15 Powerful Photos That Show the Beauty of C-Section Births

Genny Glassman | Sep 20, 2017 Pregnancy
Image: Neely Ker-Fox

Neely Ker-Fox

For some reason, there is a strange stigma surrounding births that happen via C-section. Despite the growing number of moms speaking out about their C-section experiences, showing their C-section scars, and educating the masses about gentle C-sections, some moms still feel the unfair need to prove that their C-section counts as "real" birth. But birth is not a competition, and every woman should be celebrated for her unique birth experience.

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C-section shaming is just one more phase of the "mommy wars," and it needs to stop. That's why we put together this collection of awe-inspiring and beautiful photos of real moms welcoming their babies into the world via C-sections. For the mom who has been planning her C-section since the first day of her pregnancy to the mom who finds out she needs to have a C-section while she's in the delivery room, these photos prove C-sections are magical, special, and, yes, beautiful.

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Take a look at these gorgeous c-section deliveries and just try not to be inspired. Every birth is unique, and as these photos prove, every birth is valid, "real," and truly special.

  • A Stunning Emergence


    Not only did this momma have a C-section, but this little guy is breech! As photographer Inge Berkin tells CafeMom, "This was a gentle breech C-section. The plastic drape made it possible for the parents to watch their daughter being born. All the medical staff in the OR were focused on making this birth special!"

  • So Cool!


    Not only did this mama have a C-section, but she caught her baby and pulled it out as well!

    She describes the experience to CafeMom: "Having always needed a C-section for medical reasons, I wanted to be as natural as can be, [like] wanting to touch baby first and have baby put onto my chest, unlike textbook C-sections. And it was just an amazing feeling and made up for all the other C-sections, where I felt I missed out out that first bit of contact and bond straight away. So it was perfect for me!"

    As one Instagram user writes in the comments, "[This is] the most badass thing I have ever seen." Heck yeah it is!

  • Sweet Cheeks


    This sweet little face is the best surprise as baby is pulled out of his or her mama. This stunning picture by Bundled Blessings Photography shows how gentle cesareans can be! 

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  • Incredible!


    These parents had a few requests, as photographer Kathryn Johnson writes on Instagram: "Low lights, music, lowered curtain and skin to skin in the OR. In non emergent situations this should be the standard for C-section deliveries."

  • That Face!


    Photographer Neely Ker-Fox tells CafeMom, "So much healing can come from such a simple piece of plastic. This clear drape facilitates an immediate connection for mother and baby (and dad). Dad even said afterwards how powerful it was not only hearing but seeing his son's first cry. And look at the midwife looking at mom's reaction as she presents her baby! The emotional, physical, and even chemical changes that happen when a mom sees her baby being born, followed by immediate skin to skin ... it's life-changing stuff."

  • The Cord Around His Leg


    This mama shared this picture on Instagram in honor of Cesarean Awareness Month (which is in April).

    The mom, Marie, tells Cafemom, "My heart still swells with so much love thinking back to seeing my sweet boy for the first time! The drape was pulled down and I got to see my chunky little dude fresh out of my womb -- his umbilical cord still attached and wrapped around his leg. Skin to skin in the OR with free arms to hold my chunky babe!"

    She added, "Cesarean birth is birth. It is beautiful, and it takes just as much courage and strength to undergo major surgery to bring your baby earthside. I am thankful for a birth team that supported my choices and acknowledged that birth matters. Belly birth is beautiful."

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  • Happy Papa


    This picture is a National Photo League award winner! Shot by an OR nurse who is also a photographer, this stunning delivery shows proud Dad looking in through the plastic divider. Look how happy he is!

  • It's All About the Look in Your Baby's Eyes


    This incredible moment was captured by photographer Neely Ker-Fox and shows the deep connection between mom and baby. Sometimes moms worry that a C-section won't leave them feeling as connected to their child as a natural birth, but this photo proves that that simply isn't true. Look at the love in this mom's eyes!

  • They're Here!


    This magical moment shared by midwife Mary Yanagawa is what every mom who gives birth waits for: the big reveal! After months of waiting (and hours of labor), finally the little one is here, safe and sound. Just beautiful!

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  • Cradling His Little Head


    The mom in this photo got very real about how much she did not want a C-section. She tells CafeMom, "Honestly? I moved mountains to have a vaginal birth with my twincesses [twin princesses]. But my baby A was sticking her heel through my cervix and my cord was right there (cord prolapse)."

    In the end, she had a C-section and her photographer got this stunning photo.

  • Little Miss Independent


    The mom continues, "I was absolutely heartbroken to have a C-section. But at this point, I knew it was medically warranted. My doctor was incredible, allowed me to see everything (and allowed my birth photographer in the room), and respected all my requests of immediate skin to skin, delayed cord clamping, letting my husband cut the cord."

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  • Giving Birth Gently


    "The birth of this mother's third baby was gentle in so may ways," birth photographer Angie Bee Hotz tells CafeMom. "It was her third cesarean and she wanted it to be calm and relaxed. What you don't see in the photo was the anesthesiologist's hands gently holding up the mother's head so she could see her baby better as she emerged. I stayed with the mother to hold her hand and narrate what was going on as the dad went with baby across the room for a few minutes at the warmer before they came back to mom for skin-to-skin time."

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  • Get a Picture!


    This stunning photo was taken by the baby's dad. As the mom tells the 2lifedoula, "Our doctor told us 'OK take a picture.' I said 'I can't!' and they all laughed. I looked at Ryan and he was in another world so I yelled 'Ryan, take a picture!' And these are the results. It was all very surreal. She is such an amazing gift."

  • It's a Twin!


    This image shows twin one of two, who was delivered via C-section. As birth photographer, Elaine Tucker describes on Instagram, "This little one had everyone 'awwwww'ing in the OR with her hugs to mama's belly and attempts to crawl up to mama's chest."

  • Skin to Skin


    Tucker also highly recommends being your own advocate in the delivery room. Of this mama's preferences, she writes, "Drape lowered to see both babies born, delayed cord clamping for both, and lucky babe number two got to go straight to mama, skin-to-skin on her abdomen."

    She adds, "These are things than CAN be done when your care team is on board. Talk to your provider about what practices they have in place for making every type of birth as family focused as safely possible."

    As you can see, knowing what you want can reap amazing results! Such a beautiful baby!

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