I have an awesome, and completely useless, superpower: I can spot the real pregnant girls on TV. 

From my couch, I pronounce with decisive judgment which pregnant characters are played by legitimately pregnant actresses, and which characters are played by fakers with padding. My incredibly patient husband’s only recourse is to nod silently as I point at the television accusingly, and declare, “She is not pregnant!”

Here’s how you identify those unrealistic pregnancy fakers:

Fakers have cutely-rounded tummies.

One of the truly great joys of pregnancy is horrifying coworkers during meetings as your contortionist kid sticks a foot nearly through your side, or an elbow directly out of the center of your chest. 

A real pregnant woman can all-too-frequently be found muttering to the massive bulge on her left hip, and physically pushing it back to her stomach area, where it belongs.

Fakers smile beatifically at fluttery baby kicks.

There are no butterfly-like tickles from your rug-rat near the end. You get sucker-punched in the bladder, head-butted in your kidney, and plain old butted in three ribs…simultaneously. 

Before mid-morning, you’ve been battered more than a professional fighter.

Fakers wear ludicrous shoes.

Eight months pregnant and wearing four-inch heels? That’s how the fakers do it. Pregnant women in-the-know abandon sexy pumps and waddle comfortably in slip-ons. 

If you can consistently find someone around your house who feels sorry for you – or feels responsible for your pregnancy-related misery – you can probably get them to lace up your comfy sneakers for you.

Fakers have killer legs.

No TV-pregnant chick is ever rocking the luscious gams of the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man.  They’ve got no swollen feet erupting out the tops of those stilettos, no sausage-like toes, and no ankles that have turned into sequoia trunks. 

In real life, the edema can be inescapable – and you stop caring once the view of your legs disappears.

Fakers stand around and smile.

If you’re about to pop, you will avoid unsupported standing at all costs. 

Without guilt, you’ll lean against any wall, surface, or sturdy-looking stranger. You’ll grab for a seat like you’re going for the gold in musical chairs. Bonus points if you can nab a second chair on which to plop your ballooning, aching feet.

Fakers bounce up.

The fakers rise glowingly and gracefully from any perch while the truly pregnant women labor to haul themselves into a semi-standing position. 

Leveraging antique furniture or enlisting the aid of several small children are all fair game in getting back on your feet. Somewhere around the eighth month you give up worrying if anyone can hear your grunt and groan as you move from sitting to standing.

There is no bounce. 

Fakers gab at length.

Once that baby’s time has nearly come, you’ve got what feels like the lung capacity of a hummingbird.  The pregnant T.V. ladies smilingly entertain a roomful of people with long stories.   Meanwhile, you see black spots and gasp like a fish out of water before you finish a second sentence.

Fakers roll easily over in their sleep.

Maneuvering yourself in bed during the third trimester involves waking up completely, quietly debating with yourself whether you really need to roll over, giving yourself a pep talk, and then heaving yourself – sometimes repeatedly – in your intended direction of motion. 

Once you get there, you get to enjoy the extra few seconds it takes for your bony baby to succumb to gravity and sliiide down along your ribs – before kicking you in your lung in thanks for your efforts.

(Have we left some tell-tale pregnancy-faker signs out? Let us know in the comments!)