15 award-winning photos that show the terror, beauty, and joy in giving birth

  • An international photography group announced the winners of this year's birth photography competition earlier this month. 
  • The contest announced winners for a number of categories, including delivery, labor, postpartum, and Fresh 48 — photos that capture the first few hours after giving birth. 
  • "Birth photography encompasses the tears of joy, the wonder of bringing a new life into the world and celebrates family," the birth photography group said in a press release. 
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Note: This post contains graphic images of birth.

Having a baby is one of the most excruciating and blissful milestones a person may experience. Increasingly, parents are bringing professional photographers into the delivery room to capture the agonizing and joyful moments. 

It's reached the point where the International Association of Professional Birth Photographers hosts an annual birth photo competition, honoring the work of photographers in a number of categories, including labor, delivery, postpartum, and Fresh 48, which focuses on the first few hours after a baby is born. 

"Birth photography encompasses the tears of joy, the wonder of bringing a new life into the world," the group said in a press release," and celebrates family." 

Scroll down to see some of the photos that took home awards and honorable mentions in this year's birth photography competition.

First place overall

"A Moment of Silence," by Jessica Vink of VI-Photography who lives in the Netherlands.

Best in category: birth details

"Warrior," by US-based Bree Garcia of J&B Photography, LLC.

Best in category: postpartum

"Vernix Constellation," by Australian photographer Kristy Visscher of Kinship by Kristy.

Best in category: fresh 48

"Denial," by US photographer Natalie Weber of Natalie Zepp Photography.

Best in category: labor

"Morning Light Creeps In," by Canadian photographer Shea Long of Coastal Lifestyles Photography.

Member's choice best in category: birth details

"Baby Noah Empelicado," by Brazil's Jana Brasil of JanaBrasil Fotografia.

Member's choice: first place

"Ring of Fire," by US-based Katie Torres of Your Story — Professional Birth Services.

Members' choice best in category: labor

"I am a Birthing Goddess," by American photographer Sophia Costa of The Sophia Co.

Members' choice best in category: fresh 48

"Her Cup Runneth Over…," by American photographer Martha Lerner of zenmamalove.

Member's choice best In category: delivery

"Unmasking the Many Layers of Birth," by US photographer Alexandria Mooney of Alexandria Mooney Photography.

Honorable mention

"In it Together," by US photographer Lori Martinez of Lori Martinez Photography.

Honorable mention

"Unplanned, Furious and Free," by American photographer Bree Garcia of J&B Photography LLC.

Honorable mention

"Breech," by Dutch photographer Cindy Willems of Birth Day geboortefotografie. 

Honorable mention

"Overflowing Love," by Brazilian photographer Barbara Aviz of BÁRBARA AVIZ. 

Honorable mention

"Reactions," by US photographer Paulina Splechta of Paulina Splechta Birth Photography and Films.

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