These Are the Most Breathtaking Birth Photos of 2016

Photo: KEDocumentaryThe International Association of Professional Birth Photographers has released the winners of the 2017 Image of the Year competition, and the photos are breathtaking.  In fact, each image is awesome in the truest sense of the word — a single magical and deeply intimate moment in a woman’s labor and delivery.

The judges did not have an easy task – there were 649 stunning, heart-tugging photos to go through. In the end, they did a remarkable job. They selected the winners using a point system based on technicality, emotionality, and composition.

Related: Did This Mom Actually Photograph Her Child’s Birth?

The judging panel included an impressive list of midwives, an obstetrician, acclaimed childbirth educator Penny Simkin (The Birth Partner), leaders in the field of birth advocacy, and photographers. The celebrity factor was contributed by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein, producer and director of the award-winning documentary, ‘The Business of Being Born.’ (If you haven’t yet seen this, SEE IT.)

And, if you can’t get enough of the gloriousness of birth and the incredible raw power of women, check out the 21 Honorable Mentions from the 2017 competition as well as all of the submissions. I would tell you which ones to look out for, but the ones that speak to me (the father catching his daughter, all the glorious placentas!), are surely different than the ones that speak to you.

These are the winners of the 2017 Image of the Year Competition:

First Place: Road to Deliverance

Photo: Jaydene Freunde, Cradled Creations
Photo: Jaydene Freunde, Cradled Creations

 

Best in Category (Labor): Determination

Photo: Katie Mathis Photography
Photo: Katie Mathis Photography

 

Best in Category (Delivery): With A Splash

Photo: Elizabeth Farnsworth Photography
Photo: Elizabeth Farnsworth Photography

 

Best in Category (Postpartum): Straight From Heaven

Photo: Birth Unscripted
Photo: Birth Unscripted

 

Best in Category (Birth Details): Pieces of Me

Photo: KEDocumentary
Photo: KEDocumentary

 

A Selection of Honorable Mentions

Before the First Breath, Birth in Focus
Before the First Breath (Birth in Focus)

 

Gentle Caesarean Birth (Belle Verdiglione Photography)
Gentle Caesarean Birth (Belle Verdiglione Photography)

 

Intended mother catches her baby born via surrogacy (Leilani Rogers, Photographer)
Intended mother catches her baby born via surrogacy (Leilani Rogers, Photographer)

 

505-nacimiento-de-alondra-wm
Alondra’s Birth – Future Big Sister (Public Kiss Photography)

 

516-labor-iapbp-wm
she believed she could (Little Plum Photography, by Stephanie Entin)

10 thoughts on “These Are the Most Breathtaking Birth Photos of 2016”

  1. Beautiful & Profound! I also wish there was greater representation of mothers of color… a little monochromatic this year, judges!

    1. Dani Lightheart:
      The judges selected the best photos from among those entered in the competition based on artistry skill and visual impact. I don’t think the nationality of the subjects entered in to the minds of the judges as they selected the best photos, nor should it have. The competition wasn’t about multicultural representation; it was about the birth experience which transcends nationality.

      And if you can tell what nationality a woman is by viewing a black and white photograph of her derrière you’ve got a better eye than most of us.

      1. Sure the judges may not have choose winners based on race but that does not eliminate a very real unconscious bias. Yes all the photos were beautiful but to say they were the best is relative…another reason why a diverse judging panel is important. A persons desire to see diversity in the photos shouldn’t make anyone uncomfortable.

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