These contest winners captured intimate moments before, during, and after childbirth.
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Giving birth is an emotional experience—and it takes a special kind of photographer to capture the joy, pain, and wonder of a baby coming into the world. To celebrate the best pregnancy and childbirth images, Birth Becomes Her recently announced the winners of their annual photography contest. Behold the winning photos below, which showcase everything from beautiful swollen bellies to the intensity of labor and delivery and then the thrilling first meet-and-greet between moms and babies.

Overall Winner: “Stunning Siblings First Encounter”

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Marijke Thoen, a Belgium-based photographer, took home the prize for Overall Winner and Overall People’s Choice Winner.

Maternity (1st Place): “This Is What a Goddess Looks Like”

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Jen Conway, a photographer from Greenville, South Carolina, won the maternity category with this image.

Maternity (2nd Place): “Staying Afloat”

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Credit: Melissa Benzel

Melissa Benzel, who owns Benzel Photography in Orlando, Florida, received the second place title and was the People’s Choice Winner for the maternity category.

Maternity (3rd Place): “A Mother’s Love”

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Texas photographer Vanessa Mendez earned third place for this photo of a pregnant mom with her older child.

Labor (1st Place): “Nowhere and Everywhere”

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Taken just before these parents welcomed their child into the world, Los Angeles–based Rebecca Coursey-Rugh captured the pre-birth moments.

Labor (2nd Place): “Labor by Candlelight”

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Ashley Marston, a photographer in Canada, took this photo of a mirror reflection showing a mom-to-be enduring labor in a bathtub.

Labor (3rd Place): “Before the Cut”

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Uganda-based photographer Laura Wando provided a fresh perspective of labor with this third place selection.

Labor (People’s Choice Winner): “Three Souls Labor as One”

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Thousands of online voters chose Spokane, Washington photographer Esther Edith’s submission for the People’s Choice award.

Birth (1st Place): “Half Born and Already Reaching for Mama”

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Selena Rollason of Brisbane Birth Photography in Australia took this photo, showing a screaming mom and her almost-born baby with outstretched arms.

Birth (2nd Place): “Fist Bump for Mom”

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Parents look through a plastic sheet to see their newborn (who is apparently already fist-bumping!) in this photo submitted by Georgia-based photographer Neely Ker-Fox.

Birth (3rd Place): “Caught in Between Worlds”

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Canadian photographer Dominique Lamontagne captured this image of a baby entering a pool mid-childbirth.

Birth (People’s Choice Winner): “Transition to Earth”

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This black-and-white shot, taken by Caroline Devulder from Ghent, Belgium, won over the hearts of online voters.

Fresh/Postpartum (1st Place): “This Is VBAC”

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Vaginal birth after Cesarean, or VBAC, is the subject of this image taken by Veronika Richardson from Fox Valley Birth and Baby in Wisconsin.

Fresh/Postpartum (2nd Place): “Rebirth”

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Lacey Barratt, a photographer in Melbourne, snapped this moment between a mom and her newborn.

Fresh/Postpartum (3rd Place): “Postpartum Uncensored”

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Austin-based photographer Kayla Gonzales submitted this photo of a mom sitting up in bed with her newborn sleeping beside her.

Fresh/Postpartum (People’s Choice Winner): “Success”

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Uruguay photographer Deborah Elenter focused in on a baby latching, and her photo was the most popular among those polled online.

Breastfeeding (1st Place): “Within Reach”

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This photo of a newborn’s thumb on a mom’s nipple, taken by Cory Janiak in Florida, won the top prize in the category.

Breastfeeding (2nd Place): “Tranquility”

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Richardson also received a second place prize for another submission, this time of a mom nursing her newborn in a pool with the umbilical cord still attached.

Breastfeeding (3rd Place): “Stir Fry”

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With her baby on one breast and a bowl of grains and veggies covering another, this mom’s balancing act was taken by Christina Benton in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Breastfeeding (People’s Choice Winner): “A Hush Fell Over The Crowd”

This image of a mom breastfeeding her child at a swim meet, captured by New York photographer Gabriella Hunt, received the most votes from the 22,000 online ballots.

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Started by birth photographers Jennifer Mason and Monet Nicole in 2013, Birth Becomes Her is an international resource for birth photographers and soon-to-be parents looking for a professional to help capture the moment when a newborn comes into the world.