Brazil has one of the highest caesarean rates in the world. Now, in a bid to encourage more women in the country to embrace natural childbirth, one woman is sharing photographs of every stage of her pregnancy.
Including the 20-hour labour and home birth.
Gustavo Gomes, a Brasila-based photographer, says he has long been capturing images of girlfriend Priscila and their home life. So following the surprise news that she was pregnant, taking pictures of her growing baby bump came naturally.
In an incredibly brave move however, Priscila then agreed to let Gomes continue taking snaps as she went into labour two months ago.
“Our country has the highest caesarean rates in the world,” Gomes tells us.
“Around 50% of births in the public health system (SUS) and shockingly 87% in the private system are via C-section - most of them with no medical reasons. Just because caesareans can be scheduled and are quicker for the doctors to operate.”
Both Gomes and Priscila wanted their baby to be born naturally, and also at their home in Brazil's capital.
To help them through their experience the couple hired a doula (a woman trained to offer non-medical help and support), and after going into labour on a Sunday evening, Priscila was helped to deliver her baby by an obstetrician and a paediatrician who came to the house.
After a 20-hour labour baby Violeta was born naturally.
While Gomes had photographed everything from Priscila’s first contraction to the warm showers recommended by doctors to help ease her pain, he says he finally set the camera down to hold his daughter as she came into the world.
“Besides being our personal story, we hope these photos can raise awareness about natural and home childbirth in Brazil,” says Gomes.
“Priscila and I never felt helpless during the whole process with a doula, an obstetrician and a paediatrician, and we hope that these photos can demystify natural and home child births, and encourage future mothers to avoid unnecessary C-sections.”
From winces of agony to the tender first moments of motherhood, see a few of Gustav Gomes' O Parto photography series below, and visit gustavominas.com for more.
All images courtesy of Gustavo Gomes / Words: Amy Lewis