The best birth photos from around the world

Some of the images from the competition.
Some of the images from the competition.  Photo: Jennifer Martin Photography / Apple Blossom Families / Vivien Stembridge Photographer

If a picture says a thousand words, this gallery of birth photos tells some brilliant stories filled with countless emotions.

The images were all entered into the International Association of Professional Birth Photographers' (IAPBP) annual birth photography competition, with the photos separated into Labour, Delivery and Postpartum categories. Each section attracted hundreds of entries from all around the world.

There were water births, home births, hospital births, caesareans, and vaginal deliveries. Some babies were born breech, while others were still in the caul. Some mums laboured unassisted, others had big support teams including their older children.

The one thing they all had in common? The photos were all moving and simply stunning.

Judges gave each photo points for "technicality, emotionality and composition", according to the IAPBP website.

"Our judge panel had a very difficult job in narrowing down the winners this year as there were many excellent entries," it added.

Click through to see the winning photos and our favourites, or visit the site to see the full range of entries.  

WARNING: Photos show some nudity and realistic birth scenes.