Birth photography gone wrong, and how to avoid exposing yourself on social media

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@wenfreed/TikTok
@wenfreed/TikTok

You've likely seen those beautiful first pics of a beaming mom and dad holding their newborn baby, still squishy from the womb, as they smile into the camera? 

You might even own one of two or those yourself. Some of them are not appropriate for public viewing, but remind you of cherished moments when you met your little one for the first time. 

But have you ever looked past the smiling faces and spotted something... else? 

This UK mom says she was "mortified" when her husband sent a lovely snap of the new threesome to all their friends and family - without noticing that she was still completely exposed!

The mom of three shared the experience on TikTok recently, captioning her video "Remembering when my husband sent pics to his whole family on a group text just after our son was born without cropping them". 

She also posted the photo in question, explaining she was "completely uncovered from the waist down, legs still in stirrups", and used a well placed emoji to spare herself further embarrassment. 

See the video here:

The realities of birth

Of course, this happens all too often. We don't all look as lovely as Kate Middleton straight after having a baby.

Other moms commented on @wenfreed's video, with one mom sharing "I had an c emergency section and he sent them a picture of my daughter COMING OUT OF ME. You could see my kidneys in the background."

Another shared "Yep, pic of the baby on the scale with me getting stitched up in the background. Straight on view." 

And who can forget this fantastic image posted on Facebook by Amanda Bacon in 2016? 

As the proud dad poses with his new baby, his postpartum wife reveals an unexpected glimpse of life in the maternity ward. 

Whether the shot was intentional or not, mom Amanda shared it to Facebook herself afterwards, in an effort to reveal the realities of postpartum life that aren't spoken about. 

So how to avoid a similar incident?

Besides suggesting that you look very carefully at the photo first, and crop if necessary, before sharing anywhere, Parent24 spoke to local birth photographer Alyona Polovchenko-Smith to get some professional tips. 

"It is not uncommon for dads to take photos of the birth using their phones or even proper cameras," she says.

"And in the event a family can’t have a birth photographer present I would encourage dads to take the lead and take at least a few photos, because the labour (as long as it may be sometimes) passes so quickly and the moment is lost and when all is over, moms often want to look back and remember what it was like."

However, she adds, the downside to dad playing the role of birth photographer is that he won’t be able to capture the full story from A to Z, or be in some pictures himself, and he may miss some important moments because the mom would need his full attention as a supportive birthing partner. 

Mind the rules 

Some hospitals may have certain rules around taking photos in the birthing room and theatre, as well as during certain procedures, so the number one thing to do would be to check with your gynae or midwife as well as the maternity ward what is allowed and what not.

"Also be mindful of birthing staff being photographed, they may or may not want to appear in the photos especially if they will be shared publicly. Always ask for their permission first," Alyona stresses. 

If you're hoping to ask the nurse to snap a few pics, note that some hospitals may have certain policies around that, be sure to check with the ward before approaching a nurse with such a request.

"If it is allowed but the nurse kindly refuses or seems uncomfortable with the idea, please don’t insist. Some people may not feel confident handling a camera or other person’s phone," she says. 

While some nurses may agree to take a photo or two, you must remember that it is not their primary responsibility, and you can’t make them in charge of capturing a specific moment of your birth.

"Their ability to perform their medical function should not be compromised; your and your baby’s well being may require their undivided attention especially during the last two stages of labour. 

Privacy in pics 

Alyona tells Parent24 that among the most cherished photos, the ultimate number one is the image of the new arrival and the "I did it" moment when the mom takes first look at her brand new baby.

But when it comes to deciding what to share with friends, family and social media, each family is different.

"I can suggest you run the images by the mother of the baby before sharing them with the family or with the public - women may feel vulnerable and self-conscious of the way they looked during labour. Always respect the privacy of the mother, never share any photos of exposed private parts of her body without her consent!" she urges. 

Birth is not a glamorous process, it is hard and tiring,  the mother may not feel particularly pretty in some images, so be sure to check with her which images she is okay to share, she adds.

When sharing the images of the baby with family or posting in social media, be mindful of exposing his/her private parts. Ask yourself a question "Would I be okay if a similar image of me as a baby was shared?" 

It is up to the family to decide when to post and what images to post, she says.

"Usually the family prefers to make the birth announcement within 48 hours of birth, and it is usually the photos of the newborn and/or the mother with a baby, or the whole family with their new arrival. If the mother decides to write about her birth, she may select the photos that would best illustrate her birth story," Alyona explains. 

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