Posted by: regpriest | March 22, 2010

RP Tipshop: RPing a Pregnancy.

Another post! Not priest related, but RP related! I enjoy RP as much as I enjoy priesting. Which is quite a bit. I see it first as a means of flexing my writing muscles (in the armpit, right next to the tickly spot). I write for a genre that isn’t my preferred genre, which in turn, pops me out of my comfort zone and forces creativity. When I reach for a book, it is not likely to be fantasy or sci-fi. It is more likely to be horror or suspense. The more violent and gory the better. I find though, writing for a genre I don’t prefer and am not familiar with (outside of movies, where I am open to anything but insipid “chick flicks” or mafia movies) has made me a much better writer, and I have found myself able to create what I feel are more realistic characters. It’s always a goal of mine to make my character feel like someone that could really exist. Part of creating a character that feels like a person and not a character, is a little bit of research. Which brings me through the tangent and to the point of my post.

There are many websites and blogs that feature the various poorly written rsp’s that one can find on any given RP server in WoW. Sometimes they will highlight particularly bad stories. One recent one I saw has made me certain that what a bunch of these people need is a crash course in various aspects of biology. And with that, I give you:

Regatta’s Guide to Writing Pregnancy, Labor, and Birth.

Discovering Your Pregnancy or You Can’t Unscrew a Light Bulb.

Some women “just know”, some women take a pregnancy test every day for a month, some women find out while they’re in labor. As Azeroth is a fantasy/medieval setting, try to stick as closely as possible to older methods of pregnancy detection. This Page has some great information on ancient pregnancy detection. It would be well within the realm of possibility for any of the early uses to be used in Azeroth. Add to this that Azeroth is world of magic, and you could also, conceivably have midwives who are able to divine a pregnancy. Sending your possibly knocked up character to the magical midwife and having her pregnancy confirmed by ritual or rite, would fit quite well within the world.

Gestation and Major Milestones or Counting Down the Days.

Human gestation is 40 weeks, or 9 months for you traditionalists. Yes, I realize that 40 weeks adds up to 10 months, but don’t you dare tell a pregnant woman that or you will make her cry. The first 12 weeks are when most miscarriages occur, and it is entirely conceivable that a woman might not even know she was pregnant when she miscarried. So in the first trimester, it is highly unlikely that one would give birth to a child at 11 weeks, and see a recognizable child. Here’s a Wikipedia article on fetal development that gives you approximate sizes of the fetus at each week.

Around 13 weeks a mother may start feeling movement. Some women don’t feel it until later, this is usually a result of their weight, or how the baby is laying in the womb. If they’re facing the mother’s back, she’s not likely to feel much, if any, movement. Facing front, more likely. If you are slender or have a shorter torso, you may feel movement sooner. If you are heavier, or have a longer torso, you may not feel it until later.

Around 16 weeks a baby will be able to hear voices, and at 18 weeks may startle at loud noises.

At week 19 (ish) an ultrasound can show recognizable genitals.

Growing and Showing or Are You Pregnant or Just Fat?

Just as every woman is different, so is every pregnancy. When you show depends on the same things as feeling kicks. The length of your torso, your weight, how you carry, and whether or not you have been pregnant before.  Some women show almost instantly, some don’t show until the very end. Some woman have a big round belly, some women have tiny bellies. Some woman carry it all in the front, some all in the butt. Just take your description of your character’s height and weight, decide if they have a long or short torso (Some people have their height in their legs, some in their torso) and then figure it out from there. If you have a short, heavy woman, with a long torso, then maybe she’d start obviously showing around 30 weeks. If you have a tall gangly lady with a short torso, she’d show earlier, maybe 20 weeks.  Keep this stuff in mind when walking through your pregnancies.

Multiples or Your Uterus is Not a Clown Car

How many babies ya’ got in there anyway, homeslice? While twins and even triplets are fairly common, the higher the number of babies you cram in there, the lower the odds. Natural quads are 1 in 730,000. That should give you an idea of how rare it is to have a natural multiples of higher numbers. Remember, Azeroth is a pseudo fantasy world. While come form of magical fertility treatment could be possible, don’t go over board, as the higher the number of babies, the higher the health risks to them.

Labor and Delivery or Push ’em out, Shove ’em Out, Waaaaay OUT!

Some things to note. Women rarely deliver on their due date. The water does not always break to start the labor. It can take hours to give birth. It can take minutes to give birth. It HURTS. It is exhausting. It is messy. It is smelly. It is gory. The mother can die during labor. The child can die during labor. Sometimes you can push so hard you break blood vessels in your face.The long and the short: it’s a lot of work.

Sometimes you can push and the baby won’t come out.  A Caesarian section might be done then. While the mortality rate for this procedure is now low, in 1865 it was 85%. It would be safe to assume that in a medieval setting the mortality rate would be as high, if not higher. However, because of the many healing magics in Azeroth, one could also assume that, in this case, the mortality rate would be much lower. You could use either and be perfectly logical.

Some resource to help you with your RP pregnancy:


Pregnancy Week by Week

Preparing for Labor and Delivery

More Detailed Than My Guide

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