'It's reprehensible': Outrage after hospital bans professional photos of births

Samuel Hussey
News Reporter

Photographers have launched a campaign demanding the right to capture photos during the birthing process at a major Queensland hospital.

The trend has become increasingly popular in recent years but the Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital has reiterated their stance on the matter, telling Yahoo News they have never allowed professional photographers to be present while a baby is being delivered.

A petition to change that policy has now received more than 8000 signatures, with the photographer behind the campaign describing the hospital’s stance as “reprehensible”.

“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,” Michella Palasia, who started the campaign, wrote on the change.org petition.

A woman who started the petition said it is reprehensible that photographers aren’t allowed to be present during the birthing process at the Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital. Image: Getty, file

“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.

A spokesperson from the RBWH told Yahoo7 News they had always allowed professional photographers to be present before and after a delivery, but given how delicate the process could be, there needed to be minimal distractions during the birth itself.

“This is yet another example of birth autonomy being stripped away from us.”

“Complications are rare, but can arise very quickly during a birth, so it’s crucial our team can perform their duties with the utmost care and attention, with no other distraction, so they can continue to provide focussed care,” the spokesperson said.

“While we make every effort to make our birthing suites as warm and homely as possible, they are clinical procedural areas.

“They are still highly technical areas with a range of emergency equipment on hand, so having additional people with additional equipment can potentially get in the way of the work our clinicians need to do.”

Thousands of people have signed a petition, demanding photographers be allowed to capture the birthing process at Queensland’s largest hospital. Image: Getty, file image

The spokesperson denied claims that fathers are also banned, saying they are welcome to capture the moment should they choose.

Social commentator Jane Caro backed the hospital’s stance, saying the health and well-being of the mother and the newborn baby should always be put first.

“I think if the hospital thinks it gets in the way of a healthy birth, then it should be banned,” she told Sunrise.

“The point of giving birth is a healthy mother and healthy baby.”