Every year, birth photographers around the globe capture exquisite moments of the birthing experience. In some ways, the moments are so small ― a woman roaring through a contraction or the first time a mother locks eyes with her new baby. But in other ways, they are monumental. A few seconds or minutes pass and suddenly, families are forever changed.
Here, are 18 of the most moving birth images from 2017 from The International Association of Professional Birth Photographers.
They're nothing short of stunning.
1. This dramatic moment during a home water birth won Best in Category: Labor.
"Determination" is by Katie Mathis Photography.
2. This amazing capture of an amniotic sac breaking won Best in Category: Delivery.
"With a Splash" is by Elizabeth Farnsworth Photography.
3. This peaceful postbirth shot won Best in Category: Postpartum.
"Straight From Heaven" is by Natasha Hance of Birth Unscripted.
4. This stunning photo — featuring a strategically placed placenta — won Best in Category: Birth Details.
"Pieces of Me" is by Kourtnie Scholz of KEDocumentary.
5. And this unforgettable shot of a mom laboring en route to the hospital (hopefully they got there in time!) was named the first-place winner.
"Road to Deliverance" is by Jaydene Freund of Cradled Creations.
6. The contest's honorable mentions are unforgettable too — like this photo of the moment a baby entered the world via a water birth.
"Before the First Breath" is by Birth in Focus.
7. Or this one of a mom meeting her baby born via surrogate.
"Catching Her Baby, Born Via Surrogacy" by Leilani Rogers.
8. Look at this staggering shot of a baby being born via cesarean.
"Gentle Caesarean Birth" is by Belle Verdiglione Photography.
9. This photo of a mom's determination and grit is something special.
"She Believed She Could" is by Little Plum Photography.
10. This scary shot is of a baby with the umbilical cord wrapped around their face.
"Entangled In The cord That Ties Us" is by Cat Fancote of Birth Photography Perth.
11. And this photo captured something very rare — a baby born en caul (still fully inside the amniotic sac).
"En Caul, Posterior, Nuchal Hand Surprise Babe" is by KimBerly E. Photography.
12. This mom's joy in meeting her baby is off the charts.
"Joyful Finale" is by Elise Hurst Photography.
13. This photo captures the perspective of a little girl watching her little sibling enter the world (and probably learning a thing or two about biology in the process).
"Alondra´s Birth – Future Big Sister" is by Public Kiss Photography.
14. And this capture frames another little girl meeting her baby sister for the first time.
"A Sister Is Born" is by Rebecca Coursey.
15. This shot beautifully captures the quiet reflection of a new mom.
"Birth of a Mother" is by Cat Fancote of Birth Photography Perth.
16. Also special? This photo of a mom and her twins.
"Three's Not A Crowd" is by Snap Life Photography.
17. Wow — this unforgettable shot shows a baby on the verge of entering the world.
"Approaching Life" is by Deborah Elenter.
18. And this lovely shot is a beautiful tribute to the bliss of new motherhood.
"Rapture" is by Katie Mathis Photography.
You can see all of the competition's entries here.
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