How Being Pregnant Affected Troian Bellisario's Role In Doula - Exclusive

Since "Pretty Little Liars" got canceled, the Freeform series' stars have gone on quite the roller coaster with their lives and careers — and in the best ways. Take Troian Bellisario. On the show, she portrayed Spencer Hastings, the smartest of the four teens being targeted by A, and she was able to outwit the anonymous assailant at many turns. (Bellisario also portrayed the final villain of the show, but that's a different story.)

Now, Bellisario is a mother and continues to act in powerful projects. As noted by her IMDb page, she most recently appeared in the TV movie "Ways & Means," but she's also appeared in "Where'd You Go, Bernadette," "Clara," "Feed," and more since "PLL" wrapped in 2017. Her latest project, "Doula," which is now on demand and on digital, sees her playing Deb, a pregnant woman who goes on an emotional, spiritual journey following the death of her doula. Her new doula following this tragedy is a man, with the film subverting gender norms for the field.

Recently, we sat down to chat with Bellisario and "Doula" director Cheryl Nichols, and the former revealed in an exclusive interview with The List how being pregnant and being a mother influenced her role in the film.

Troian Bellisario was pregnant while filming Doula

Troian Bellisario brings nuance and pure emotion to her roles, and this includes playing a woman who's rapidly nearing her due date but is thrown for a tizzy when her doula suddenly dies. When asked about how being a mother affected her portrayal of this character, the star told The List, "It helped me immensely. I was also pregnant while playing a pregnant woman, so it helped that I had a real bun in the oven the whole time I was playing somebody with a bun in the oven." 

"It grounded me and it was a wonderful experience because it allowed me to be myself during this filmmaking, which is that I did not, during both of my pregnancies, feel like a glowing goddess of fertility," she continued. "I felt much more body, let's say that."

What's more, Bellisario credits director Cheryl Nichols with giving her the space to liven up her character even more. "The best thing about having Cheryl — who is not only a fantastic director but a fantastic friend — at the helm of this film was that she was so encouraging of allowing me to be any way that I felt in this film, as long as it was real, truthful, authentic," Bellisario explained. "She said, 'Let's not make this glossy and beautiful. Let's show them what it's really like.' So that's what we did."

Ultimately, "Doula" is a very real look at motherhood, pregnancy, and overall humanity, and it's one that Bellisario fans especially don't want to miss.

"Doula" is now available on demand and on digital.