April 21, 2020
With the uncertainty of the COVID 19 pandemic, and with visitors being limited in hospitals, I wanted to offer up some tips to capture some birth moments for yourselves!
Lighting is everything. Turn off all overhead lights and use window light only (if possible). If you are laboring at night or in a very dark room, don’t worry about windows and go ahead and turn on overhead lights.
This may seem silly, but be mindful of your outfits and what you would like to see in the photos. For moms, if you want to have a more modest look, I recommend keeping a bra (sports bra, bathing suit top, etc) on while laboring. The birthing center doesn’t require you to wear a gown, so bring with you anything comfortable that you feel good wearing. For dads, stick to neutral colored shirts to eliminate distractions in the photos.
Take photos during each phase of labor. Be sure to capture mom laboring in different positions (bed, tub, walking around). Take some while the nurse is checking her.
Document the room details during some downtime (fetal monitor machine, heart rate/rhythm of baby, any personal things that mom brought with her).
Ask the nurse after one of her checks if she will take a few photos of dad supporting mom during contractions. It’s so sweet to have those images of dad holding mom’s hand or reassuring her.
During the pushing, dad will most likely be standing by mom’s head of the bed. This is a great angle to take photos from because you have a great shot of baby coming out (while maintaining some modestly for mom). Feel free to snap some while she is pushing, then ask if you can hand off your camera to an extra nurse. Usually there is a team of nurses (plus the OB) in the room for the actual pushing/delivery. There should be a neonatal nurse on standby in the room, and she/he would be a good one to ask. The reason to hand it off is so that dad can be more present when the baby actually comes out and to be able to capture his reaction when he finds out the gender.
Once baby arrives, he/she will be placed on mom’s chest immediately. This is the PERFECT time for photos. Your OB will clamp and cut the umbilical cord within a few minutes, so be sure to take a photo of that. You are also able to ask to photograph the placenta (once delivered) at this time too.
While on mom’s chest, the nurse will begin her assessment (listening to lungs/heart, placing an armband, etc).
If able to breastfeed, the nurses will encourage that while doing skin to skin. Take photos of that first time breastfeeding. You can also get quite a few detail shots while baby is on mom’s chest (toes, fingers, etc). Be mindful of angles during this time, because the OB will most likely still be stabilizing/stitching up mom. It is usually best to take some photos from the head of the bed angle downward or from above.
After a period of skin to skin, the nurse will take baby to be weighed/measured. This should all be done in the room, but be sure to sneak over and take photos of the baby on the scale.
I know it’s easier said than done, but don’t stress too much about the photos. If you feel comfortable or are able to, absolutely go for it! But if you just want to be present and in the moment, don’t feel like you have to. And definitely don’t feel bad asking for a nurse to take a few for you. If they have a problem with it, they will tell you (but I promise they do it all the time!).