The International Association of Professional Birth Photographers (IAPBP) has announced the winners of their 2018 photo 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 birth photos competition delivers once again. Each image tells a story of labor pains, 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. 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 our families and us,” she told Bored Panda. ­

“Labor is 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 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 tends to sexualize everything and inject fear into the birth process.”

As such, we must warn you that many of the photos below are intense, graphic, and NSFW, 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 undoubtedly cool photos, 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 1 year 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 1 year ago

Tears of joy

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#3 Honorable Mentions: Nurse Linda

Honorable Mentions: Nurse Linda

Little Leapling Photography Report

Bubblegum Witch 1 year 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

Hello

Carlos Chow Ho Fotografia Report

Sonya Jersey 1 year ago

umm...guys? is this an intervention?

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#5 Brand New Toes

Brand New Toes

Breanna Lynch Photography Report

varwenea 1 year 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

Newborn-Licious

Belle Verdiglione Photography Report

Hans 1 year ago

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

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#7 Sealed With A Kiss

Sealed With A Kiss

CATHERINE BROWN PHOTOGRAPHY Report

Jessica Temple 1 year 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

DANIELA JUSTUS FOTOGRAFIA Report

My O My 1 year 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 1 year 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 1 year ago

She looks so beautiful and peaceful 💗

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#11 Discovering The Love Chromosome

Discovering The Love Chromosome

Emilly Gama Fotografia Report

Paul K. Johnson 1 year ago

Someone explain to me how child birth is "NSFW" please.

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#12 Woman Power

Woman Power

neo photography Report

varwenea 1 year ago

Damn!!! That is power!

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#13 You Can Do This. I Love You!

You Can Do This. I Love You!

Jody Deijnen Photography Report

stellermatt 1 year ago

the importance of support when support is all you can do.

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#14 So Much Love

So Much Love

DANIELA JUSTUS FOTOGRAFIA Report

Rebekah 1 year ago

This is so lovely. What great faces.

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#15 Honorable Mentions: How Big

Honorable Mentions: How Big

Meg Brock Photography Report

LittleGrayMouse 1 year ago

Bit sad that, besides the photographer, there are two others taking pictures... Guys, enjoy the moment!

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#16 Best In Category: Birth Details, Birth Of A Brother

Best In Category: Birth Details, Birth Of A Brother

DANIELA JUSTUS FOTOGRAFIA Report

Hope Floats 1 year ago

This reminds me of soon after my daughter's birth, when she was taken to the Special Care Unit,as she was born with a cleft lip and Palate.. It was a few days before Christmas and the local primary school used to vist the babies at this time to sing carols to the new babies,while holding flickering candles..Such joyful memories.

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#17 A Surrogates Kiss

A Surrogates Kiss

Lillian Craze Birth Photography Report

Kebnekaise 1 year ago

Such a Commitment....

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#18 Honorable Mentions: Fist Bump For Mom

Honorable Mentions: Fist Bump For Mom

Ker-Fox Photography Report

stellermatt 1 year ago

respect.

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#19 A Sound Of Bliss, The First Cry

A Sound Of Bliss, The First Cry

Snap Life Photography LLC Report

Aud Wey 1 year ago

Such a beautiful pic!! That first cry..... I have waited for it 4 minutes after the delivery, longest moment of my entire life!! Such a blessing when you finally hear it!!

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#20 Colorful Life

Colorful Life

Renate van Lith Fotografie Report

Sandra Josefine Langvatznes 1 year ago

Stop folding the baby...

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#21 Rumpled

Rumpled

Sevan Photography Report

Kebnekaise 1 year ago

Klingon? :)

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#22 Into The Light

Into The Light

Kate kennedy birth photography Report

stellermatt 1 year ago

"but I was warm and cosy!!!!"

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#23 Honorable Mentions: A Physiological Third Stage

Honorable Mentions: A Physiological Third Stage

Santa Cruz Birth Photography & Doula Services Report

LittleGrayMouse 1 year ago

This picture looks so calm and serene. Beautiful.

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#24 1642 Days Of Wishing

1642 Days Of Wishing

Angelfire Photography Report

Me 1 year ago

The title makes the picture so much more intense.. how I hope I will get to this point, too

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#25 Free

Free

Truckee Birth Photographer Report

Rebekah 1 year ago

That'a yoga instructor in the making.

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#26 The First Embrace

The First Embrace

Santa Cruz Birth Photography & Doula Services Report

Indie_cloud 1 year ago

Is the baby meant to be that colour? I wonder if their joy is also relief?

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#27 Goddess Of Life

Goddess Of Life

Cat Fancote - Capturing Birth Report

Dian Ella Lillie 1 year ago

The placenta is an organ that arises from the development of the embryo and that implants into the uterine wall, and its physiology is astonishingly complex. But given that half of the placenta's DNA comes from the father, it might be more accurate to say 'god/goddess of life'...

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#28 Shhh, Brandnew Love, Shhh

Shhh, Brandnew Love, Shhh

geburtsreportage Report

Isabella S. 1 year ago

What a beautiful photo

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#29 Honorable Mentions: Labor By Candlelight

Honorable Mentions: Labor By Candlelight

Ashley Marston Photography Report

stellermatt 1 year ago

this makes it look more dramatic than it already probably is

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#30 Honorable Mentions: Birthing Waves

Honorable Mentions: Birthing Waves

Birth Blessings Photography & Doula Services Report

Brittney Stanford 1 year ago

wow!!! GORGEOUS photo!