World's smallest mother dies at 44

Stacey Herald and her husband Wil.
Stacey Herald and her husband Wil. Photo credit: Stacey Herald / Facebook

The world's smallest mother has died at 44.

US woman Stacey Herald had osteogenisis imperfecta, a rare condition which stunted her growth and affected her bones and lungs, meaning she used a wheelchair for most of her life.

At just 0.71m-tall, the Kentucky native was the shortest woman in the world to bear children, as certified by the Guinness World Records.

She and husband Wil had three children together, despite doctors advising against her becoming pregnant. Medical professionals warned that because her pelvis and body were so much smaller than the average woman's, a foetus could crush her lungs and heart if it grew too big.

Despite these warnings, Ms Herald gave birth to her first child, Kateri, in 2007. She went on to have two more children: Makaya, who was born in 2008, and her only son Malachi, who was born in 2010.

She was given a 50/50 chance of passing her genetic disorder on to her children. Of the three, only Makaya did not inherit osteogenisis imperfect, and was already 30cm taller than her mother by the time she was two.

Mrs Herald breastfed her son and shared childcare responsibilities with her husband, using a custom-built platform so that she could bathe and change them from her wheelchair. Her husband would look after the children at night when she became too tired.

On August 31 (local time), Mr Herald posted to Facebook that his wife had died in her sleep two days earlier. The vicar-in-training asked that friends of the family prayed for the couple's three children, now aged 11, 10 and eight.

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