Birth Photographers and COVID-19 - International Association of Professional Birth Photographers |

Birth Photographers and COVID-19

What is COVID-19?

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a new virus that had not been previously identified in humans. The virus causes respiratory illness (like the flu) with symptoms such as a cough, fever and in more severe cases, pneumonia. You can protect yourself by washing your hands frequently and avoiding touching your face.

How does it spread?

The new coronavirus spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose.

What are the symptoms?

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is characterized by mild symptoms including a runny nose, sore throat, cough, and fever. Illness can be more severe for some people and can lead to pneumonia or breathing difficulties.

More rarely, the disease can be fatal. Older people, and people with other medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), may be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill.

The Possible Impact of COVID-19 on the Birth Photography Industry

The impact of the COVID-19 virus spreading worldwide is difficult to measure. This is why taking precautionary steps is a vital part of protecting ourselves, our clients, our families and our businesses. 

Through a variety of feedback and news resources, we are learning the different ways this virus is impacting birth photographers specifically. Many hospitals and birth centers are enforcing restrictions on the number of support persons allowed in a labor and delivery room, the operation room, the theatre, and even on recovery units. In most cases, doulas and birth photographers are not being counted as a part of the birthing team and therefore are not being allowed to fulfill their professional duties.

The World Health Organization recommended that, “the parturient woman should be accompanied by people with whom she feels safe and trust; possibly doula, midwife, her husband or a friend.” We know that this is a time of uncertainty and statistics and data regarding birth support may not be enough to enforce any changes at this time. We want to keep our priorities in order by supporting our clients the best way we know how while also responsibly taking care of ourselves and our communities.

The best thing we can do is be as prepared as possible and follow the guidelines of the CDC, WHO and hospital and birth center personnel as much as possible. We are in agreement that the top priority is the health and safety of our communities. However, we also feel it is our responsibility as an association to take this opportunity to stand for our industry and our clients who believe our presence to be a crucial element of both their birth team and their mental health.

Best Practices During This Time

(Sources: CDC & DONA)


Birth Photographer Coronavirus

Learn and use appropriate infection control protocols, including washing your hands with soap and hot water for 20 seconds or more regularly and anytime there is visible dirt on them. Clean your hands with alcohol based sanitizer before going INTO a room and before LEAVING a room. 

COVID-19 and Birth Photographers

Learn about the usage of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as: gloves, face masks or shields, and safety glasses. Practice social distancing – avoid large gatherings, cancel or reschedule events, and put 6 feet of space between yourself and others.

Number three

Ensure your contract accounts for these type of emergent situations. For already executed contracts, speak with client about how to account for an emergency and consider adding an addendum to your contract.


Number 4

Communicate with your clients in a prompt, calm, and professional manner. Do not allow fear to prevent you from this crucial step of preventing further hardships or frustrations down the road. Scroll down for more business communication tips.

Number Five

Support your clients. Asses your clients’ level of concern and do not project or force your opinions on them. Should your client wish for your assistance in advocating for your presence in their birth space, download and share the IAPBP Letter to Hospital Administrators or Personnel (located in Member Resources) and encourage them to pass it to their hospital administrators and healthcare providers. 

Number Six

Prepare as much possible and follow the guidelines of the CDC, WHO and hospital and birth center personnel while simultaneously making an effort to support your clients the best way you can. Without a doubt, please stay home if you are sick or beginning to show any symptoms. 

Support Your Clients


If your client has been required to choose between you and other birthing support persons for their birth experience, here are a few ways you can help them:


  1. Communicate with them as soon as possible, remaining calm and supportive. Discuss all possibilities and avoid using any fear-inducing language.
  2. Give them permission to make the decision that is best for them and their families.
  3. Encourage them to take seriously and follow the guidelines put forth by the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stating that you will do the same yourself.
  4. Remind them that your goal is to keep everyone as safe as possible while still providing the service(s) they have hired you for.
  5. Share with them a copy of our IAPBP Letter to Hospital Administrators or Personnel to give to their hospital administrators and healthcare providers.
  6. Assure them that regardless of what may happen, you are available and willing to help as much as possible.
  7. Stay up to date with the latest information from the WHO and/or CDC.

Prepare Yourself & Others

(Sources: CDC & DONA)


Join the conversation! There has been a lot of talk in recent days about how to handle specific situations between client and photographer which have developed as a direct result of the COVID-19 virus.

Come read and participate in these conversations while learning from one another.

Healthy individuals are at low risk of severe complications from Coronavirus:

  1. Get good, restful sleep
  2. Eat a healthy balanced diet
  3. Exercise
  4. Balance work with rest
  5. Practice mindfulness and/or spiritual practices
  6. Boost your immunity
  7. Implement social distancing as appropriate

Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with hospital infection control practices and PPE usage with these four video resources.

  1. Hospital PPE – Infection Control: Donning (putting on protective equipment)
  2. Hospital PPE – Infection Control: Doffing (removing protective equipment)
  3. Hand Washing Steps from the WHO
  4. The Importance of Proper Hand Washing Hygiene


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