Heaviest birth
Anna Haining Bates, born Anna Haining Swan
United States ()

Giantess Anna Bates (née Swan) (Canada, b. 6 August 1846; d. 5 August 1888), who measured 241.3 cm (7 ft 11 in), gave birth to a boy weighing 9.98 kg (22 lb) at her home in Seville, Ohio, USA, on 19 January 1879.

Measuring 71.12 centimetres (28 in), it was also the longest baby ever recorded.

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

It has been reported that when Anna's waters broke, she lost an estimated six gallons of fluid.

Martin van Buren Bates (USA, 1837–1919), the father of the child wrote: “He was 28” tall, weighed 22 lbs and was perfect in every respect. He looked at birth like an ordinary child of six months”.

At 17 years old, Anna Haining Swan, the daughter of Scottish immigrants to Nova Scotia, measured 241.3 cm (7 ft 11 in) tall.

Anna first met Martin, who stood at 236.22 cm (7 ft 9 in) tall, as a result of their respective sideshow careers. They both earned fame for their height and travelled in circus troupes both separately and as a pair.

After a two year relationship on 17 June 1871, Anna married Martin in London in front of a huge crowd of onlookers.

It has been reported that a Daily Telegraph article published at the time of the wedding commented: "A man may get used to being eight feet high," it told readers. "But to be eight feet high and to be stared at by a devout congregation of idlers on the occasion of marrying a lady who is eight feet high also is a trying conjunction of matters. However, Captain Bates got through his difficulties tolerably well".

The couple had a combined height of a record 477.52 cm (15 ft 8 in) and soon became billing themselves as "The Tallest Couple Alive".

To this day, the pair retains the official Guinness World Records title as the tallest married couple ever.

Prior to the record-setting birth in 1879, eight years after the wedding, the couple had already lost a baby girl who was born on 19 May 1872, but devastatingly died at birth.

Anna was the third child of Alexander Swan and Ann Swan (née Graham). Alexander had emigrated from Dumfriesshire, Scotland, to the Millbrook section of the community of New Annan, near the village of Tatamagouche, in the county of Colchester, Nova Scotia, Canada. Ann Graham (married Swan) was born and lived in New Annan. They had a family of 13 children. The first two lived for a very short time, so their third child, Anna, is often considered the eldest.

There are other extraordinary cases of heavy births:

  • Although insufficiently documented, it was reported that the heaviest baby born to a healthy mother was a boy weighing 10.2 kg (22 lb 8 oz) who was born to Sig. Carmelina Fedele (Italy) at Aversa, Italy in September 1955.
  • Christina Samane (South Africa) also gave birth to a 10.2 kg (22 lb 8 oz) child, but this was later disqualified, as the child suffered from Weaver syndrome, which causes excessive growth in children due to abnormalities in parental genes.
  • It was reported that Francisca Ramos dos Santos (Brazil) gave birth by caesarean section to her son Ademilton who weighed in at 7.57 kg (16 lb 11.02 oz) on 18 January 2005 in Salvador, Brazil.
  • On 3 June 1961, it was reported that a boy weighing 11 kg (24 lb 4 oz) was born to Mrs Sadaat Cor (Turkey). It was revealed in January 1978 however that, although relayed by a major news agency, no reliance can be placed on this report.

Image: Wikimedia Commons