Everything Pregnancy

These Award-Winning Photos Capture Childbirth in All Its Raw Beauty

You will be blown away by the photos awarded top honors in the 2016 International Association of Professional Birth Photographers Competition.

A mom roaring like a lion through the most intense surge of her labor. A baby being born, that. Very. Second. A peaceful moment after delivery, just mom and baby. These are the subjects of the photographs that won the top spots in the International Association of Professional Birth Photographers' 2016 Image of the Year Awards.

The first-place winner was Marijke Thoen Geboortefotografie for "Underwater birth, baby with gorgeous curly hair." This image is simply stunning, mostly because the baby in the water looks completely content.

best birth photo of 2016

The best in the category of labor is an incredibly raw photo that is so real, you can almost feel the mother's pain. The image was taken by Apple Blossom Families and it's aptly called "The Surge." Hear her roar!

best in labor photo 2016

Best in delivery went to "En-Caul Unassisted Twin Water Birth" by Birth Blessings Photography & Childbirth Services. As you can see, one twin was born in the amniotic sac, something you definitely don't see every day, especially since this is a home, water birth of multiples!

best delivery photo of 2016

Best in the postpartum category was awarded to Natalia Walth Photography. It's an image called "Where peace begins." And indeed it does. The calm after the storm is beautiful to behold. It's almost as if you can hear the mom's and baby's hearts telling one another, "SO glad to finally meet you."

best postpartum photo of 2016

Honorable mentions went to three brilliant photographers:

Love By Krista Evans Photography for "It calls to her both loudly and softly in song." This image quite simply showcases the pregnant body in all its naked, beautiful glory.

honorable mention birth photo 1

Angela Gallo – Untethered Beginning for The Birthing Woman for "Maternal Grace." Here we see a relaxed mama at the very moment of birth, with the baby's head crowning.

birth photo honorable mention 2

alexandra kayy photography for "in between two worlds." What's most remarkable about this photo is the expression on the baby's face: "This is the world?!?"

birth photo honorable mention 3

Are you as deeply moved as I am by these photos? Just wow. Birth is amazing. Point proven.

Which image moved you most?

Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Follow her on Twitter (@Spitupnsuburbs), where she chronicles her love of exercising and drinking coffee, but never simultaneously.