Sales of prosthetic, silicone pregnant bellies have recently taken off in China, according to a report in China Daily. These bumps, which can be purchased in sizes from 2-4 months to 5-7 months to 8-9 months are sold overseas and locally as costumes but they may also be used by women who want to disguise an adoption or surrogacy.
Wang Rui, a spokeswoman for a manufacturer of the bumps said, “We do both exporting and domestic business, but these two groups of clients are buying fake bellies for different reasons. Our American customers, for example, are usually in the entertainment industry, like stand-up comedy, and they use it as a prop to increase comic effects, in addition to their use in art performances, while some Chinese buy the bellies to dress themselves up as pregnant women.”
The bellies start at about $63 US dollars and go way up from there. There are extra large twin models available, too. They can customize the skin tone, too, so that it looks more realistic. They can also customize according to the wearers height, size and weight.
“Many clients request us to keep their names secret while purchasing, and they even tell us to leave the ‘item’ option blank when filling out the information for delivery,” said Wang.
Another possible explanation for the phenomenon, says Xue Liya from the Social Development Institute of Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, could be fathers wearing bellies to help them empathize with pregnant partners. In the UK’s Daily Mail today there’s a story of a guy who wears a large prosthetic bump for a day so that he’ll get some insight into his very pregnant fiancee’s cranky mood. Nice gesture but does that prosthetic also come with 50% added blood volume, sluggish digestion, sciatica like pain, gastric reflux and nausea? Yeah, I didn’t think so.