17 December 2018
I’ve just received confirmation from the Royal Brisbane Womens Hospital that their policy around birth photography has changed. This affects both the birth center and the birth suite.
They have confirmed that photography is permitted before the birth and after the birth but no photography will be allowed of the actual birth itself. Anyone taking photos or filming during the birth will be told to stop or to leave the room.
As a birth photographer, I know that a documented birth story can act as a crucial therapeutic tool for post partum families. It pieces together moments that are forgotten. Moments that are hazy. Moments that don’t make sense. To strip families of this powerful tool and leave them with an incomplete story is reprehensible.
A birth story cannot be documented without the images of your baby entering the world and the emotions experienced by your self and your birth team. Seeing these images and reliving the moment you met your baby, floods the body with oxytocin which not only enhances your relationship with your baby by triggering nurturing feelings and behaviours, but also assists in the release of milk in breastfeeding. Oxytocin is crucial during postpartum because it’s the “feel good/love” hormone and if we’re able to induce the natural production of this hormone, then we should be encouraging this by any means.
A documented birth story can also act as a therapy tool after a traumatic birth. I know of psychologists that have requested clients take their documented birth story with them to their appointment to help process what they’ve been through.
This image is of relief. Not because the pregnancy and labour are over, but because her baby is alive. This woman wanted to capture the moment in time her baby was born, knowing how momentous it would be after the loss of her full term baby a year earlier. She dreamed of holding her Rainbow baby alive but was so apprehensive that it would only be a dream that she hired me as her birth photographer so that she could forever look back and know that it was real.
This is not just a policy targeted at birth photographers. NO photography of your baby entering the world will be permitted…not by your partner, not by your Doula, not by anyone in your birth team!
This is yet another example of birth autonomy being stripped away from us.
Please sign and share the petition to have this policy changed: Petition to allow birth photos at RBWH
19 December 2018: RBWH have released a statement claiming that this has always been their policy and that parents are welcome to take photos before, during and after the birth but professional photography is limited to before and after the birth. You can see their full statement in response to the release of our petition, here: RBWH statement
20 December 2018: We responded to RBWH with a public statement which outlines information that the public need to be aware of i.e. full transparency. You can see our response here: Public response to RBWH