Countless expectant moms continue on with their jobs after learning they are pregnant, but Wonder Woman lead Gal Gadot took the title “working mom” to a whole new level when she filmed reshoots for the film while she was five months pregnant. Working while pregnant isn’t an uncommon experience, especially over the last half a century. Although staying home while pregnant may have been a common expectation in the 1950s, in the early 2000s 66% of women expecting their first child continued working throughout their entire pregnancy, according to the Pew Research Center. Still, if your job involved fighting the “war to end all wars,” you might think twice about heading in to work while pregnant. Keeping up with the demands of filming a movie packed with intense action and battle sequences is challenging enough, but Gadot did it all while growing a human being. When the time came to film reshoots—an inevitable part of producing most films—Gadot wasn’t about to let her growing baby bump stand in the way of fulfilling her Wonder Woman responsibilities. “She’s pregnant during part of the movie,” director Patty Jenkins told Entertainment Weekly. “There are so many things we asked her to do: Now do it on one foot. Now shout while you’re doing it.” In order to accommodate the changes in Gadot’s body, the costume crew adjusted by cutting a triangle out of the front of her costume, according to Entertainment Weekly. Additionally, her belly was covered with a special green fabric that made it possible to hide the pregnancy using special effects once the shooting was finished. Of course, Gadot isn’t the first actress to keep filming after finding out motherhood was in their near future. Here are six actresses you probably never knew were pregnant while filming.
Forget about special effects, clothing and strategically placed props were used to conceal Debra Messing’s pregnancy during the filming of Will & Grace. When Messing became pregnant while filming the sixth season of the show, the crew made many accommodations to try to hide her growing belly. Unfortunately, after experiencing pregnancy complications, Messing was put on bed rest and couldn’t be a part of filming the final episodes of the season.
In season three of Seinfeld—arguably the most popular sitcom of all time—Julia Louis-Dreyfus took a short hiatus from the show while her character, Elaine, went on a European adventure. Unlike Elaine, Louis-Dreyfus wasn’t on vacation, she was caring for her new child. While the first several episodes of the season were filmed, props and costumes were used to conceal her growing belly.
If you look close enough, you just might be able to spot a growing belly on Leslie Knope in seasons two and three of Parks and Recreation. Not only did Poehler keep filming throughout her pregnancy, she actually shot two seasons back to back, an accommodation the show’s creators made to allow her a longer maternity leave after her son was born.
When the sixth season of Grey’s Anatomy began filming, the cast and crew had to get creative when it came to accommodating the leading actress’ growing pregnancy belly. Instead of writing Ellen Pompeo’s pregnancy into the storyline, they wrote around it. Several episodes were shot strategically, showing only her back or above above her belly. As the end of her pregnancy drew near, a plot line was written that involved Meredith Grey donating part of her liver to her father. Her character’s surgery conveniently required some time off work, which meant Pompeo could take a much needed maternity leave.
Sarah Jessica Parker
It was undoubtedly helpful that Carrie Bradshaw, Sarah Jessica Parker’s character in the long-running TV series Sex in the City, was known for her unique ensembles. When Parker became pregnant during the filming of the show’s fifth season, her fashion choices became more than just a statement—they were used to cover up her pregnant belly.
No one saw it coming when Betty Draper—ex-wife to Mad Men’s leading character, Don Draper—gained a significant amount of weight during the show’s fifth season. Betty, played by January Jones, found a lot of security and power in her beauty, but when Jones became pregnant, the show’s creators eager to try something new. Instead of writing in a pregnancy, they had Betty gain weight and grapple not only with her shame over her weight but also with the health issues that were causing the unexpected weight gain. The accommodations that are made to hide a character’s pregnancy are impressive, but they pale in comparison to the demands of working while pregnant. Acting while pregnant is no small feat—especially in cases like Gadot’s, whose character was part of battle scenes and physically demanding action sequences.
What about everyone else?
Of course, countless expectant moms continue on with their normal lives and jobs after learning they’re expecting, but not all workplaces are as accommodating as a Hollywood movie set. The truth is, working while pregnant can be tough. Early morning commutes and first trimester fatigue and nausea don’t exactly go hand and hand. And if lifting, walking, or cleaning are a part of your daily workplace tasks, you can bet these things are only going to become more difficult as your baby bump grows. Working in an environment where you experience pregnancy harassment or an unwillingness to accommodate your needs only makes pregnancy more difficult and stressful. The good news is there are laws in place to protect moms-to-be by making the workplace a safe place. The first of these laws, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, requires employers to treat pregnant women as they do any other temporarily disabled employees. This can be a little confusing, because this law doesn’t actually require your boss to give you time off or accommodate your pregnancy in any way. What it does mean: If company bylaws state that accommodations will be made for other temporarily disabled employees, the same allowances must be made for expectant mothers. It’s good to keep in mind that many employers are willing to work with their pregnant employees, so make a point to talk it through with your supervisor to reach an agreement about what is best for you, your baby, and the company where you work. Under this law, pregnant moms are also protected from being discriminated against because they are pregnant. This means that as long as they are able to perform their job duties, their employer can’t terminate them or require them to take a leave from their position simply because they are pregnant. The second of these laws is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This is a law that protects the jobs of employees who need to take time off to care for someone in their family. In the case of the birth of a child, the new parent’s job is to be held for up to 12 weeks while the mother cares for and bonds with her new baby. Unfortunately, the FMLA is an unpaid leave. When it comes to maternity leave, the United States has a ways to go before it is on par with other developed countries. In fact, out of 41 developed countries offering maternity leave to employees, we are the only country that does not offer any form of paid parental leave, according to the Pew Research Center. Being pregnant certainly doesn’t mean your career has to come to a screeching halt. Except in the case of unique pregnancy complications, most women can carry on with their typical job responsibilities. Of course, don’t hold yourself to the standards of Wonder Woman. If you have any concerns that your job is becoming a hazard to your health or the health of your growing baby, visit with your doctor and your employer about potential changes that can be made to your job until your new baby arrives.