cesarean! [whips out a large saw]
    Marge/Mary: GET HIM OUT OF HERE!!

    Real Life 
  • There have been several instances of pregnant women being kidnapped and having their unborn children forcibly taken from their wombs, generally by women who've been faking their pregnancy and now need "proof" in the form of a newborn. A list of ten such cases in the US appears here.
    • A tragic case was the murders of Marlen Ochoa-Lopez and her son Yovanny at the hands of Clarisa Figueroa, who was motivated by the recent death of her own child. Marlen was lured under the pretense of free baby clothes and was killed and thrown in a dumpster. Yovanny did not survive being ripped from his mother.
    • Tiffany Hall not only murdered a pregnant mother and her unborn child in a failed attempt at this, but she also murdered the victim's other three children out of sadism. She was sentenced to death.
  • Sadly, this often occurred as a war crime in the past, with recorded incidents from the Sepoy Mutiny in 1857 to the Rape of Nanking in the 1930s, the Nazi concentration camps (where pregnant women would also be experimented on), and the mass murders of Orthodox Serbs in the Jasenovac camp (by the Nazi-backed Catholic Croatian fascist Ustaše during World War II).
  • A shocking but simultaneously fascinating example from an aquarium in New Zealand: A SHARK was subjected to this trope by another shark. Apparently, no one knew the first shark was pregnant until the second one bit her and ripped her open. To everyone's astonishment, a few baby sharks swam out of their mother's wound and the aquarium staff immediately worked to rescue them and their mother, successfully getting the remaining babies out (there were eight in total) and patching up the mother's injuries, from which she has since recovered (this is a rare case of this trope having a happy ending). Inevitably, this led to many jokes about sea-sections and nurse sharks.
  • There's an extremely graphic video on YouTube of a Komodo dragon eating a pregnant deer alive. Eventually, the lizard tears into the doe's abdominal cavity and pulls out its unborn fawn, swallowing it whole, and then resumes eating the mother (which still isn't dead yet).


Video Example(s):


Rutherford Giving Birth

Rutherford is impregnated thanks to Thusa having the ability to transfer her consciousness into others and quickly grow a new body. T'Ana performs a C-section before the fetus has to find (or make) somewhere to exit.

How well does it match the trope?

4.6 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / MisterSeahorse

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