Celebs Who Wowed Us With Powerful Performances While Pregnant

Pregnancy can take a lot out of a person, and the idea of performing in any sense of the word might feel out of reach for a lot of people who are pregnant. Of course, that doesn't mean it's not possible, and in fact, medical professionals recommend that pregnant individuals get 30 minutes of exercise a day nearly every day of the week. 

That was likely good news to each of the women below, who have all performed onstage in some capacity while pregnant. Some, such as the forever ethereal Beyoncé, chose to perform pregnant more than once. Singers and songbirds aren't the only ones who are on this list; comedians Ali Wong and Amy Poehler have also performed while pregnant, with the former building an entire comedic special out of the experience and the latter working at "Saturday Night Live" up to her last month of pregnancy.

While that degree of activity might not appeal to everyone who has been pregnant or will be, these women have definitely made things work in a big way. From M.I.A.'s legendary Grammy Awards performance while she was having actual contractions to Rihanna's powerhouse performance at the 2023 Super Bowl, here are celebrities who have wowed us with powerful performances while pregnant.

Rihanna announced her second pregnancy at the 2023 Super Bowl

Rihanna took to the stage for the first time in several years to perform at the halftime show for the 2023 Super Bowl. The singer had teased the possibility of a "surprise guest" ahead of her performance, leading some to speculate that past collaborators such as Jay-Z or Eminem might show. Lo and behold, Rihanna had a real surprise in store for viewers: she revealed her second pregnancy at the beginning of the performance.

Rihanna and her partner A$AP Rocky welcomed their first child together in May 2022. The two did not immediately reveal the baby boy's name at the time of his birth, and his name was still unknown when Rihanna performed during the game. What was very clear is that Rihanna is thrilled about being a mom for the second time. The singer held her growing belly as she stepped onstage in a head-to-toe red jumpsuit with the zipper pulled down.

With this iconic performance, Rihanna became the first pregnant woman to perform at the Super Bowl. 

Beyoncé delivered a number of performances while pregnant

When it comes to performing, it can be argued that no one has done it as well as Beyoncé. In true queen fashion, the singer revealed her first pregnancy while performing at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards. While the performance was a showstopper, it wasn't even the first time she had performed pregnant — it was just the first one that the public knew about. 

In an interview for her concert docuseries "Live at Roseland: The Elements of 4," Beyoncé admitted she was pregnant when she performed four sold-out concerts in New York City in 2011 (via Us Weekly). She was convinced it was clear she had a baby on the way. The singer said, "The whole time I definitely was thinking, 'Everyone knows, everyone can see,'" before adding that it was a little more challenging to perform at the level she was used to. Beyoncé said, "When you're pregnant, it's a little bit harder to breathe, so it was hard doing all the choreography and singing at the same time."

The queen of pop repeated the feat in 2017 when she performed pregnant yet again. This time around, Beyoncé was heavily pregnant with twins Sir and Rumi, and still delivered a powerful performance at the Grammys. 

Cardi B confirmed her pregnancy on SNL

In 2018, Cardi B appeared on "Saturday Night Live" and used the appearance as an opportunity to reveal major news: she and Offset were expecting their first child together. While there had been whispers that the singer was pregnant, nothing was confirmed until Cardi debuted her baby bump on the television show.

Cardi performed her song "Be Careful" live on air, pregnancy and all. The performance came a few months after Offset had denied that the singer was pregnant, and Cardi herself had recently defended her right to privacy in an interview with Ebro Darden on Apple Music (via YouTube). She told Darden, "Certain things, to me, it has to be private. ... You cannot invade my privacy. I'm not a damn animal at the zoo that you just could see everything. No!" 

Cardi and Offset got engaged in 2017, and the singer and rapper had to deal with pregnancy rumors at the time of their engagement, too. 

Ali Wong delivered her comedy special while seven months pregnant

Performing while pregnant isn't only limited to musical artists and singers, as comedian Ali Wong proved when she delivered her one-hour comedy special "Baby Cobra" while seven months pregnant. Wong admitted to Elle that she was a little nervous about performing the show while pregnant, and especially about approaching the people she works with about taking maternity leave, but felt that filming the comedy special while expecting set a precedent for other mothers and expecting people.

Wong said, "I'm lucky because my boss, the showrunner at 'Fresh Off the Boat,' was really cool about me taking time off, but I was still nervous about having that 'maternity leave' conversation. Every woman is. [And] I had so much anxiety about my stand-up career taking a big hit, so I wanted to use my pregnancy as a source of power and turn it into a weapon instead of a weakness."

Wong also told the outlet that she purposefully left some jokes about pregnancy and even miscarriage in her set, despite the difficult nature of the latter topic. As she explained, she felt that it could help other women to know that she's experienced the same thing they have, even when it's something difficult.

Kelly Clarkson announced her second pregnancy at a concert

Kelly Clarkson was on her 2015 "Piece by Piece" tour when she decided to go all out and surprise her fans in a big way. Clarkson told her Los Angeles audience that she was expecting her second child with her now ex-husband Brandon Blackstock. Clarkson then admitted that she was struggling to get through the song the tour was named after, especially since the song is about both her father and Blackstock. She added, "I'd like to apologize to my husband. That was not planned. I just didn't want you to think I was crazy or something. Honestly, I'm just so hormonal today" (via Entertainment Weekly).

The Crypto.com Arena (which was then known as the Staples Center) was thrilled with the announcement and noted on Twitter that this was a first for them, too. The social media team for the arena tweeted, "We think that is a first for an artist to announce that she is pregnant during a show from our stage!"

Clarkson gave birth the following year on April 12, 2016. The baby boy, whom she and Blackstock named Remington Alexander, joined big sister River Rose.

Alicia Keys wowed audiences a month before giving birth

Alicia Keys is another powerhouse woman and mom who performed while pregnant — and in her case, Keys was due to give birth a month after she performed at the MTV Europe Music Awards in 2014. At the time, Keys was pregnant with her second child with husband Swizz Beats, and she appeared to have no problem delivering her song "We Are Here" and presenting an award to Ariana Grande. 

Keys was happy to discuss her pregnancy ahead of the baby's arrival, and in an interview with Vibe, she admitted that her second wasn't as easy as her first. She told the outlet, "I felt more tired, more kind of sick than I was the first time, but overall I feel more confident and comfortable. The first time I'd be freaking out like, 'The music's too loud, it's going to hurt the baby,' stuff like that."

Keys and Swizz welcomed their second baby at the end of 2014 when their son, Genesis Ali Dean, arrived. The pair each socialed a photo of an imprint of their baby boy's feet, along with the details of his birth.

Ciara had no problem performing at a Grammy Awards party in 2014

In 2014, singer Ciara proved that she can keep up with the best of them when she performed at a Grammys after-party while pregnant. The singer had confirmed her pregnancy just ahead of the award show when she revealed that she and the rapper Future were going to be parents. The two had previously announced their engagement in October 2013. Their publicist, Chris Chambers, told People, "Future surprised Ciara with an engagement ring this weekend, also her birthday weekend, in New York City."

Ciara gave birth to the pair's son on May 19, 2014, and revealed that they named the baby Future Zahir Wilburn. 

The singer told Us Weekly that they didn't struggle when coming up with a first name for their son. As Ciara put it, "It was kind of easy. But the middle name was a little hard for me. I went with what felt right in my soul and my gut. I didn't second-guess it." 

Mariah Carey performed her hits while pregnant with twins

Mariah Carey and then-husband Nick Cannon welcomed their twins in April 2011. Carey had no problem belting out hit after hit when she performed while pregnant in the TNT special "Christmas in Washington 2010." The concert was attended by President Barack Obama, his wife Michelle Obama, and his daughters, Sasha and Malia. 

Moroccan and Monroe Carey were born on their parents' fourth wedding anniversary. Cannon later shared that he was so worked up about the impending arrival of the babies that he went to the wrong part of the hospital. According to Billboard, the family listened to Carey's song "We Belong Together" after the twins arrived.

Months after giving birth, Carey revealed that she had no plans to have more children. While speaking to Access Hollywood in November 2011, she commented, "I don't think we would try for that ever again. I really don't know if I can make it through after what I went through. It was really tough."

M.I.A. had contractions while she performed at the 2009 Grammys

M.I.A. joined Jay-Z, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, and T.I. at the 2009 Grammys to perform their song "Swagga Like Us" even though she was due to give birth soon — and she was actively experiencing contractions while performing. Jack Sussman, the head executive behind the Grammys that year, told MTV that the singer began experiencing contractions around 8:00 p.m. that night as the show began, and he asked if she could go for two hours until 10:00 p.m.

M.I.A. readily agreed, and the Grammys made sure there was an ambulance waiting for her in case she went into labor while at the show. On top of that, her then-fiance Benjamin Bronfman was backstage timing the singer's contractions to make sure she didn't deliver their baby. 

M.I.A. gave birth to the pair's son just a few days later. She shared the news on her Myspace, where she explained that she had wanted to party after the Grammys but was happy she didn't. As she wrote, "I coulda easily gone out, but I went home instead. Lucky I did!" (via The Guardian).

Amy Poehler kept working at SNL throughout her pregnancy

Comedian and actor Amy Poehler also knows a thing or two about performing while pregnant. When she was expecting her first child in 2008, she decided to continue showing up onstage in "Saturday Night Live" week after week, all the way to the last month of her pregnancy.

Poehler later wrote about the decision in her memoir, excerpted in Vulture, detailing that it wasn't nearly as easy to pull off this feat as some might think. As Poehler pointed out in her book, pretending to be pregnant in a movie, an episode of a show, or a comedy skit is one type of experience, but actually being pregnant in those situations is a different beast. 

Poehler shared that the first couple of weeks of her pregnancy with her son Archie were "a really magical time" because no one else knew. Eventually, she had to tell people at work, and then the world. As she put it, "I was halfway through my seventh season at 'SNL,' and no one really noticed my nausea or extreme tiredness. That was par for the course at a job that made you stay up all night long and eat cold mozzarella sticks you had to buy yourself."

Gwen Stefani announced her pregnancy while on tour

Gwen Stefani was gleeful when she announced to a 2005 crowd that she and then-husband Gavin Rossdale were expecting their first baby. Stefani shared the news on the last stop of her tour, when she asked the crowd to make sure the baby could hear them sing. Stefani called out, "I want you to say it loud enough so the baby hears it" (via People).

The crowd was thrilled with the news, and Stefani added that one door was closing for her as another opened. "This is the end of a huge chapter for me," she said before she revealed that a tour wasn't originally in the stars for her. "I feel totally relieved. I feel so sad. I wasn't even going to go on tour, but I just had to sing my songs and have you sing them back to me one more time."

At the time, Stefani and Rossdale had been married for three years. The pair tied the knot in 2002 and had two weddings, one in Rossdale's native England and a second in Stefani's home of Los Angeles. Their child Kingston James McGregor Rossdale was born on May 26, 2006.

Christina Aguilera performed while pregnant with both of her kids

Christina Aguilera is certainly no stranger to performing while pregnant. The singer was pregnant with her first child, son Max Liron Bratman, when she was on tour to promote her album "Back to Basics." Aguilera later told Marie Claire that the pregnancy was unplanned but was a very welcome surprise, although she and her then-husband Jordan Bratman planned to try for a baby after the tour was over.

As she told the outlet, "I had gone off the pill to prepare my body, because I didn't know how much time it would take. You've heard it takes some time — except with 'power egg' and 'super sperm' here ... I'm like, 'Oh, my God, can you believe it just happened?'" Max was born in January 2008.

Aguilera was pregnant with her second child, daughter Summer Rain Rutler, when she performed at Wango Tango in 2014. She gave birth to her daughter in August 2014 in Los Angeles, days after she shared that she'd been in the recording studio throughout her pregnancy.