What do Cesarean deliveries look like in real life? This is demonstrated in these magnificent photographs from members of the International Association of Professional Birth Photographers (IAPBP). Lyndsay Stradtner of Life in Motion Photography, who resides in Texas with her husband and four children, launched the organization in 2010. It now has over 1,400 members from 37 countries. After the family’s things were ᴅᴇsᴛʀᴏʏᴇᴅ by Hurricane Katrina, Stradtner began snapping images with a DSLR camera to ensure that their priceless memories were preserved.
She began documenting births in 2007 and formed the IAPBP to facilitate communication between customers and photographers. Stradtner discussed how birth photography is sometimes misconstrued in a blog post on the IAPBP website. She debunked popular notions that birth photography is “ɢʀᴏss,” “ʏᴜᴄᴋʏ,” or “ᴅɪsɢᴜsᴛɪɴɢ,” by explaining why some families engage a delivery photographer and what the end result entails.
“Birth photography is about much more than the actual moment of birth,” she stated. “There’s a lot more. It’s the birthing atmosphere, the lighting in the room, the small nuances, and the arrivals and departures of people there. The doula lends a helping hand, the midwife makes ᴘᴀɪɴ-relieving recommendations, and the OB prepares and assists the mom in pushing. It’s the first time the baby is placed on the mom’s chest, the joyous tears, the rush of adrenaline, the cutting of the cord, and the infant’s little toes and fingers. It’s the first time a sibling sees a new baby brother or sister, and they’re both excited and nervous.
It’s a combination of all of those things. It’s the story of a birthday’s trip. It’s the process of forming a family. It’s unique. And if a family decides to do so, it is worthy of being photographed.” SELF was able to contact the IAPBP group and request that they contribute some of their most emotional photographs. The end result was very amazing, depicting a wide spectrum of birth experiences. Many of the photos provided depicted children being born through C-section.
According to the CDC, 32.2 percent of women will have a C-Section, whether planned or unplanned. This figure is greater than the World Health Organization’s suggested rate of 10 to 15% for “medically required”C-Section. The high number of sᴜʀɢɪᴄᴀʟ births in the United States has sparked debate, with some expectant mothers feeling coerced by medical personnel to undertake the surgery, and others criticizing women who opt to have elective Cesarean deliveries. However, these operations are life-saving, and women should not be ashamed of undergoing them.
Cesarean deliveries are ᴛʀᴇᴍᴇɴᴅᴏᴜsly dramatic, moving experiences, as these photographs demonstrate, whether or not the technique was the mother’s first choice. Here are 21 Cesarean deliveries photographed by the excellent IAPBP photographers.