The International Association of Professional Birth Photographers (IAPBP) has announced the best photos of its 2016 photography contest, and the results are breathtaking. Now in its fifth year, the photo contest celebrates “the beauty of birth and the skill of birth photographers” in three categories: labor, delivery, and postpartum. What’s it like to be one of these intrepid photographers?

“Birth photography is a highly specialized field and the choice to have the experience documented is an intensely personal decision,” explains IAPBP’s press release. “It involves the birth process, environment, the parents, and those in attendance. Birth photos encompass the tears of joy, the wonder of bringing a new life into the world, and celebrates family. The professional photographers who specialize in the field use their art to tell the story of birth.”

Scroll down below to see the stunning pictures and click here for more info on IAPBP, and how you can join:

More info: birthphotographers.com (h/t)

First Place Winner

Image credits: Marijke Theon

Best In Category: Labor

Image credits: Apple Blossom Families

Best In Category: Delivery

Image credits: Birth Blessings Photography & Childbirth Services

Best In Category: Postpartum

Image credits: Natalia Walth

Honorable Mention

Image credits: Krista Evans

Honorable Mention

Image credits: Angela Gallo

Honorable Mention

Image credits: Alexandra Kayy

10+ Powerful Photos Showing What’s It Like To Be A Mom From The 2016 Birth Photography Competition

Image credits: Jennifer Martin

Image credits: Daniela Justus / Monet Nicole

Image credits: Coastal Lifestyles PhotographyBridget Clarke

Image credits: Line Sena