Anna Bates is famed for giving birth to not only the heaviest, but longest, baby ever, and her story is both intriguing and heartbreaking.

A giantess, the Canadian woman was born to average sized parents, but went on to become one of the world’s tallest women. She worked with P.T. Barnum, almost dying in a fire in his museum, and gave birth to the largest baby in history … only to lose him just days later.

Anna was born in Canada in 1846, the third of 13 children – weighing 16 pounds (7.26kg). All of her siblings were average in height, but Anna grew much quicker than her brothers and sisters. At just four-years-old she was already 4ft 6in (137cm) and weighed more than 40kg.

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By Unknown photographer – Houghton Library, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=65952112


Here’s a look at her growth rate as a child:

  • Six-years-old: 5ft 2in (157.48 centimetres)
  • 10 years-old: 6ft 1in (185 cm) tall, 203 pounds (93.07 kg).
  • 12 years-old: 6ft 5.25in (196.22 cm).
  • 15 years-old: 7ft (210 cm) tall.

By the time she was 18, Anna had reached her full height of 7 feet 11 inches (2.41 m). By all accounts Anna was very smart, with interests including music, theatre and literature.

When she was just 17-years-old Anna began working for P.T. Barnum, living in Barnum’s American Museum in New York City. And it was here that her story almost ended, In 1865, she almost lost her life when the museum was destroyed by fire. She was too large to flee using the windows, but after getting help she managed to escape.

Untitled design - 2023-07-26T132828.534
By Unknown author – Imgur https://imgur.com/t/the_more_you_know/Zk7ubYa, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=113764106


It was during her tours around the United States that Anna met her future husband, Martin Van Buren Bates, known as the Kentucky Giant. He was also an exceptionally tall person, and their marriage was a huge drawcard.

The couple eventually built a mansion, which included high doorways and ceilings to accomodate their tall frames. And eventually they went on to have children.

Untitled design (99)
By https://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/obf_images/24/bd/5ca37494f17058b3121771640fa0.jpgGallery: https://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/image/V0007376.htmlWellcome Collection gallery (2018-04-05): https://wellcomecollection.org/works/vabbg6mx CC-BY-4.0, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36431425


Their first child, a daughter, was born in 1972 and weighed 18 pounds (8.16kg), but she tragically died at birth.

In 1879 Anna gave birth to a baby boy, named Babe, who broke all baby birth weight and length records. He was (and still is) the largest newborn every born, weighing 23 pounds 9 ounces (10.7 kg) and nearly 30 inches in length (75 cm). But he survived just 11 hours, before passing away.

The couple continued touring before they settled on a farm. Anna died suddenly from heart failure in her sleep in 1888, just a day before she turned 42. The reason for her extraordinary height was never discovered.

Since the birth of Babe, there have been some very large babies born around the world, including a baby in England weighing 15lb 8oz (7kg), an Arizona baby weighing 6.3kg or 14 pounds and a Victorian baby weighing more than 12 pounds.

How big were your babies when they were born? Let us know in the comments below. 

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  • Very sad story. But whoops a bit of a typo in your story. You mentioned their first daughter was born in 1972.


  • How very sad. It seems to me whatever caused their incredible height must also have caused the babies dying so very young. I wonder if their big home still stands? ????


  • Wow my babies were just 2lb when born.


  • Anna was taller than me by the time she was 10! That puts it into perspective for me just how tall she was. Devastating to see they lost both of their babies :(


  • Very sad story. It doesn’t say why the babies died though.


  • This was an interesting article to read.
    It’s so sad their babies passed away at or shortly after birth. I can’t imagine two giant people would be having small babies!


  • Couldn’t imagine them having a small baby when they’re quite large themselves! That’s an incredible birth weight!


  • Wow… no surprise they had a large baby given the mum and dad were giants. Very sad both babies died within a few days of being born.


  • 10.7kg?!!! My daughter was 1.3kg (31 weeker) and didn’t even weigh this at 1! That’s insane!!!


  • I imagine she may have had some underlying health conditions – but very sad overall.


  • Wow this is an interesting read


  • How lovely she found a man of similar height to marry. Yet how tragic to lose her babies and to pass away so young.


  • Oh wow. Very interesting story with sad ending.
    My twins were only 2.4 and 2.5 kg at birth.


  • I’ve 2 cousins that are 2.15 mtr and an aunt who’s 2.05 all her kids are taller then her


  • Fascinating and sad story. Both parents must have passed on DNA for giantism that caused babies to die :(


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