|Trope · Genre|
|Related:||Mpreg, Fempreg, Kidfic, Curtainfic, Magical Pregnancy|
|See Also:||Safe Sex
|Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom|
|Click here for 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.
Pregnancy in Fanworks
- 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
- 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
- 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)
- Mpreg Meta by Jane Elliot, 1 January 2011. (Accessed 8 April 2011)
- from Spectrum #19