How many babies can one woman carry?

That’s a question I was asked more than once, in light of this week’s story about the birth of octuplets.

For the answer, I’ll refer to this article in Slate. The largest reported number of fetuses in a single womb is 15.

The limit is not so much the number of fetuses, but the combined size and weight. As Christopher Beam explains, “once the total weight of the babies inside reaches about 12 pounds, the uterus goes into labor. The greater the number of fetuses, the earlier the labor will occur.”

So there you have it. As an aside, I wonder if the mother will be the next celebrity multiples mother, a la Kate Gosselin, of Jon and Kate fame.