The International Association of Professional Birth Photographers (IAPBP) has announced the winners of their 2018 image contest, and the powerful photos that they have judged to be the winners show the raw beauty and drama of childbirth, as well as the sheer joy that follows.

Last year's contest was extremely high in quality and emotion, and this year the competition delivers once again. Each image tells a story of pain, perseverance, relief and joy. They document a new human's first moments of life, and a family's first moment of unity. You can see the full list of winners here.

For a little background on birth photography we spoke to one of the finalists of the competition, Tammy Karin of Little Leapling Photography (Her photo is called 'Nurse Linda'). “This annual contest is a huge part of not just bringing awareness to a genre of photography, but it plays a major role in this growing movement toward empowering women, improving our birth options, as well as inspiring us to dig deeper and fight for the types of births that are safest and best suited for us and our families,” she told Bored Panda. ­

It's an incredibly difficult genre and most of us photographers get burned out from all of the on-call time. Few realize the level of commitment needed in order to not just show up at the right time, but to insert ourselves into the typically intimate environment without having any negative impact on the mother's progress. It's not just about standing in the right place at the right time; we must truly understand and respect the birth process.”

The genre is growing as more women become aware of it, but Tammy is aware that there is still a certain stigma and taboo around the graphic nature of many images. “I know most people in our culture are still not comfortable with it,” she told us. “But, birth photographers are not just going for shock and awe when they share detailed images of a baby emerging. I'd love to join that push for normalizing the sharing of those kinds of powerful captures. In general, our culture has a tendency to sexualize everything and inject fear into the birth process.”

As such, we must warn you that many of the photos below are intense and graphic, so reader discretion is advised. While one day birth photography will undoubtedly become more mainstream and accepted, we are not quite there yet. Scroll down below to see these powerful and unique images, and let us know what you think in the comments.

More info: IAPBB

#1 First Place Winner: Stunning Siblings First Encounter

First Place Winner: Stunning Siblings First Encounter

Marijke Thoen Birthphotography Report

Nki Segrt 8 months ago

I know them. 😉 Great detail: the gynecologist is her father, and the midwife is her mother. So they deliver their second grandchild.

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#2 Raw Emotion

Raw Emotion

Lifetime of Clicks Photography Report

varwenea 8 months ago

Tears of joy

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#3 Honorable Mentions: Nurse Linda

Honorable Mentions: Nurse Linda

Little Leapling Photography Report

Bubblegum Witch 8 months ago

She helped this couple when the wife started giving birth in the hallway and couldn't make it to the delivery room. She helped deliver the baby IN THE HALLWAY.

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#4 Hello


Carlos Chow Ho Fotografia Report

Sonya Jersey 8 months ago

umm...guys? is this an intervention?

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#5 Brand New Toes

Brand New Toes

Breanna Lynch Photography Report

varwenea 8 months ago

I still like to spread my toes like that. I also like the stork wrap, like in the cartoons.

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#6 Newborn-Licious


Belle Verdiglione Photography Report

Hans 8 months ago

"tastes like chicken" (seriously: great picture, children are wonderful)

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#7 Sealed With A Kiss

Sealed With A Kiss


Jessica Temple 8 months ago

Just love to see Momma's breastfeeding their babies! Good work to mom and baby!

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#8 Best In Category: Delivery, En Caul Baby Birth

Best In Category: Delivery, En Caul Baby Birth


My O My 8 months ago

They say babies born like this have special luck in life

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#9 Love Does Not Divide, It Multiplies

Love Does Not Divide, It Multiplies

artshaped photography and birth services Report

stellermatt 8 months ago

this could be a classical painting.

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#10 Best In Category: Labor, Nowhere And Everywhere

Best In Category: Labor, Nowhere And Everywhere

rebecca coursey, photographer + doula Report

EHops 8 months ago

She looks so beautiful and peaceful 💗

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