''Pregnancy trick'' in American English

Xavier da Silva

Senior Member
Hello everyone,

Is the expression "pregnancy trick" used in everyday American English, meaning [= "get pregnant" deliberately by someone or "pretend to be preganant by someone" in order to obtain an advantage (money, maintain a relationship, etc).]?

My examples:

a. She played the pregnancy trick on him because she knew he was rich and influential. Fortunately, later he found he wasn't the father of the child.
b. These young women try the pregnancy trick when they fall in love with a guy and he isn't interested in them.

Thank you in advance!
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    I can't say that I've read it or heard it before, Xavier. But the phrase is easy to understand in these sentences.


    Senior Member
    I agree with owlman. There are many possible tricks relating to pregnancy (including sabotaging of birth control by men!), and I don't think we have one word to refer to all of them, though we certainly understand the concept.


    Senior Member
    US English
    I'd agree that it refer to the woman lying to the man about being pregnant to coerce him into marriage. Note the difference with "a trick baby" = "a child born to a prostitute as the result of an unprotected sexual transaction" (a trick = a john [customer]; to turn tricks = to prostitute oneself sexually (man or woman)).


    Senior Member
    High German/Danish
    "to play a trick" on someone is a widespread expression. There are all sorts of tricks in the book and new ones are added all the time so why not "the pregnancy trick"? It is not an exotic way of making compound words.

    I also think it is obvious what it means.


    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I've never seen or heard the phrase, but I would take it to mean only one thing: lying about being pregnant. In the past, I suppose that would have been for the purpose of forcing a man to marry the woman who has told the lie. In the US, in the present day, this wouldn't make much sense; a large proportion of babies are now born to unmarried women.


    Senior Member
    US English
    Hi, Parla, Although, as you say, the proportion of single mothers is high and rising, some women may prefer the financial support of an acknowledged father. In this age of DNA testing, however, a man can demand such a test determine whether he is indeed the father of the child.


    Senior Member
    Part of what the original poster is asking about goes by the name of "paternity fraud."

    From the Wikipedia article "Paternity fraud":

    Paternity fraud occurs when a mother names a man to be the biological father of a child, when she knows or suspects that he is not the biological father....
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