By James Hibberd
Updated April 26, 2012 at 12:17 PM EDT
Richard Gregorio/TLC

Pregnancy, weight issues and celebrities are the Holy Trinity of best-selling magazine cover topics.

TLC’s new reality experiment will fuse two out of three.

The network is set to unveil Obese & Expecting, about four moms-to-be who are morbidly overweight. The project will chronicle their health crises, weight gain and relationship struggles as they strive to deliver healthy babies. According to the upcoming announcement, “These women are challenging the perception — and the odds — of obese pregnancies, as they become moms, no matter their size or complications.”

The network will launch Obese & Expecting as a one-hour special and potential backdoor series pilot next month. Many TLC shows (such as the hit Extreme Couponing) first launch as stand-alone specials, then the network gauges audience reaction and decides whether to order a full season. We wouldn’t be surprised if this concept, at the very least, received a fair amount of pre-launch publicity (the show’s original working title, by the way, was the MTV-inspired My Supersize Pregnancy, though we would have gone with, say, 600 & Pregnant).

Obese & Expecting will lead into another new pregnancy-related TLC project, Birth Moms, which follows three women living at a Utah adoption center who are struggling with the difficult decision whether to give up their babies to another family. The hour will follow the woman meeting with prospective adoptive parents leading up to the moment when each must finally decide who will raise their child.

TLC has found plenty of success chronicling unusual American families that make provocative family planning or child-upbringing choices, from the runways of Toddlers & Tiaras, to super-sized families like 19 Kids and Counting to the polygamy docu-soap Sister Wives.

Obese & Expecting and Birth Moms will debut May 17 at 9 and 10 p.m., respectively.

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