Barbara with a new mother she helped experience a water labor in Istanbul, Turkey




Waterbirth Certification Workshops for providers and certificates of nurses for nurses, doulas and childbirth educators have been taught in major US cities and internationally for the past 6 years. 


Barbara is working on a new book for release in 2016. " Birth, Bath and Beyond: A Practical Waterbirth Guide for Parents and Providers." 

Gentle Birth Choices Book



Barbara's niece Kaitlyn


"What a wonderful birth this was. I'm so glad I read Gentle Birth Choices by Barbara Harper, her book gave me peace of mind during a time that, for me, was filled with certain fears."

-Carrie, mother of:

Jaden Emily
Born at Home 9/28/2004

El Dorado, CA, USA

Submitted 10/24/2006



Jennifer Padtra is grateful for another wonderful home waterbirth



I am days away from having my 3rd experience!  I will post what I hope is my next water birth experience!  I tell everyone how great it is- how physically forgiving the water birth delivery really is to the anatomy.  I labored in water & had to deliver on land with my first, labored & delivered in water with my second and hope to repeat the last birth for my third.  I cannot tell you in adequate words how grateful I am for this experience.


Stephanie Hansen-Sturm 

Studio City, California


Photo by Campbell Salgado Studios, Portland, OR


"My introduction to waterbirth was an article in the National Enquirer of all places! Can you imagine basing almost three decades of work for mothers and babies on that sensational news rag?? Well, the story of Russian women birthing in clear glass tanks challenged my thinking about how to use water for labor and birth. My son, Sam, was born just past midnight in my candle lit bedroom with only my husband and midwife present. Right then I made a solemn promise to spread the good news about the miracle of water for labor and birth. Fast forward 28 years and here we are helping millions of families discover the empowering effects of laboring and giving birth in water. No wonder I love my job so much. Just read all the comments from mothers about their experiences in water and you will see what I am talking about. Thank you for spending some time on our site. Drop me an email and let me know what you think about the current state of birth in the world, your own birth experiences or waterbirth in general. Join with me to change the way we welcome babies into the world."  Barbara Harper 




Barbara on the beach in 1988


Barbara Harper’s professional inspiration began with a close and loving relationship with her grandmother, Estella Ethel Harper Lemunyon, who was a nurse and midwife for 47 years.  Barbara became a registered nurse in 1975 and has worked in obstetrics, pediatrics, and cardiac and neurosurgical intensive care.
Estella Harper LemonyonEstella Ethel Harper Lemunyon
In 1988 she founded Waterbirth International after researching water immersion principles as an option for a gentle birth experience for mother and child.  She birthed two of her children at home in water.  Her continuous research and exploration, first-hand knowledge with her own births, and as a practicing midwife, are her motivation to expand the use of water during labor and birth.
Barbara is a leading voice for childbirth and maternity reform, an author, an educator and an internationally recognized expert on the use of warm water immersion for labor and birth.  
Barbara has been interviewed by hundreds of newspapers, magazines, and websites and has appeared on dozens of radio and television shows, including ABC Morning Show, LA Live, The Doctors on CBS.  She has lectured in more than 60 countries at many hospitals, medical and nursing schools, midwifery programs. She has collaborated with architects and designers to build state-of-the-art hospital waterbirth suites.
Today Barbara is launching new learning initiatives to expand the opportunity for all birth professionals and parents to learn about waterbirth.  Online courses as well as in-person training and keynote appearances are reaching students in many countries.  Check the calendar and course links to find a time and date where Barbara will be near you.
Barbara’s mission of making waterbirth an available option for all women remains steadfast.  Her commitment to bring evidence-based, best practices to today’s birth professionals and parents is absolute. 
Become part of the wave that is changing the way babies are welcomed into the world



Barbara at the Breath of Life Birth Center in Largo, Florida, using midwife Adriana Algeri to demonstrate positioning in the free-standing birth pool.
August 14, 2009 - during a Waterbirth Credentialing Workshop at the Birth Center

Her research and experiences resulted in the publication of Gentle Birth Choices, book and DVD, an all time best seller in childbirth books. She also produced Birth Into Being: The Russian Waterbirth Experience in cooperation with Alexi and Tatiana Sargunas in 2000, after traveling many times back to Russia. Midwives and parents alike have called her video programs "the most inspiring birth videos ever produced."



 Barbara Family

The most important part of Barbara's work is her close family.


Barbara signs copies of her book, Gentle Birth Choices, in the new Chinese edition on November 27, 2006. Her publisher and editors from Third Nature Publishing in Taipei, Taiwan have helped her arrange for lectures in medical and nursing schools. The book or DVD have now been translated into 9 languages, helping to introduce the concept of gentle birth and waterbirth around the world.

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