The International Association of Professional Birth Photographers has been hosting their famous birth photography competition for several years, and they recently announced the winners and participants of their 12th contest, and the results are stunning.

These photos capture intimate, miraculous moments that show human life does go on, despite the hardships we’ve all faced in the past couple of years. We are still in awe of the way families to trust a photographer to document this profound moment in their lives.

#1 Best In Labor: “Ovarian Cancer Survivor – Hospital Transfer” By Sara Hunter, United States

The International Association of Professional Birth Photographers was essentially established to assist soon-to-be parents with gifted birth photographers. These days the community has over 1,100 members in 52 countries, and continues to grow daily. Moreover, 12 years ago, IAPBP introduced an annual image competition that allows folks to witness the reality of an otherworldly process. The association itself was founded in 2010, and is a proud owner of immensely talented and creative photographers/videographers who put their whole heart into documenting expecting parents’ fragile but significant moments.

Becoming a birth photographer is a very crucial choice. It’s a way to connect with the world and its wonders, it’s intimate and it’s messy. Birth photographers are storytellers who catch every aspect of the delivery, whether it’s planned or unplanned. They’re there to document the person’s anticipation, pain, and finally that long-awaited skin-to-skin contact.

#2 Best In Delivery: “The First Look” By Ebony Allen-Ankins, Australia

Photography is a very rewarding practice, let alone when you specialize in capturing people’s deliveries. Not everyone is aware that birth photography is even a thing, besides, most would probably think that documenting such private and personal moments is rather unnecessary – but meeting your child for the first time is an otherworldly emotion that many would love to remember forever.

Every labor is different, but most are extremely difficult, as you can never thoroughly plan the process. It’s all very individual, where some are blessed with a very smooth and quick delivery and others spend days laboring with the immense support of their loved ones. Either way, birth photographers are completely trained to adapt to the unexpected and are ready to capture your beautiful journey.

#3 First Place: “A Touch Of Love” By Bárbara Aviz, Brazil

#4 Best In Postpartum: “Twins First Latch” By Jessica Miles, United States

Being a birth photographer isn’t only about finding the best angles to portray the future mother’s story. It’s an incredible task where you need to constantly be aware of the surroundings, in order to not interfere with the beauty and the harsh reality of the birthing process. An overpowering moment that can hardly be described with words, an event that is filled with excruciating pain and an overflowing love that, in the aftermath, feels like has gone by within a split second. The process is easily forgotten once your child finally enters your arms and birth photographers are there to help and seal those life-changing hours forever.

#5 Members’ Choice: “Crying Dad” By Sara Hunter, United States

#6 Honorable Mention: “Touch Of Love” By Dora Barens, Netherlands

Giving birth is the most empowering feeling, despite experiencing a form of pain that you never even knew existed. You’re on the verge of bringing a new life to this world while being surrounded by the people you love the most. Not a lot of us can truly comprehend what happens in that delivery room but having competitions like this one allows folks to witness what it’s like going through such a dynamic event.

#7 Best In Hardship & Loss: “As Long As I Am Here With You My Perfect Little Baby” By Meike Nagorny, Germany

#8 Best In Delivery: “The Blessed Exhaustion” By Danny Merz, Germany

#9 Best In Delivery: “Dad Catches His Baby Girl” By Sara Hunter, United States

Though most birth photographers are only focused on documenting your story, some are also known to offer their support services, essentially acting like doulas. It’s fascinating to know that you can also develop a connection with your photographer that will most likely positively impact on your final images. Many birth photographers reveal that their clients cry when they first view their images and it must feel very rewarding for the artist to see those final happy tears.

#10 Best In Delivery: “Euforia” By Inge Berken, Netherlands

#11 Best In Postpartum: “Love Till Infinity” By Inge Berken, Netherlands

#12 Best In Labor: “Accepting A New Plan” By Sara Avila, Mexico

Even though childbirth is a truly terrifying event, it’s important to educate ourselves and to hear about this matter from the women that undergone this equally stressful and beautiful process. A lot of us don’t know enough about labor and delivery because we’re so used to seeing a slightly sugar-coated version in the vastness of media. Yet, this project and this competition is a great way to bring awareness to real and unstated birth. And it’s totally hypnotizing.

#13 Best In Labor: “Surrender” By Renate Van Lith, Netherlands

#14 Honorable Mention: “Exhale” By Natalie Broders, United States

#15 Honorable Mention: “Daughters Of A Midwife” By Jessica Henderson, Australia

#16 Honorable Mention: “Held” By Lindsey Bartell, United States

#17 Best In Birth Details: “The Tiniest Feet” By Dania Lauren, Australia

#18 Honorable Mention: “Lean Into Me” By Lindsey Ellis, United States

#19 Honorable Mention: “Ecstacy” By Jacinta Lagos, United States

#20 Members’ Choice: “White Noise” By Cindy Willems, Netherlands

#21 Honorable Mention: “Womb World To Our World” By Sadie Wild, United Kingdom

#22 Best In Postpartum: “Swimming Interstellar” By Hayden Trace, United States

#23 Best In Labor: “My Sacred Birth Cocoon” By Jessica Innemee, Netherlands

#24 Honorable Mention: “Life-Giving Nectar” By Lyubov Chaykovskaya, Russia

#25 Honorable Mention: “Into The Night” By Ebony Allen-Ankins, Australia

#26 Honorable Mention: “Ready For Devotion” By Sadie Wild, United Kingdom

#27 Best In Birth Details: “She Roars” By Lindsey Bartell, United States

#28 Honorable Mention: “A Calm Birth In Times Of Pandemic” By Susanne Krauss, Germany

#29  Best In Postpartum: “Reunion” By Rachel Utain-Evans, United States

#30 Honorable Mention: “Transition Tears” By Ashley Marston, Canada