A history of record-breaking births: From the heaviest baby to most prolific mother ever

By Connie Suggitt
childbirth records

Childbirth is one of the most amazing human feats possible - but imagine giving birth to the heaviest baby ever, or eight babies at once!

We've compiled a list from our archives to give you a history of incredible record-breaking childbirths and babies. 

1782 - Most prolific mother ever

What's the most children one person has had? 

This question is frequently asked at Guinness World Records and the answer dates to the 1800s. 

The greatest officially recorded number of children born to one mother is 69. Her name is unknown, but we know she was the first wife of Feodor Vassilyev (b. 1707–c.1782), a peasant from Shuya, Russia.

She gave birth to 16 pairs of twins, seven sets of triplets and four sets of quadruplets.

The case was reported to Moscow by the Monastery of Nikolsk on 27 Feb 1782, which had recorded every birth. It is noted that, by this time, only two of the children who were born in the period c. 1725–65 failed to survive their infancy.

Feodor Vassilyev went on to marry someone else and father 18 more children. 

In Saint Petersburg Panorama, Bashutski, 1834, the author noted that:

"In the day of 27 February 1782, the list from Nikolskiy monastery came to Moscow containing the information that a peasant of the Shuya district, Feodor Vassilyev, married twice, had 87 children.”

Anna Haining Bates at her Wedding

1846 - Heaviest birth and longest baby

There are many stories about babies who weighed 14 lb at birth - but what about a whopping 22 lb? 

That was the weight of a child born to Giantess Anna Bates (née Swan) (Canada, b. 6 August 1846; d. 5 August 1888).

Giantess Anna Bates, as her name may suggest, was a rather tall woman - 241.3 cm (7 ft 11 in) tall to be exact. 

Her husband, Martin Van Buren Bates, was born on 9 November 1837 and was reported to reach 7 ft 11 in, although was probably more likely 7 ft 9 in. 

She gave birth to a boy weighing 9.98 kg (22 lb) and measuring 71.12 cm (28 in) at her home in Seville, Ohio, USA, on 19 January 1879, breaking the record for both heaviest birth and longest baby.

The baby, who was not officially named but just referred to as "Babe", sadly died just 11 hours later.

It was also reported that a baby who weighed 10.2 kg (22 lb 8 oz) was born to to Sig. Carmelina Fedele (Italy) at Aversa, Italy in September 1955, although this claim was insufficiently documented.

Other heaviest baby records:

  • Heaviest twins - combined weight of 12.58 kg (27 lb 12 oz), born to Mary Ann Haskin (USA), of Fort Smith, Arkansas, USA on 20 February 1924.
  • Heaviest triplets at birth (current) - combined weight of 10.33 kg (22 lb 12.6 oz). Evan Patrick, Aiden Cole and Lilly Kathryn (all USA) were born to Michelle Lee Wilson on 29 July 2003 at Englewood, Colorado, USA. 
  • Heaviest triplets ever - combined weight of 10.9 kg (24 lb), born to Mary McDermott (UK) on 18 November 1914.
  • Heaviest quadruplet birth - combined weight of  10.426kg (22 lb 15.75 oz). Two girls and two boys were born to Tina Saunders (UK) at St Peters Hospital, Chertsey, Surrey on 7 February 1989.

most alternate boy girl births in one family

1975 - Most consecutive girl/boy births in a family

This astonishing record was achieved by the Ewers family (USA) in Chicago, Illinois, USA, as verified on 23 February 2018, with 11 consecutive girl/boy births in a family.

The eleven children were born to Thomas and Katherine Ewers. 

The record-breaking sequence is as follows: 

  • Thomas B. Ewers (1955)
  • Marie Martin (1957)
  • David Ewers (1958)
  • Monica Jones (1960)
  • Michael Ewers (1961)
  • Paula Penn (1963)
  • James Ewers (1965)
  • Jane Christensen (1968)
  • Daniel Ewers (1970)
  • Katherine F. Ewers (1972)
  • William Ewers (1975)

1978 - First test tube baby

The term "test tube baby" refers to the process of medical intervention in which the egg is fertilised outside of the body, and then implanted into the uterus. This is known as in vitro fertilisation (IVF).

The first baby to be born using this process was Louise Brown (UK), who was externally conceived on 10 November 1977.

She was delivered by Caesarean section from 31-year-old Lesley Brown (UK), in Oldham General Hospital, Lancashire, UK at 11.47pm on 25 July 1978.

She weighed 2.6 kg  (5 lb 12 oz). 

This manner of conceiving was revolutionary and has allowed many more people to have children who may otherwise not have been able to. 

1987 - Most premature baby

James Elgin Gill was born to Brenda and James Gill (both Canada), on 20 May 1987 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 128 days premature and weighing 624 g (1 lb 6 oz).

The normal human gestation period is 280 days (40 weeks).

His parents were told that he had no chance of survival when he was born weighing less than the average human heart and measuring 31.75 cm (12.5 in) long. 

Much of his body was still developing; including his skin, hands, ears and feet, with his eyes still fused shut. However,  James survived, defying all odds. 

Kambry and Keeley Ewoldt

  • Most premature twins - Kambry and Keeley Ewoldt (both USA), were born on 24 November 2018 at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics in Iowa City, USA, at a gestational age of 22 weeks 1 day, or 155 days. This meant they were 125 days premature- the estimated date of delivery for the twins had been 29 March 2019.

2002 - Shortest baby 

Nisa Juarez (USA) was born on 20 July 2002 measuring just 24 cm (9.44 in) long and weighing just 320 g (11.3 oz).

She was born 108 day premature at the Children's Hospital and Clinic, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, and discharged from hospital months later on 6 December 2002.

Shortest woman to give birth with her husband and two children

2006 - Shortest female to give birth

Stacey Herald (USA) was just 72.39 cm (28.5 in) tall when she gave birth for the first time.  

She delivered her first child, a girl names Keteri, in Dry Ridge, Kentucky, USA, on 21 October 2006. She delivered her second baby girl, Makya, on 1 January 2008. 

She then gave birth to her third child, a boy named Malachi, in November 2009. 

Sadly, Stacey passed away in 2018 at the age of 44. 

oldest woman to give birth

2006 - Oldest person to give birth 

The oldest person to give birth is Maria del Carmen Bousada Lara (Spain, b. 5 January 1940), who gave birth by caesarean section to twin boys, Christian and Pau, aged 66 years 358 days at the Sant Pau hospital, Barcelona, Spain on 29 December 2006. This also makes her the oldest person to give birth to twins

Maria received IVF treatment in America (by saying she was 55 years old), after being rejected for treatment in Spain.

Sadly, Maria passed away on Saturday 11 July 2009 after being diagnosed with cancer.

Other oldest to give birth records: 

  • Oldest mother to conceive naturally - Dawn Brooke (UK), aged 59. She gave birth to a son by Caesarian section on 20 August 1997.
  • Oldest woman to give birth to her grandchildren - Jacilyn Dalenberg (USA), aged 56. She acted as surrogate mother for her daughter, Kim Coseno (USA), and carried and then delivered her own grandchildren - three girls, on 11 October 2008.

2007 - Heaviest woman to give birth 

Donna Simpson of New Jersey, USA, weighed 532 lb (241 kg; 38 st) when she gave birth to daughter Jacqueline Nicole Gouamba in February 2007. Jacqueline weighed 8 lb and 14 oz. 

Donna gave birth at Akron City Hospital located at West Market Street in Akron, Ohio. The delivery was performed by Doctor Brian Josephs, assisted by some 30 medical professionals.

2009 - Most children delivered at a single birth to survive

Nadya Suleman (USA) claimed headlines across the world on 26 January 2009 when she gave birth to six boys and two girls at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Bellflower, California, USA. 

The babies were conceived with the aid of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatment and were nine weeks premature when they were delivered by Caesarean section.

The Suleman octuplets are only the second full set of octuplets to be born alive in the United States and, one week after their birth, surpassed the previous worldwide survival rate for a complete set of octuplets set by the Chukwu octuplets in 1998. 

Nadya, who was dubbed "Octomom" by the media, already had six children before her octuplets, who were also conceived via IVF. 

Five foetuses were evident after just one month and when offered the option of selective reduction, Suleman declined.

Suleman told People Magazine, "I don't get much sleep, about two or three hours a night. But I'm continuing to move forward with my life and trying to be the best mother I can be."

The octuplets are now in sixth grade. 

2013 - Youngest open heart surgery patient

The youngest open heart surgery patient is Tucker Roussin (USA, b. 9 May 2013), who's mother Katie Rice was at 24 weeks gestation when they had the operation, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, in February 2013.

Tucker went on to be carried to 37 weeks gestation and has had no more problems with his heart.

2018 - Lightest birth

The lowest birth weight recorded for a surviving infant, of which there is definitive evidence, is 245 g (8.6 ounces).

"Saybie" (USA; real name protected for privacy reasons), was delivered by emergency Caesarian section at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital in San Diego, California, USA, in December 2018 after a gestation of just 23 weeks 3 days. A full-term baby is born at 39–40 weeks gestation and typically weighs in the region of 2.7–4 kilograms (6–9 pounds).

Although the family preferred to remain anonymous, Saybie's weight was confirmed by staff at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital and the Tiniest Babies Registry. She is now living back home and has a full bill of health.

Dr Paul Wozniak, the physician who was part of Saybie’s resuscitation team after her birth, said: "I’ve attended the births of many micropreemies over the years, but Saybie’s birth was definitely unique. Based on her gestational age (23 weeks + 3 days) and, more importantly, her incredibly small size at birth, her prognosis was bleak, and we weren’t sure she would survive. It’s been an honor to have been a part of Saybie’s care team, and to have the privilege to watch her grow, thrive, and exceed all expectations. Saybie and her parents became, and will always be, part of our Sharp Mary Birch NICU family."

Other lightest birth records:

  • Lightest birth - twins -  847 g (1 lb 13.57 oz) combined, achieved by Hiba (580 g/1 lb 4.4 oz) and Rumaisa (260 g/9.17 oz) who were born to Mahajabeen Shaik (India) at Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, Illinois, USA, on 19 September 2004 at 25 weeks 6 days gestation by Cesarean section. Rumaisa took the record for the lightest birth ever for a surviving infant before Saybie.
  • Lightest birth - triplets - 1,314 g (2 lb 14.34 oz) combined, achieved by Alfie, Connor and Dylan Bateman (all UK) born at Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Portsmouth, UK, from 31 August to 1 September 2014. The triplets were born prematurely with Alfie weighing 420 g (14.81 oz), Connor 430 g (15.16 oz) and Dylan 464 g (1 lb 0.36 oz). 

Longest interval between births of triplets

2020 - Longest interval between births of triplets

The longest interval between births of triplets is 5 days 12 hr 34 min, achieved during the births of Cian, Declan and Rowan DeShane (USA), in Burlington, Vermont, USA, from 28 December 2019 to 2 January 2020. Cian was born at 10:40 on 28 December 2019. Declan and Rowan were then born five days later, at 23:11 and 23:14 respectively, on 2 January 2020.

This means the identical-sibling triplets were born in separate decades.

Other longest interval birth records: 

  • Longest interval between birth of twins - 90 days. Molly and Benjamin West, dizygotic (fraternal) twins born in Baltimore, Maryland, USA to parents Lesa and David West (all USA) on 1 January and 30 March 1996. Molly was born three months premature on New Year's Day but doctors stopped Lesa's contractions in order that she could carry David for as long as possible.
  • Longest interval between birth of quadruplets - 9 days. Jackie Iverson (Canada) of Saskatoon, Canada gave birth normally to a boy Christopher, on 21 November 1993, a girl Alexandra, on 29 November 1993 and was delivered of another boy and girl, Matthew and Sarah, (by Caesarean) on 30 November 1993. Joint holder Seah Siew Hwee (Singapore), gave birth to her first quadruplet (a boy) on 14 September 2004. The remaining three quadruplets (all girls) were delivered by Caesarean section on 23 September 2004, nine days 1 hr 53 mins later.