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Who is the one person no one ever questions or suspects anything? A pregnant woman! Many have picked up this handy little fact and seen its potential for whenever you need to get away with something. But real pregnancy is messy and takes too long. Not to worry! There is a simple trick to getting the full effect of being pregnant without having to go through all the trouble of actually becoming pregnant:

Step 1: Stuff a pillow up your shirt.

Congratulations! Now everyone who sees you will conclude that you are in some late stage of pregnancy and won't question or harass you about anything! Also quite useful if someone actually thinks you are pregnant when you really aren't, although they may get curious when the natural follow-up never happens.

Sometimes two boys will do this to be pregnant woman in a Trench coat.

A form of Obfuscating Disability. Compare Fake Boobs.

Examples of Pillow Pregnancy include:


Advertising

  • A promo for soccer has a pair of guards on two sides of a secured border apparently engaged in an ongoing game of trying to sneak a ball past each other. One guard achieves this by getting a woman to hide it under her dress in this manner. GOOOOAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • In a Mentos ad, a man and his date skip out on a restaurant bill by pretending she just went into labor and rushing to their motorcycle. Turns out she just had a motorcycle helmet under her dress.
    • A similar ad was featuring a couple driving at high speed during the streets. They get stopped by the police and, upon seeing the very-pregnant woman, they escort them to the hospital. When the couple run up the stairs, the soccer ball slips from underneath her dress. It was a car ad.
    • Yet another advert had a couple getting intimate in a theatre. The woman cries out loudly enough to halt the play. The man balls a jacket underneath her dress, and by the time people get up there, makes out she's going into labour.

Anime and Manga

  • In the first episode of Cowboy Bebop, a woman fakes a pregnancy by stuffing drugs up her dress. Yes, you heard right. She smuggles drugs in a fake belly.
  • In the "Escape From Pain" episode of Trigun, Milly smuggles a teenage girl under her coat. Though the girl is pretty petite, and Milly rather tall, the resultant bulge is still large enough that she attracts curious scrutiny (including one old woman asking if she's expecting sextuplets), though she still manages to use this to fool the people chasing the girl she's hiding.
  • Miu from Ichigo Mashimaro decides to stuff a pillow under her nightdress after sleeping with Nobue. No, not in that way.

Comics

  • In one FoxTrot strip, Jason and Marcus have pillows under their shirts. At first they're bugging people with "I think we ate too much Halloween candy" and then when that doesn't get a reaction, it's "I think we're pregnant."

Film

  • Julia Roberts' character in Ocean's Twelve is coerced into doing this so she can pretend to be Julia Roberts...wait...
  • Angelina Jolie does it in the movie Taking Lives, though she uses a more convincing prosthetic to convince Ethan Hawke that she's eight months pregnant with his child, so that he'll think she's unable to fight back when he attacks her. In the end, she shoots him dead, and then finally removes the prosthetic to show the audience that she had been faking her pregnancy for nine whole months, simply to bait him.
    • This also creates an opportunity for a particularly disturbing Kick the Dog moment on the part of Ethan Hawke's character, who stabs her "pregnant" belly with a pair of scissors, evidently willing to kill her even though he believed her pregnant with his own twins...
  • In the film The Cooler, Mikey and Charlene make use of this trope. They extract money from Bernie, and later Charlene attempts to stop a fight by pretending to go into labor.
  • The underrated Lindsay Lohan film Labor Pains features the main character doing this with one of her couch cushions, in front of a room full of baby shower guests who until that moment had thought she was genuinely pregnant.
  • In the movie Young Doctors In Love, a prostitute named Julie uses a balloon to fake her pregnancy (she was making Heel Face Turn out of the business), but a Jerkass doctor pops it in a Kick the Dog moment.
  • Done by Jessica Alba's character in the movie P.U.N.K.S..
  • Used for comic and not deceptive effect: in the movie of Funny Girl, Fanny Brice is cast in the Ziegfield Follies as the star of the number "His Love Makes Me Beautiful." However, Fanny thinks she's far too ugly for any man to sing about her rapturous beauty, so she plays the number for laughs by sticking a pillow under the belly of the wedding dress she's wearing, and singing to match.
  • Briefly done for a gag in Brain Donors. Literal ambulance chaser Roland T. Flakfizer arrives at the scene of a minor car accident and sees a woman passenger. He immediately sticks an instant-inflating pillow under her dress and starts loudly yelling about the liability costs.

Literature

  • Short story "Golden Girl" by Ellis Peters. While a pregnant woman is taking a sea voyage, the ship is damaged and starts to sink. After the woman puts on a life jacket, one of the ship's officers drops her into the sea so she can be rescued by nearby boats. Much to his surprise, she sinks straight to the bottom. It turns out that she had been smuggling 30 pounds of gold bars in the padding under her maternity smock.
  • In Garden of Shadows, the prequel to V. C. Andrews' Flowers in the Attic series, Olivia Foxworth must stuff her clothes with a progressively larger series of pillows to make it appear that she really is pregnant, so the servants don't realize that the baby who is about to join the family is really the result of her husband Malcolm raping his stepmother.
    • Also done in Olivia, where Olivia Logan (no relation to Olivia Foxworth) does this so that she can pass off her sister's illegitimate child as her own.
  • Sara has one in the Artefacts Of Power series by Maggie Furey.
  • In the second Hunger Games book, Catching Fire, Peeta tells the entire country on live television that Katniss is pregnant, when she is not, and she had no idea he planned on doing this. However, she thinks she is going to be dead within the week and doesn't worry about it. Many people suspect that they are lying and joke around with her. When she does, in fact, survive, she says she miscarried after being electrocuted.


Live Action TV

  • On Friends, Monica has decided to shoplift a blue sweater as her "something blue" and "something borrowed." She shoves it up her blouse and has a quick maternal moment.
  • Subverted in the The Drew Carey Show "What's Wrong With This Episode?", where Kate and Lewis both (supposedly) have a Pillow Pregnancy, but in reality Christa Miller is actually pregnant, and is pulling a Hide Your Pregnancy.
    • A similar stunt was pulled on Kate and Allie in The Eighties, to hide Susan St. James' pregnancy by stuffing Jane Curtin to match in one episode. (They justified it by making it a flashback episode to when the title characters were pregnant with their daughters.)
  • An episode of Kenan and Kel has them attempt to speak to someone in a hospital. To get in they use this trope to disguise Kel as a pregnant woman going into labor. This finally leads to the line:

 "Congratulations, you've given birth to a lovely fluffy cushion."

  • In a Season 2 episode of Diagnosis Murder, "Naked Babes", Amanda goes undercover as an expectant mother to investigate her pregnant friend's disappearance and her connection to a black market baby ring.
  • In the final episode of the 1995 Get Smart revival, 66 briefly adopts this trope so that she and Zack can incapacitate two KAOS agents disguised as doctors.
  • This occurs in an episode of Operation Repo, in which a woman fakes being pregnant, even going so far as to fake going into labor, in order to keep her car from being repossessed. When her ruse was found out, the Repo team was not happy.
  • In the "Harlem Globetrotters" episode of TV Funhouse, the team accidentally travels back to the first Christmas, where they decide to play Mary, Joseph and some others in a game of basketball for who gets the inn as opposed to who sleeps in the barn. Naturally, the Globetrotters PWN the Bethlehem players — until Baby Jesus is born, after which he begins defeating the Globetrotters with his miracle powers. Meadowlark then gets one of his brilliant ideas, and takes a hint from Mary by pulling a Pillow Pregnancy with the basketball under his shirt, in order to sneak past and score the winning basket.
  • In Hustle's Series 2 episode "Old Acquaintance", Stacie does this to acquire an object needed for a con.
  • In Monk, to further a murder investigation, Natalie has to go to a party hosted by a man who had stalked her in high school. To discourage him from trying anything, she stuffs a pillow under her shirt and pretends to be pregnant.
  • In a deleted scene from Firefly, River is screwing around with the rest of the crew's heads, and thus uses a pillow to pretend to be pregnant...so Book can marry her to Simon.
  • Infamously, Terri on Glee fakes a pregnancy for months on her husband by doing this (and not allowing him anywhere near her).
  • Kari Byron announced her pregnancy with a short video on the Discovery website. Grant had a hard hat stuffed under his shirt to provide fake bump, and Tory had a ball under his. Kari's bump was real.
  • A sketch in The Secret Policeman's Ball (1979) starring Eleanor Bron and Peter Cook has this trope as the point of the joke.
  • An episode of The Muppet Show had Miss Piggy singing "Waiting At The Church" while apparently heavily pregnant. At the end, Kermit asks her if she's going to take that silly pillow from under her dress.
  • The episode Better Than Life of Red Dwarf features Rimmer's wife pregnant in a VR simulation. In the outtakes, she blows a line and says "Sorry my pregnancy fell out"
  • An early challenge on season 6 of Project Runway was to make a maternity outfit. However, instead of designing for real pregnant women, the designers designed for their regular models wearing a pillow. Some of them did not look convincingly pregnant.
  • On Arrested Development, Maggie Lizer is supposed to be a surrogate mother, but after she couldn't get pregnant she delegates it and pretends to carry the baby with a realistic false belly.
  • CSI: NY did this with a shoplifter, who got the items out of the store by putting them inside her clothes and making herself look pregnant. Stella wasn't fooled because her ankles weren't swollen *and* she was wearing high heels. When Stella makes the two items fall out, she says "Congratulations...twins!"

Music Videos

  • In the music video for Jane's Addiction's "Been Caught Stealing", a man dresses in full drag as a very pregnant woman for his shoplifting trip to the grocery store.

Webcomics

  • In Errant Story, Meji once sneaked out of a guarded city by pretending to be pregnant. Her 'belly', however, actually contained her snarky, flying cat familiar, Ellis. Meanwhile, Ian dressed like a priest and persuaded the guards to let her through by pretending to be the father, doing a cover-up.

Western Animation

  • In an episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Katara dons this guise to pretend to be "Sapphire Fire" [Sokka's "wife" and Aang's "mother"].
  • In a newer episode of Spongebob Squarepants, Mr. Krabs attempts this when he steals money from an arcade with Gary. He pulls it off until Spongebob arrives.
  • In G.I. Joe: Renegades, Scarlett--after a pair of failed Bavarian Fire Drills--poses as a trailer-trash babymama to infiltrate a prison that Duke is in.

Real Life

  • According to Hippo Eats Dwarf: A Guide to Hoaxes and Other B.S., the fake pregnancy is a classic con: usually going that a girl pads herself up and then pretends that she wants to put the "baby" up for adoption, getting whoever wants to adopt the baby to pay her in advance (possibly multiple couples at once!). She then runs off, never to be heard from again.
  • Another example is Erin McGaw, who faked being pregnant for a school project. She fooled everyone for three months, until her teacher pulled the plug.
  • Very much true for shoplifting and drug smuggling. However, the version in which someone guts a real baby and stuffs it full of bags of coke is still just an urban legend.
  • Also true for some baby thieves; unable to have children of their own, they fake pregnancies and then kidnap a baby at about the right time, fooling people around them into thinking the new child is actually theirs. There have been a few recent cases where it gets much worse, and women have murdered and cut open actual pregnant women to steal their unborn children.
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