Midwifery is a broad term that means so many things, in so many types of practices around the world. Midwives can have very different training backgrounds and work in very different settings — from women’s homes, to huge hospitals.
But the classic midwifery model of care is all rooted in the same belief that childbirth is a partnership between a woman and her provider, and that watchful waiting can be as important as intervening when complications arise. Sometimes that means helping a woman have a vaginal birth with no pain medication if that is what she wants; other times it means holding a mother’s hand while she undergoes a C-section with an OB-GYN.
In honor of National Midwifery Week, we reached out to the International Association of Professional Birth Photographers (IAPBP) and asked its members to send in some of their favorite images of midwives at work. And the moments they captured are pure magic.
Captions from photographers have been edited and condensed.