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Raw images from birth photography competition capture emotions of childbirth

Warning: this article contains graphic images of nudity and childbirth.

The International Association of Professional Birth Photographers (IABP) has announced the winners of its 11th annual Birth Photography Image Competition.

This year’s offering highlights the best labour and delivery shots of 2021 – showcasing both the pain and pleasure of childbirth, as well as difficult moments of loss.

The pictures span over five categories: birth details, labour, delivery, postpartum, and hardship and loss – the latter being a new one introduced this year.

IAPBP director Liz Cook said: ‘We desire to honour the one in four birthing persons who experience miscarriage and/or loss and inviting images of these events into our celebration of birth photography is one way we can do this.  

‘We are proud to present to you a breathtaking body of work that shares life’s most powerful moments from 2021.

‘We are incredibly proud of the entrants of this year’s competition because in spite of all we endured in our community in recent years, this contest represents the resistance birth photographers have to overcome unforeseen challenges.’

Brazilian photographer Bárbara Aviz scooped first place in the competition with her snap of a mother and her newborn, in a heartwarming image titled ‘A Touch of Love.’

For the ‘best in delivery’ category, Australian photographer Ebony Allen-Ankins won with her entry ‘The First Look.’

Elsewhere, other photos capture mothers exhausted after childbirth but sharing sweet and intimate moments with their new arrivals.

While other snaps highlight the agony and ecstasy of labour and birth.

Another powerful image shows a woman lying calmly in her water birth pool during labour.

Below are some more of the winners, plus some honorable mentions in each category.

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