For Lara Carpenter-Beck, the arrival of her first baby is a massive moment. Her baby bump swelled to 55 inches, she piled on 6st 9lb, shot up five dress sizes…and even feared she would be crushed by the weight when she lay on her back. ‘At just 12 weeks people were asking me when I was due – I was that big,’ the 29-year-old artist said yesterday. ‘And my bump just kept growing and growing. ‘It was my first pregnancy so I had no idea what to expect but I knew it wasn’t normal to grow at the rate I was.’
Average weight gain in pregnancy, inclusive of the baby, the fluid around it and the enlargement of the womb, is between one-and-a-half and two stone. Mrs Carpenter-Beck is 5ft7in and a size 12. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes – which occurs when the body fails to produce insulin and is not linked to obesity – in 2011 a week before marrying property agent husband Chris, 38.
She knew that diabetes sufferers are prone to gaining weight in pregnancy but even so was shocked at just how big she became as she was careful about her portion sizes. At 32 weeks, a nurse told her that her baby already weighed 6lb – not far off the average weight of a full-term baby (7lb 6oz for girls) even though she was still eight weeks away from her due date.
‘It was really hard carrying around all of the weight when I wasn’t used to it,’ she said. ‘Even sleeping was a problem and 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.’
At 36 weeks she weighed 18st and had to wear size 22 clothes because normal maternity wear would not fit around her huge bump, which then measured 55 inches in circumference. When her waters suddenly broke she was rushed into hospital for a C-section. She and her husband were relieved when daughter Savannah was born healthy – at a bouncing 9lb 5oz.
Mrs Carpenter-Beck, from Bristol, said she worried about regaining her figure but lost the weight in a year with the help of Slimming World. She shed a stone in the first week after the birth and another in the second. She added: ‘I couldn’t believe how big I became, but it hasn’t put me off having another one. It’s all worth it to have a healthy baby.’