One woman’s baby bump was so large that strangers would ask her her due date just 12 weeks into her pregnancy. Right away, the expectant mom knew she must have been bigger than others in her situation. However, she had little idea of just how large she would grow.
Lara Carpenter-Beck lives in Bristol, England, with her husband Chris. There, Carpenter-Beck runs her own 3D life casting business while her partner works as a property agent. However, in 2013 the couple started their most important job to date.
That’s when Carpenter-Beck fell pregnant with the couple’s first child. She was no doubt excited about the prospect of welcoming a baby with her beloved husband. But just 12 weeks into her pregnancy, Carpenter-Beck discovered she was having a different experience to other expectant moms.
The 3D artist realized her bump was growing at an alarmingly fast rate. “At just 12 weeks people were asking me when I was due – I was that big,” Carpenter-Beck told the Daily Mail in 2014. “And my bump just kept growing and growing.”
Although Carpenter-Beck was a newbie to the motherhood experience, she knew that something was amiss. “It was my first pregnancy so I had no idea what to expect,” she said. “But I knew it wasn’t normal to grow at the rate I was.”
While Carpenter-Beck’s weight gain was unusual, there was a logical explanation behind it. In 2011, doctors had diagnosed her with type 1 diabetes. The condition occurs when the body doesn’t produce insulin. It causes blood sugar levels to surge but can also lead to excessive weight gain during pregnancy.
To control the effect her diabetes had on her pregnancy, Carpenter-Beck adopted some special measures. For example, she limited her portion sizes when eating. However, nothing seemed to stop her from piling on the pounds.
In fact, by the time she was 32 weeks into her pregnancy, her baby already weighed six pounds. To put this into perspective, the average newborn tips the scales at seven-and-a-half pounds. And worryingly, Carpenter-Beck still had eight weeks to go until her due date.
All the extra weight she was carrying caused some unexpected problems for Carpenter-Beck. “It was really hard carrying around all of the weight when I wasn’t used to it,” she revealed. “Even sleeping was a problem.”
Explaining the struggle she had finding a comfortable sleeping position each night, Carpenter-Beck added, “My bump was so big I couldn’t lie on my front, and when I lay on my back I felt like I was being crushed under the weight.”
By 36 weeks Carpenter-Beck’s weight had climbed to 18 stone. In addition, her baby bump had a 55-inch circumference. As a result, normal maternity wear no longer fitted her, and she had to opt for plus-sized clothing instead.
It was at this point that Carpenter-Beck’s body decided it could take pregnancy no longer. When her waters broke, doctors brought her in for a cesarean section. So the first-time mom soon delivered a healthy baby girl named Savannah, who weighed an impressive nine pounds and five ounces.
Of course, Carpenter-Beck and her husband were delighted to welcome their daughter. However, her sex came as quite a surprise to the couple. “Chris and I always assumed we were having a boy because my bump was so big, so it was a massive surprise to find out we had a girl,” Carpenter-Beck explained.
Nevertheless, the couple were head-over-heels in love with their bouncing baby. “She was a big baby and filled the weighing scales,” Carpenter-Beck recalled. “We were so happy she was healthy though, we could cope with the fact she was a bit bigger than most newborns.”
How much weight a woman will gain during pregnancy depends on several factors. Usually, though, a lady of average weight will put on between 25 and 35 pounds. Carpenter-Beck, however, gained much more than this.
By the end of her pregnancy, Carpenter-Beck had gained six stone and nine pounds in weight. She’d also jumped five dress sizes. As a result, the new mom feared she’d never regain her svelte, pre-baby figure again.
To aid her weight-loss journey, Carpenter-Beck joined the U.K.-based dieting organization Slimming World. And it didn’t take long for her to shift the pounds. In her first week, she dropped 14 pounds, only to follow it with another 14 pounds in her second week.
Within a year, Carpenter-Beck had returned to her pre-pregnancy weight and could fit into her old clothes once more. However, that didn’t stop her from expanding her wardrobe. “I am so pleased to finally be stepping back into my favorite high-street stores again. It’s wonderful,” she told the Daily Mirror in 2014.
Despite her experiences of pregnancy, Carpenter-Beck vowed her weight gain wouldn’t stop her from having more children. “I couldn’t believe how big I became, but it definitely hasn’t put me off having another one,” she said. “Even if I get bigger than last time.”
Since giving birth to Savannah, Carpenter-Beck and her husband, Chris, have welcomed another little girl called Indiana. It’s not known if she gained as much weight as she did with her first pregnancy. But even if she did Carpenter-Beck wouldn’t have cared. “It is all worth it to have a healthy baby,” she said.