Emmerdale actress Natalie Anderson, who plays the soap's barmaid Alicia, is to have a pint-sized addition - after revealing she is pregnant.

The 30-year-old star has announced she is four-and-a-half months pregnant with her first child, during an interview with Hello! magazine.

The Woolpack pint-puller said she now has the challenge of concealing her bump on-screen until she stops working in June. "I think there'll be a lot of standing around the bar and carrying huge handbags," she said.

Natalie - a nominee for sexiest actress at the British Soap Awards - said few people had noticed she was expecting so far.

"We've not been going to many functions and I've been disguising it quite a lot," she told Hello!.

She and husband James Shepherd are due to become parents in August and have only told close family and friends so far.

They were both moved to tears when she had the first scan - and are eager to learn the sex of the child at the next one.

"I cried and James had a tear in his eye," she said of the first scan. "It was incredible to see the tiny hands and feet, the face and this little thing dancing away. We want to know who we're talking to, so we can have nice little conversations."

They are now aiming to extend their home to cope with their growing family and house Natalie's shoe collection, which currently lives in the soon-to-be nursery room.

The actress said she believed her late grandfather - who died last year - is helping her through the pregnancy. "He inspired me. If I'm feeling nervous about the baby, anxious that things will be all right, I feel him around me. It's a lovely feeling, as though I have someone watching over me," she said.