Extraordinarily Intimate Photographs Reveal The Faces Women Around The World Pull While Giving Birth

Every experience has a certain weight in someone’s life, but few things can stand out more than bearing and giving birth to a child. Photographer Moa Karlberg, originally from Stockholm, captured intimate moments of women during childbirth to show the differences in care for women in Europe and Africa. The series, named “Hundred Times a Difference,” was made in black and white and shows the expressions on the faces of women during childbirth.

Attending labors in both Sweden and Tanzania, Karlberg kept her camera with her at all times and captured some amazing photographs, documenting the agony and ecstasy of the birth process.

According to Moa, while mothers in Europe had access to medication and medical help, women in Tanzania gave birth in clinics with no basic or medical structure – and not even a trained midwife. However, Moa told the Daily Mail how amazed she was by the similarity of the women’s facial expressions when giving birth.

Throughout the images, there are many expressions: grit and sensitivity, anxiety and expectation, pain and mood. But in their intimate perspective, the photos emphasize the women’s shared experience – the inward focus and physical determination in their final transformative moments of becoming mothers.

What do you think of the images?

Swedish photographer Moa Kalberg captured a woman in Tanzania as she closes her eyes during childbirth.


Karlberg noted that Swedish women took nitrous oxide and painkillers and could make more noise as they were in private rooms.

Karlberg says that despite the huge disparities in women’s lifestyles in Sweden and Tanzania she was struck by the similarities in their facial expressions.

The photographer says that the women and their partners could have asked her to leave at any point but never did.


Karlberg shot her first childbirth as an intern at a Swedish newspaper when she found herself sharing that ‘intense and crucial moment.’

The Swedish births Moa witnessed, the more lucky she felt Scandinavian women especially compared to less-resourced hospitals around the world, including the clinics of Tanzania.


Karlberg discovered that maternity wards in Sweden didn’t mind her being there to capture the experience as long as she respected staff.


Karlberg says she doesn’t want to raise awareness by providing facts and numbers, ‘What I want is to provoke real feelings and identification.’

Karlberg gained access to clinics where Tanzanian women came to have their babies through NGOs and sympathetic translators.

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