13 powerful photos that show the pain and joy of childbirth

4 min

Childbirth is an amazing process. But unless you’ve witnessed or experienced it, you might not realize just how powerful the moment can be. That’s why there are birth photos, which show people what the process is like — and prove that there is no one way for a woman to give birth.

To celebrate birth and the photographers that capture it, the International Association of Professional Birth Photographers (IAPBP)awards photographers annually through their Image of the Year Competition.

“It’s not just about capturing the birth, it’s about capturing the emotional connection,” Kelly Richman, a birth photographer and the owner of Lifetime of Clicks Photography, told INSIDER.

Tammy Karin, another photographer who participated in the competition and the owner of Little Leapling Photography, told INSIDER that birth photography shows that birth is a messy process that doesn’t always go as planned. “That’s why it’s beautiful,” she told INSIDER.

Here are 13 photos that were entered in IAPBP Image of the Year Competition that show the beauty, chaos, and joy of birth.


1. A girl watches her sibling enter the world.

Some parents have their children present to welcome new siblings into the world.

This photo, called “Stunning siblings first encounter,” won first place in the 2018 Image of the Year Competition.


2. A couple shares an emotional kiss after the birth of their child.

Birth is an emotional event for both parents.

Richman, the photographer of this image, told INSIDER that she loves being able to capture how mothers feel during and after birth. “I love seeing that change in people and giving mothers the opportunity to look back on this moment in their lives.”


3. Not all births take place in delivery rooms.

A nurse was prepared when this mother didn’t make it to the delivery room.

Karin, the photographer of this image, told INSIDER that a lot goes into birth photography that many people don’t realize.

“You have to be super flexible and you’re always on-call,” Karin said.

She pointed out that it helps to know about her client’s past births, their due date, how their prenatal appointments go, and if they have any idea that they might go into labor early.

This photo, called “Nurse Linda” was the perfect example of how being prepared pays off. The photo was awarded an honorable mention.


4. Some women choose to give birth in water.

Water births can provide a more soothing labor environment for some women, according to the American Pregnancy Association.

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