Dr Lionel Steinberg: Empowering Women


So much of the focus for birth photography is on the mother to be and the partner, but there is another significant element to be considered, the obstetrician.

In the past we have been delighted to work with Dr Lionel Steinberg, an incredibly forward thinking obstetrician with focus on empowering women through their labour to reach healthy and natural delivery.

Lionel has opened up on his views on the process of birth photography, dispelling some of the reservations people may hold regarding the practice in a recent discussion.

Kelly: Did you have any reservations in having a professional photographer in the delivery suite?  

Lionel: Not at all. In general the concern or consideration for having additional ‘people’ in the birth suite is how that may impact on the mother.  Does she feel watched or judged? Feeling like she needs to perform. Based on my experience with Kelly, she was able to be ‘present’ but unobtrusive. I have no reservations about working with Kelly again but would encourage women to be potentially mindful of these considerations with others.

Kelly: What would you say to parents who are considering either amateur or professional birth photography?

Lionel:I would encourage them to pursue their plans and find just the right fit, someone that they have met with and discussed their birth with prior to the actual day/night. Birth is such an amazing journey and having someone to capture these precious moments is a great idea. Women often find strength in looking back at these images after birth, watching how they were supported and just how strong and capable they were. The intensity of birth can leave women feeling like periods of time just blur together, images give them the chance to reflect.

Kelly: How do you see increased interest in birth photography impacting your patients approach to birth?

Lionel: Don’t they say a photo says a thousand words? An image of a woman in labour has the power to depict strength, focus and determination.  Women often comment after watching a ‘birth video’ that the unique noises of birth are confronting. A still image can portray the power, intensity and beauty of birth without over whelming the senses. It also takes birth out of the realms of editors and producers, with the drama removed woman are presented with an image that says…Birth is POSSIBLE!

Kelly: What would you say to other Obstetricians about birth photography?

Lionel: To put their preconceived ideas aside to see the positive influence that often results. If a family are investigating birth photography they are essentially telling their Obstetrician, not to gain permission but to gauge their reaction. Thus presenting the OB with the perfect opportunity to empower their client to make choices that are right for them. Kelly has just the perfect balance between photographic skill and an ability to be present without ‘getting in the way’ (of the woman or the team). The images she takes capture so many different elements of labour. Partner support, a woman’s strength and the entry of a new life into the world. I would happily recommend her to other Obstetricians and clients that have questions or were interested in birth photography.


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