The Importance of Photos In Cesarean Births


The Expected and Unexpected Cesarean

Cesarean births happen for a variety of reasons and situations that can occur in pregnancy or in labor. We believe our American healthcare system desperately need to bring cesarean rates down in our country but we are also extremely grateful to live in this time in history where cesarean surgeries exist, saving babies and mothers.

Why Hire A Professional Photographer To Capture The Moments

We obviously want you to consider hiring professionals like ourselves. It ensures that you will have high quality memories of your birth. Hiring a birth photographer doesn’t rob a spouse, birth partner, or family member from enjoying the birth experience and being in the photos themselves.

Being in a birth setting is some of the most complicated photography out there. Lighting is super tricky. Spaces are tight. Angles are more complicating than it may seem. Putting any DSLR, point-and-shoot or smartphone on auto during birth is often a recipe for disaster. Birth photographers have to be very familiar and comfortable shooting in manual settings and adjusting constantly! Sure, smartphones cameras have improved leaps and bounds in the last 5 years and they do perform well for most people, especially outdoors, but they loose their quality significantly in most indoor settings. Any camera and person (professional or beginner) who doesn’t practice indoor photography regularly will find getting good quality images difficult.

In unpredictable circumstances we have to hand off a camera to a family member or nurse. This usually occurs in a cesarean birth where the anesthesiologist denies a second person into the OR or an emergency where mother is put under.

We wanted to show you a small insider’s look at our editing process when we do hand off our cameras. Even in a very bright room like the OR taking quick photos of important moments is hard.

Time of Birth

When you hand off your camera to a family member or a nurse, in this case, it is not uncommon to get a handful of blurry out-of-focus photos back. It's not their fault! We try our best to set up the camera the best we can for them but they can only do so much in these situations. Even if they know how to take photos in non-stressful situations they don't know your particular camera. You can see that while there is no way to correct an out-of-focus photo we are able to correct the color and crop it tighter.

Cesarean unedited
Cesarean birth surgery

Though the moment of birth was missed, either because of the quickness of moment or policies the nurse wanted to make sure she wasn't breaking we are extremely grateful for a shot like this from this prospective! The unedited photo is very yellow and under-exposed. We are able to enhance these photos in post production by brightening, enhancing and changing that yellow hue that is often the cards we are dealt with being in hospital settings.

baby born unedited
Baby after birth in warmer

This nurse did an excellent job getting some photos of baby in the warmer. We are able to give it that "wow" factor by brightening up everything and enhancing color.

How To Ask Permission For A Second Support Person

We can accompany many Mothers into the OR here in Pittsburgh. We often have the most success at Magee Women’s Hospital with their more progressive policies. We still have been in the operating rooms at Mercy, West Penn, and Jefferson though it can be more tricky. We try our best to give the tools to our clients to talk with their healthcare providers.

  • Always talk with the appropriate people for permission. Your nurse has been there the most for you but she/he has no power in these situations unfortunately. They often will just tell you the rules and policies, one support-person. You MUST talk with the Anesthesiologist in-charge or the OR you are having your surgery in. Your OBGYN may be able to advocate and talk with the Anesthesiologist but even they do not have the say.

  • Explain how important it is to you for these moments captured.

  • Let them know that we are professional photographers and specialize in births. Tell them if we have been permitted before in their OR. It’s important to let them know that we have experience in the OR and know the rules, policies, and will follow them accordingly.

  • Sometimes you really have to push and advocate for yourself. I’ve had clients ask a couple times until the right person made the exception. There is ALWAYS an exception and gray area of these rules. We see it all the time.

  • If it’s still a “No” then advocate for the next thing, allowing us in recovery after the surgery or view from a window looking into the OR.

Highlights From This Beautiful Pittsburgh Cesarean Birth Story

Cesarean photos can be very important for families to process and remember the moments. Families can be stressed and overwhelmed or Mothers can be a little out of it to remember all the details. These photos are cherished by the families.