|Tropes and genres
|Mpreg, Fempreg, Kidfic, Curtainfic, Magical Pregnancy
|Related articles on Fanlore.
Pregnancy is often used as a story trope both in fanworks and in canon. Most pregnancy stories involve a cis woman being or becoming pregnant, but mpreg, male pregnancy, is a genre with its own fans. Pregnancy involving trans men and non binary folk have become more popular in recent years.
Pregnancy fic can be written as a variety of curtainfic, focused on the domestic details of preparing for the birth and its effect on the couple's relationship, and often continuing with kidfic. It may also be used as a plot device to create conflict or drama, especially if the pregnancy is accidental. Abortion can also be a topic in fics.
Pregnancy in Canon
The pregnancy of female characters in canon often provokes strong mixed reactions from fans. Some fans see many canonical pregnancy storylines as a way of relegating strong female characters to domestic roles. For example, many fans of Tonks in Harry Potter fandom disliked the way her pregnancy seemed to be used to move her out of an active role through most of the final book. Other fans have argued against what they see as the unfair assumption that a character's pregnancy means that she is becoming a less strong or interesting character.
Pregnancy story-lines in TV canons are sometimes prompted by the real-life pregnancy of the actress portraying the character. These may or may not be dealt with well, and depending on the genre of TV, the baby may be done away with in a kidnapping or miscarriage storyline to avoid having to introduce a young child into the storyline.
Pregnancy in SciFi/Fantasy Canons
Pregnancy in scifi and fantasy canons is often magical or unusual in some way, and may play on horror or science fiction tropes about "demon babies" or forced impregnation by non-human beings. Stay Awake, a fanvid by Laura Shapiro, critiques the forced impregnation trope using examples from several television shows. (It is necessary to join the site in order to view the video; it does not appear that a credit card is necessary when taking the Free option).
Popular fannish characters on sf/fantasy shows who have been non-consensually impregnated by evil forces, had their eggs or ovaries stolen by evil forces, gave birth to children who were then kidnapped by evil forces, or gave birth to children who then magically "aged up" to become evil include:
- Catherine Chandler (Beauty and the Beast)
- Claire Littleton (Lost)
- Cordelia Chase (twice) (Angel the Series)
- Dana Scully (The X-Files)
- Deanna Troi (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
- Gabrielle (Xena Warrior Princess)
- Gwen Cooper (Torchwood)
- Kara Thrace (Battlestar Galactica)
- Sydney Bristow (Alias)
- Vala Mal Doran (Stargate SG-1)
- Xena (Xena Warrior Princess)
Pregnancy fic has a wide variety of tones and tropes due to the unpredictable nature of pregnancy itself and the way media presents it.
- Humor or fluff will feature the sillier parts, such as wacky food cravings and weight gain, playful bickering between couples, hormone-induced emotional outbursts, picking names, and feeling the baby kick for the first time. The father will be run ragged or run himself ragged trying to support and tend to his wife, and childbirth usually consists of screaming and hand-crushing before a fluffy scene afterwards with the new baby.
- Fics involving queer pairings can be similiar, though the tropes can also be much less reliant on the fulfillment of heteronormative ideas of gender roles, and in recent years especially pregnancy!fics focused on m/f relationships have also been written in a way that muddies the water of these ideals (though it should not be assumed that m/f relationships of this ilk in the past were absent fully, nor that slash, femslash, or non binary related pregnancy!fics can't or don't utilise these more hegemonic notions of gender).
- More serious fics will focus on difficult and high-risk pregnancies. Sometimes this is based in canon, if a character is prone to illness or physically frail, but other times the smaller one of a couple will be written as such to create drama and hurt/comfort. These fics also deal in the scarier parts of pregnancy: miscarriage, stillbirth, premature labor, delivery complications, and sometimes even postpartum depression. These fics will also address fertility issues if they're present in canon, or if they want to add even more angst.
- Rarer are fics involving pregnant pets, where the human couple simply must tend to their animal friend and prepare for the arrival of their offspring (be it live birth or eggs). These tend to be lighter in tone, sometimes even invoking the Your Tomcat Is Pregnant trope for extra laughs when the pregnancy is how they discover the pet is female.
- Some pregnancy fics are more sexual in nature, with pregnancy being a niche fetish in the adult communities. Such fics will have the pregnant character overcome with need for their partner due to hormones, or their partner finding them even more irresistible as their body grows and changes. Specific kinks include Alien/Monster Pregnancy, Forced Impregnation, Hyperpregnancy and Rapid Pregnancy.
- "Sympathy pains" are a rare trope in which the partner of the pregnant character experiences typical pregnancy symptoms. This can either be played straight if the partner experiences morning sickness and fatigue along with the pregnant person, but can also be treated as a form of anxiety, especially if the pregnant person themselves is holding up just fine but their partner is worried about having a child. A classic example of the former is the I Love Lucy episode "Ricky has Labor Pains", where he feels ill and tired out of envy for all the attention his pregnant wife is getting. In real life, this is called Couvade syndrome.
Pregnancy in Fanworks
I think one of the biggest reasons I love it so much is that it provides opportunity to evoke some of the most intense emotions in the characters affected by it. Excitement, joy, love, anticipation, worry, grief, anxiety, fear. Want Fluff? Angst? Hurt/Comfort? Ample opportunity for any or all of it depending on the story you want to tell.
Pregnancy isn't really one of those things that characters can or do simply shrug off. It's one of those life events that you can't go back from. But the pregnancy is the build up. You have about 40 weeks of gradually building up to the birth and there's so much that could develop during that time, beyond the baby: How does the reaction of the characters change as it progresses? What are they most excited for? What are they worried about? How do they respond to the pregnancy? How does it affect them as a couple? How are they preparing for parenthood? What are the circumstances they find themselves in like? Was it planned? Was it wanted? Are they prepared?
And when there isn't a highly emotional reaction, whichever emotions they may be, there's potential there in exploring why that might be and providing that variety in the types of stories you can tell with it.
- And Baby Makes Five - a Star Trek: VOY Janeway/Chakotay story by Seema with pregnant Janeway
- Only Human by peaceful village - a Klaroline fanfic with pregnant Caroline
- Happy Accidents - a Curious Archer fic by OfMonstersAndWerewolves in the OUAT fandom.
- Accountable by Dyce. Harry Potter AU novel about Hermione's post-war pregnancy.
- Poignant Sting by Ione. An Emma sequel which deals with Regency era pregnancy care.
- Sexual Healing by rah. X-Files story in which Mulder makes love with a very pregnant Scully
Leia Organa, on the inside page from issue #1 of Alliance & Empire, art by Jason Camp
Birth Control in Fanworks
- Star Trek: Species Diversity and You: A Sexual Safety Presentation by Grey Bard, includes birth-control tips for Starfleet officers.
Nursing Babies in Fanworks
"Mother and Child" by Pam Tuck, in Castles in the Air #1
Miscarriage and Stillbirth
Miscarriages are popular vehicles for angst and drama in fan works, especially if they segue into a plot about fertility issues. Sometimes a cause is given, like if the pregnant character is badly injured or ill, but most of the time it simply happens for the sake the couple dealing with the loss. Stillbirths seem less common, though this could potentially be down to a lack of information on the topic (miscarriages occur before either 20, 24 or 28 weeks, depending on the source, and stillbirths after).
- Very common in Fire Emblem fandom:
- The Chrom/Robin fic "Little Bird" Awakening has Robin miscarry a baby before the couple has Chrom's canon daughter, Lucina.
- "Tenebrae," Xander/Leo omegaverse fic for Fates has Leo miscarry their first child, before becoming pregnant a second time.
- A Gunter/Female Corrin fic has Corrin miscarry many times before finally having Kana.
- Features frequently in Dimitri/Female Byleth and Sylvain/Ingrid fics in Three Houses fandom.
- "Spring Frost," an Alfred/Female Alear fic in Engage, features Alfred blaming himself for Alear giving birth to a dead baby, and the one before dying in-utero.
- The fic "Not All That Glitters" explains the eight-year age difference between Diamant and Alcryst via the Queen of Brodia having lost multiple children and pregnancies after her first before finally having Alcryst.
- One Pidge/Lance story in Voltron: Legendary Defender fandom has Pidge miscarry their baby after a car accident.
- Another Twitter fic has her and Keith mourning their stillborn daughter three years later, imagining what life would be like if she'd survived.
- The Kataang fic "A Parent's Sorrow" in Avatar: The Last Airbender fandom has Katara miscarry many attempts at a pregnancy before she and Aang are finally able to have Tenzin.
- The infamous How I Became Yours deals with Mai poisoning Katara into losing her and Zuko's child, and Katara's grief. It's written as a miscarriage, but Katara is six months along so it's more likely a stillbirth.
- The popular "Rugrats Theory" creepypasta posits that Tommy Pickles was a stillborn. Two fics deconstruct this:
- "Prerugrats" has Didi give premature birth to a stillborn, but not Tommy. Instead it's a boy named Spencer, and it takes her and Stu three years to finally have Tommy.
- "Beautiful Monster" is more directly about the theory, with Tommy dying in-utero and Didi choosing to go through with the rest of the pregnancy.
- SGA: Side Effects by Jane Elliot. Rarempreg story in which the pregnant man chooses to have an abortion.
- Star Trek: TOS: An Abortive Attempt by Paula Smith is a story with the subject of abortion, set in the Kraith universe. Printed in Menagerie #5 in 1975. One fan writes: "...about a Vulcan woman who gets an abortion by a Terran doctor and the consequences of the doctor. Good examination of morality that doesn't have to apply to the 23rd century obviously." 
- The Voltron: Legendary Defender Shidge fic series "A New Breed of Training" has Pidge aborting her second child with Shiro after her doctor tells them the fetus is unhealthy and won't survive more than a year after birth. No moral judgement is placed on the decision, likely due to it being a medical necessity.
- A Phoenix Wright Kink Meme fill, No Such Thing as Easy by Osidiano, features Adrian Andrews having an abortion after getting pregnant by Matt Engarde, complete with heavy moral themes and immense guilt and shame.
- Another fill, Kurain Genealogy by fulldaysdrive, features a sympathetic take on Iris aborting her child with Phoenix, due to the messy nature of the Kurain bloodline.
- Mo Dao Zu Shi/The Untamed: baby let's take the long way home by plonk is a modern au in which Lan Wangji drives Wei Wuxian six hours to get an abortion. Lan Wangji is not responsible for getting Wei Wuxian pregnant. Later in the story Wei Wuxian says, "I'm so fucking glad I got an abortion."
- lim: SPOILERS for SG-1, Farscape, X-Files, Angel, the 4400 2008-02-28 (Accessed Nov. 8 2008)'
- liviapenn: Get a new schtick, boys 2008-03-07 (Accessed Nov. 8 2008)
- Favourite Trope: A Short Meta (Oct 2021) by OMAWMeta
- Mpreg Meta by Jane Elliot, 1 January 2011. (Accessed 8 April 2011)
- from Spectrum #19