In Hollywood, the show must go on even if that means continuing to film when the lead actress is a few months pregnant. It might take a village, but from scene to scene and shot to shot, cinematographers, costume designers, and directors make it so audiences would never know the leading lady has a belly bump.
From Kerry Washington in Scandal to Reese Witherspoon in Vanity Fair, creativity is the name of the game. And when that doesn't get the job done, using a pregnancy in the story, such as Alyson Hannigan's in How I Met Your Mother, is another workaround. Either way, these remarkable actresses stayed in character.
Lisa Kudrow's Phoebe Was Written In As A Surrogate
During the fourth season of Friends, Lisa Kudrow found out she was going to be a mother. But instead of hiding the fact under clothing and behind props, as they did with her co-star Courteney Cox, the writers decided to use her pregnancy to their advantage.
That season, the writers made Phoebe a surrogate mother for her younger brother and his wife, Frank and Alice. It was a beautiful way to incorporate the actress' baby bump, while not straying from the main story surrounding the six friends.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus' Pregnancies Were "Shown" In Two Ways
During her nine-year run as Elaine on Seinfeld, actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus got pregnant twice. Thankfully, the character's unique fashion sense helped hide the first baby bump! Using baggier clothing and props, such as a handbag, they were able to conceal Louis-Dreyfus' growing tummy. The second go-around was a whole different story, though.
First, Jerry Seinfeld pitched the idea that Elaine gets fat. That didn't go over well, ending with the actress in tears. And so, in typical Seinfeld fashion, the character walked around with a huge belly, and no one said a word about it!
Sarah Jessica Parker During Sex And The City
Days into the fifth season's production schedule of Sex and the city, star Sarah Jessica Parker found out she was pregnant. Since they were already filming, they weren't able to write it into the story. And considering pregnancy would have been very out of character for Carrie, they weren't going to do it anyway.
So, they found themselves with a unique challenge: hiding a baby bump while keeping the character's fashionista personality intact. The solution was dressing Parker in baby doll dresses and other loose-fitting clothing while accessorizing her with brightly colored jewelry. At the end of the day, SJP was one stylish mommy-to-be!
Keri Russell During The Americans
Keri Russell is one remarkable actress, portraying an undercover KGB agent in The Americans while pregnant with her husband/co-star Matthew Rhys' son, Sam. Instead of stalling the fourth season, though, the co-showrunner and co-creator of the series, Joel Fields, decided to use some fancy camera angles and cuts.
Fields said they used "cuts of her with groceries, cuts of her with a laundry basket, cuts of her with more groceries. Coats, lots of coats!" Interestingly, they also used a bit of CGI to cover up Russell's growing belly. Joel hoped that doing so would put less focus on some of the oddly-placed props!
Lucille Ball's Pregnancy Was Written Into I Love Lucy
Believe it or not, I Love Lucy's Lucille Ball was pregnant during the second season of the beloved sitcom. Surprisingly for the time, CBS agreed to write the pregnancy into the storyline. However, because Lucille was a bit further along than her character, costume designers had to dress the actress in larger clothing to hide her stomach.
Now, this was when married couples on TV were sleeping in different beds, so the writers had to be careful with their verbiage, using words like "expecting" instead of "pregnant." Fun fact: Lucille was the first actress to have her pregnancy shown onscreen.
Alyson Hannigan Was Pregnant On HIMYM Twice
While filming the sitcom How I Met Your Mother, actress Alyson Hannigan was pregnant not just once, but twice. The first go-around, writers decided not to include the pregnancy in the story, but that didn't stop them from concealing the fact in hilarious ways. Cleverly placed globes and basketballs kept Hannigan's growing baby bump out of audience view (even if it was obvious what they were doing)!
They did show her bump eventually, writing it in as a food baby after Hannigan's character Lily won a hotdog eating contest! The writers had an easier time with the second pregnancy, as her character had a child at the same time.
Debra Messing Used Clothing And Props To Hide Her Tummy
When Grace went from tight, midriff-bearing clothing to slightly more conservative clothing, fans of the show Will & Grace knew something was going on with actress Debra Messing. Well, they weren't wrong; she was pregnant! Using looser clothing that covered her stomach, Messing was able to continue filming during the sixth season of the show.
Of course, props and clothing can only do so much. And the actress had to step away from behind the camera for the season's last four episodes. For a lady carrying a baby, that's a long time to hide an ever-growing bump.
Ellen Pompeo Took Advantage Of Grey's Anatomy Drama
When Ellen Pompeo announced her pregnancy, there was no way she was going to leave Grey's Anatomy without their title character. So, this remarkable leading lady kept filming up until her maternity leave during the sixth season of the show. The thing is, viewers never knew!
With the help of the series medical setting, Pompeo was able to hide a lot of her bump wearing her character's signature scrubs. And when that wasn't enough anymore, the camera crew went with fancy camera angles and close-up shots.
Angelina Jolie During Changeling
While Angelina Jolie is known for her many adopted children, when she was playing Christine Collins in Changeling, she was actually pregnant. The film revolves around her character, who comes home to find her young son missing. Jolie gives a very intense performance, something a lot of people chalk up to being her "pregnancy emotions."
Whether it was that or her amazing acting skills, Jolie absolutely nails the role of a determined mother. Ironically, the actress didn't even know she was carrying a child, two actually, until after filming wound down! That must have come as quite a wonderful surprise.
Angela Kinsey Sat At Her Office Desk While Filming
While filming the fourth season of the American version of The Office, actress Angela Kinsey was pregnant with her daughter. But the writers didn't want her crazy cat lady character having a baby quite yet, so they opted to shoot around the petite actress's growing baby bump.
Luckily for them, Angela sits behind her desk for a majority of the show anyway, so it wasn't too complicated to conceal her tummy. Here's to hoping her daughter got some of the character's quirkiness from "being on set" during filming!
Isla Fisher's Period Piece Dresses Worked Wonders
Actress Isla Fisher was pregnant while filming the period piece Burke and Hare. Luckily for her, the costumes and large gowns helped hid the tiny belly bump she was beginning to get during production. But she was only a few months along at the time, so there wasn't too much to conceal.
Even so, it takes a lot of energy to be "on" for the camera all the time. So, kudos to Fisher for giving a stellar performance, even though it's very likely that she would have rather been in bed and relaxing. And if it says anything about her professionalism, Fisher's co-stars had no idea she was expecting!
Kristen Bell Embraced Method Acting During Her Second Pregnancy
While filming House of Lies, actress Kristen Bell got pregnant on two separate occasions. During the first pregnancy, the typical concealment methods and production tricks were used, mostly baggy clothing and precisely placed props. But the second pregnancy was a whole different ball game.
Luckily for Bell, it was decided her character Jeannie was going to have a baby, too. So, it was goodbye to the oddly large handbags and hello to a normal filming experience, kind of. Bell has mentioned that her second pregnancy was almost like a weird method acting exercise: carrying a baby in real life would translate onscreen as very authentic, after all!
Cobie Smulders Was Pregnant Onscreen Twice
Actress Cobie Smulders is another How I Met Your Mother alum who got pregnant during filming. And while her co-star Alyson Hannigan's second baby bump was written into the script, Smulders' character, Robin, didn't have a baby in her story arch. So, they got creative, hiding the actress's stomach with baggier clothing and oversized handbags.
But that wasn't the first and last time Smulders was pregnant onscreen. In 2015, she starred in the film Unexpected. Ironically, she was expecting while filming! But this time, she didn't have to hide it, now did she have to wear a fake belly. It was all-natural, baby!
Camera Angles Hid Kerry Washington's Pregnancy
Actress Kerry Washington was pregnant with her first child while filming the sixth season of Scandal. And since a baby wasn't written into her character's story, a little creativity had to be put into hiding the ever-growing baby bump. Suddenly, Washington's character was wearing oversized coats, not-so-subtly hiding behind objects, and only being shot from the chest up.
Superfans are detail-oriented, and they caught on. As a result, the infamous TV Guide article titled "The 20 Most Ridiculous Ways Scandal Has Hidden Kerry Washington's Pregnancy" was published! But props to Washington for continuing to film, regardless!
Jane Leeves' Frasier Character "Gained Weight"
Actress Jane Leeves got pregnant during the fifth season of the beloved sitcom Frasier. And unlike a lot of other shows, this series decided to work with Leeves' extra baby weight. The writers decided that Daphne's lifestyle, relationship, and overall stress made her gain the extra pounds.
With this approach, there was no need for fancy camera angles or prop placement. Of course, they had to explain the weight loss once the baby was born. So, Daphne went to a weight-loss spa! And just like that, voila, Daphne was back to her original shape and size.
Amy Poehler Was Pregnant During Parks And Recreation
There was more to season two of Parks and Recreation than the usual laughs and shenanigans. Lead actress Amy Poehler was actually pregnant! Thankfully, her character Leslie Knope enjoys a sensible pantsuit, which helped cover Poehler's growing tummy, so the costume department didn't have to resort to loose shirts or oversized props.
The director also had Poehler's character sitting behind a desk for a lot of shots, making it so there was no way viewers were able to see her stomach. Considering all of the dry humor thrown around in the show, Poehler shouldn't be too surprised if her baby turns out to be a comic genius.
Zooey Deschanel's Character Was Suddenly Bed-Ridden
During the fifth season of the comedy series New Girl, star Zoey Deschanel's real-life pregnancy was something the showrunners had to consider. It would have been strange to randomly write in the actress' character, Jess, having a baby, so the showrunners decided on something slightly different.
Instead, the character had an accident, leaving her with an injury that made her bedridden. When the time came for Jess to get out of bed, Deschanel was even larger, so they gave the character jury duty, sticking her behind a barrier to conceal her growing tummy. Not too bad of a gig for Deschanel, getting paid to lie in bed while filming!
Julie Bowen Was Nearly Due During The Modern Family Pilot
Can you imagine someone who's not Julie Bowen playing the Dumphey family's matriarch in Modern Family? Well, the actress was eight and a half weeks pregnant during the production of the pilot episode! And while most actresses would turn down a part so close to their due date, Bowen wasn't about to pass up the Modern Family script.
According to Bowen, it had been years since she read a script she liked so much, saying she "cried and cried and cried" after reading it. So, she moved forward with the project, using all of the production tricks in the handbook, including loose clothing and close-ups.
Scarlett Johansson Rocked A Supersuit While Pregnant
She might play a highly-trained assassin onscreen, but Scarlett Johansson is a real-life superhero for proceeding with Avengers: Age of Ultron filming while she was pregnant. Not only does her character Black Widow do intense stunts, but she wears a skin-tight supersuit.
While the stunts were done by another professional, there was no putting someone else in the spandex Black Widow costume. So, Johansson's filming schedule was pushed up, while fancy camera angles were used to hide her ever-growing tummy. And while there's no doubt that the actress was tired, running around as an Avenger all day, she got the job done.
Ginnifer Goodwin Hid Her Tummy One Scene And Showed It The Next
Ginnifer Goodwin's show Once Upon a Time had an unusual approach to her pregnancy. Unlike other ladies on this list, Goodwin was shown as pregnant in one scene and not in another! This is because Goodwin plays two characters in the show, Snow White and Mary Margaret.
And while the former was written in as carrying a child, the latter was not. So, for the scenes where Goodwin was Mary, she wore oversized coats, while her belly was free during her scenes as Snow White. Imagine how exhausting that must have been for her to switch back and forth. That's called being a professional.
Halle Berry Finished "Storm" Scenes In The Nick Of Time
If going to set while pregnant and knowing you're going to have to wear a tight super-suit isn't being a real-life hero, then we don't know what Halle Berry is. While filming X-Men: Days of Future Past, Berry was three months pregnant. And while she wasn't fully showing quite yet, the actress's filming schedule was brought to the forefront.
Luckily, Berry was able to get in a majority of her shots before her black suit started to feel a bit tight around the midsection! She's stated that by the end, she was having trouble zipping it up. It looks like they finished in the nick of time.
Filming A Period Piece Worked In Reese Witherspoons's Favor
While filming the period drama Vanity Fair, actress Reese Witherspoon was pregnant with her son, Deacon. And to say the production team used a bit of trickery to work around the tiny actresses ever-growing belly would be an understatement. Thankfully, they had more than one tool at their disposal.
Witherspoon is clad in period-appropriate dresses throughout the film, huge flowering garments that did a great job hiding her tummy. The lighting was also dimmed, giving the film a moody feel while decreasing the appearance of Witherspoon's midsection. Seriously, this lady is an extraordinary professional, and no one would know she was five months pregnant in the film.
Kate Winslet Held A Lot Of Files While Filming Divergent
Kate Winslet is nothing if not a professional actress who will do what it takes to get the best shot. While filming the young adult novel adaptation of Divergent, Winslet was five months pregnant with her third child, Bear. But that didn't slow her down one bit!
To keep the pregnancy hidden onscreen, deliberate camera angles were used, and strategically placed files became a huge part of Winslet's character. The actress even wanted to perform her own stunts! They wouldn't let her, of course. But after giving birth, she asked to do some reshoots so she could perform. What an absolute pro!
Lena Headey Was Five Months Pregnant During Game Of Thrones
Believe it or not, actress Lena Heady was five months pregnant during the fifth when the fifth season of Game of Thrones came to a wrap. The Cersei Lannister actress concealed it very well, though, placing her arms in front of her stomach and wearing slimming black gowns.
She even had a body double come in during her character's infamous Walk of Shame down the main strip of King's Landing. And even though Cersei wasn't exactly a well-liked character, major props to Headey for powering through filming one of the most epic series of all time.
Naomi Watts Had A Strange Insight Into Her Own Pregnancy
The David Cronenberg film Eastern Promises was already a few weeks into production when actress Naomi Watts found out she was pregnant. Of course, this superstar had no clue she was with child when she was zooming through traffic on a motorcycle, performing her own stunts. Even so, that's a cool story to tell your child later on!
Ironically, in the film, her character plays a midwife. So, Watts had a strange inside look into pregnancy and birth, something she wouldn't have had if not for playing the role of Anna.
Black Clothing And Dim Lighting Helped Helena Bonham Carter During Sweeney Todd
When Tim Burton found out his partner at the time and lead actress for Sweeney Todd, Helena Bonham Carter, was pregnant, he decided to move forward with filming. Firstly, he moved Carter to the top of the filming schedule, hoping to get as much in before she began to show.
Of course, filming time has nothing on the female body, and Carter's tiny baby bump began to show just enough where black baggy dresses and mood lighting were necessary. But the movie is done so well, and Carter is such a genius that a change in her body was all but unnoticeable.
Jill Scott's Pregnancy Was A Welcome Surprise
Jill Scott is seriously Wonder Woman. After having issues conceiving in the past, Scott was overjoyed with her pregnancy news. However, she was shooting 14 hours a day in Africa for the show The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency.
Not only are those hours a lot for anyone, let alone a woman carrying a child, but the climate was something else altogether. Hot, humid, with just enough bugs to make one go nuts, Scott made it through filming, because that's what professionals do. Excuse us while we bow down to this absolute queen.
Morena Baccarin Worked With A CGI Tummy
Not thinking her character was going to have a huge part in the second season of Showtime's Homeland, Morena Baccarin thought it was the perfect time to have a child. Well, the writers had a different idea. As it turned out, Baccarin's character Jessica Brody had a very large part!
Thankfully, the producers found a foolproof workaround. Instead of hiding Baccarin behind baggy clothing and props, they utilized technology. That's right; in the second season of the thriller series, Baccarin's stomach is pretty much all CGI.
Blake Lively Filmed Up Until Her Due Date
Blake Lively is no stranger to filming while pregnant, as she's done it twice, in two different films. Remarkably, the first film was The Shallows, a thriller movie where Lively is clade in nothing but a bikini while she battles a shark. It was only the last few weeks of filming that Lively turned to a stunt double. Okay, super lady!
The second film was a bit less active, meaning there was no killer shark to fight. Even so, Lively was fighting time. The actress filmed The Age of Adaline pretty much up until her due date, wearing large coats and having close-up shots to conceal her tummy onscreen.
Emily Blunt Played Two Characters Who Couldn't Have Kids
Just before the cameras starting rolling for The Girl on the Train, actress Emily Blunt found out she was pregnant. It was still early, though, so she didn't tell anyone since she wasn't showing, opting to carry on business as usual.
Interestingly, Blunt said keeping the secret helped her embody the character of Rachel Watson, a troubled woman who is unable to get pregnant, even though she longs for a child.