Snooki, reported mother-to-be. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

According to a report in the New York Post, Snooki, 24, is about three months into her pregnancy; the child was reportedly fathered by boyfriend Jionni LaValle. The story has been picked up by multiple media outlets; Polizzi’s rep gave People magazine a “no comment,” but Marc Malkin of E! tweeted that a source confirmed the Post story and that Snooki is indeed with child.

This is meaningful news for a couple of reasons. First, it opens up a whole new world of Snooki-related plotlines for reality TV, as well as merchandising opportunities. (The Post story notes that the better known half of Team Meatball plans to “bankroll her mommy-to-be status into becoming ‘the next Kourtney Kardashian,’ ” which gives the young girls of America a whole new answer to the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?”) Second, the procreation of “Jersey Shore” stars provides additional confirmation that 2012 will indeed bring on the apocalypse.

View Photo Gallery: The cast of season 4 of “Jersey Shore” continue with their wild antics in Italy.

Although Snooki may not have chosen to enter mommyhood for career reasons, it is fortuitous that this is happening at a moment when “Jersey Shore” has faced ratings problems as well as the growing sense that its days of pop cultural relevancy may be numbered.

But with a Lil’ Snooki on the way, the options are endless. The upcoming Snooki/JWoww spin-off now has a plotline to rally around: “Can two Jersey-ite binge drinkers, one of whom is pregnant, share an apartment without driving each other crazy?” Snooki can write another book: “What to Expect When You’re Expecting and Can’t Go to Karma Anymore.” She and Jionni can plan a lavish reality show wedding and, if necessary, a subsequent “unexpected” divorce. Or, if things go well, Snooki can keep popping out kids and start her own spin-off on TLC: “Snooki and Jionni Plus ... Wait, How Many Kids Do We Have Again? I Don’t Know [Expletive], I Thought You Were Keeping Track!”

Then, after all that’s done, she can retire quietly and enjoy a life of relaxation and occasional coupon blogging. Yes, with this one development, the course of Snooki’s entire life has been set. What’s even more comforting is the knowledge that Snooki’s son or daughter will continue to provide fodder for celebrity headlines long after many of us are gone. Yep, I’m pretty sure that’s what Elton John was singing about in “Circle of Life.”

View Photo Gallery: With so many stars sporting baby bumps this year, the stork is working overtime in Hollywood. Here are the celebrities who have recently welcomed children or are expecting.