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Birth-photography contest highlights the raw and emotional sides of childbirth

From pregnancy to postpartum, photographers who entered the contest submitted images that capture the emotional, challenging and beautiful sides of birth.
/ Source: TODAY Contributor

Pregnancy and childbirth can be beautiful, overwhelming and emotional — often in the same moment.

Birth photographers have the important job of capturing the entire realm of emotions present when a baby enters the world. So to celebrate the beauty of birth and the skill required to preserve such precious moments for parents, online photography resource Birth Becomes Her put out a call for submissions for their 2018 birth photography contest.

Birth photo
First place winner in the contest's postpartum category was this image, titled "This is VBAC," by Wisconsin photographer Veronika Richardson.Veronika Richardson/Fox Valley Birth and Baby

Monet Nicole, a Colorado birth photographer who co-founded Birth Becomes Her with Michigan birth photographer Jennifer Mason in 2013, says the mission of the organization and the contest is to showcase the ways pregnancy and childbirth empower women.

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"We hope to encourage the world to embrace the beauty of birth," Nicole told TODAY Parents.

Birth photo
The overall winner in the contest was this image, titled "Stunning Siblings First Encounter," by Marijke Thoen.Marijke Thoen/Marijke Thoen Geboortefotografie

Nearly 1,000 entries were received from around the world for the five contest categories: maternity, labor, birth, postpartum and breastfeeding. The winners showcase the entire pregnancy experience, from stunning photos of water births to candid images of postpartum bodies.

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"Clearly the winners were incredibly powerful," said Mason. "The moments were real — some were raw — but each managed to capture the beauty of birth and motherhood in a creative and impactful way."

But Mason says the contest was about more than captivating photos.

Awarded third place in the maternity category was this photo, titled "A Mother's Love," by Vanessa Mendez.
Awarded third place in the maternity category was this photo, titled "A Mother's Love," by Vanessa Mendez.Vanessa Mendez/Vanessa Mendez Photography

"For so many years, birth has remained something that happens behind closed doors," Mason said. "For decades, women were given very little options about what their births could look like. By seeing real images of real stories, women and men around the world are able to understand that birth isn't something to be feared — rather, it can and should be one of the most profound and supported days of your life."

For a complete look at the winners of the Birth Becomes Her contest, check out this slide show.

Birth Becomes Her

Slideshow  20 photos

Birth Becomes Her

Photographers share stunning labor, delivery and postpartum images.