Tender moment between mother and daughter during labor.

Mother’s Day in the United States is celebrated on the second Sunday in May, but you and I both know that Mother’s really are, and should be, celebrated on the daily. IAPBP wanted to celebrate the phrase, “strong as a mother” by briefly discussing the four stages of labor and why you most definitely want each of those stages photographed. 

There are four stages of labor that all play integral roles in the birth outcome for your baby. First, we’re going to break down each stage of labor and then we’re going to examine why you would want it all captured in photographic detail. For educational purposes only, we are breaking down what general labor looks like, free from complications or interventions.  IAPBP firmly believes that ALL birth is birth, no matter the outcome, and that each birth is as beautiful and unique as each fiery sunset just before the moon kisses the sun goodnight. 



  1. Labor
    Latent Phase: Throughout this phase, nourishment and normal activity is key as most of the work is done without the mother’s active participation.
    Active Labor: During this phase, her cervix is likely right around 6cm dilated and the mother should settle into her safe space to deliver her baby while focusing on tranquility and nourishment.
    Transition: She is strong as a mother focusing on one contraction at a time. 
  2. Pushing and birth of baby
    Her cervix is gone and the baby is receiving her crown just before she moves through the pubic outlet.  Mother’s chin should be to her chest, allowing her body and baby to move in unison as they dance in rhythm to enter the space we all share.
  3. Welcoming baby, birthing placenta, and lactation
    A new mother is born within this stage, regardless of how many children have come before. As mom is experiencing skin to skin with her baby, the placenta may expel immediately or within several minutes. Immediately upon birth, the mother will produce colostrum to feed her newborn.
  4. The first 3 days postpartum
    The mother’s body is experiencing a fluctuation of hormone changes and emotions. This is such a pivotal time for her to experience being fully loved and seen, just as her baby is. 

Father comforting mother during labor.
Image by Cait Sumner


Mother during the second stage of labor.
Image by Deborah van Bruchem


Mother smiling post labor and delivery.
Image by Jacinta Lagos


Labor and delivery encompass vulnerabilities that can only be understood once you’ve lived through it. Those vulnerabilities are primal; they’re something we have in common with every woman who has gone before us and each woman who will come after us.  It’s a sacred bond that we all share that is worth documenting.

Each emotion, each movement, each expression – they’re all part of a life altering experience that time will take away from (as she often does) as she (time) passes and transforms into decades later.  Moments of serene peace and tenderness can soon be forgotten just as the moments of transition can be.  Don’t let time steal your moments of glory.  Documenting each stage of labor sets the stage for the rest of your life. 

These images will give you a visual representation of the courage and valor you carried with you along your vulnerable journey. Memories of your birth experience will be illuminated for years to come, allowing you to share about that time (amongst many) that you were strong as mother with clarity and certainty. Documenting birth allows the rebirth of you to have witnesses over and over again. You’re worth it. 

IAPBP is committed to providing families across the globe with birth photographers whose professionalism is rivaled by no other.  We organically choose ethical excellence and are excited to connect you with the birth photographer of your dreams here


Featured Image: Brianne Sanders