Meet Barbara Harper

Natural Water Birth Expert


Renowned Gentle Birth Choices author Barbara Harper is available for conferences and other speaking engagements. She shares her extensive knowledge and passion for waterbirth and other gentle birth alternatives with midwives and other medical professionals interested in using her methods to promote a more relaxing birth experience for mother and baby. Contact us today to schedule Barbara for your next event. 

Barbara also specializes in preparing couples with Blissborn Childbirth Education – a five week self-hypnosis complete birth preparation course. She also provides a 2 hour private or group class to prepare couples for waterbirth.  Contact us today to schedule your private Blissborn Childbirth Education or Preparing for Waterbirth class.

We suggest you join a Blissborn class no later than your 32nd week of pregnancy to give you plenty of time to prepare for your birth. You can join as early as 24 weeks. 

Preparing for Waterbirth can be anytime during your pregnancy up to your birth date. 

Barbara Harper is on a mission. Since the tender age of 13, she has known her purpose and has pursued it with relentless passion. People call her the world’s leading expert on giving birth in water. She has taught in 75 countries, within medical schools, and midwifery schools.  More than 15,000 people have taken her water birth certification courses. 

Barbara’s professional inspiration for waterbirth started with a close and loving relationship with her grandmother, Estella Ethel Harper Lemunyon – a nurse and midwife for 47 years. Barbara became a Registered Nurse in 1975, following in her grandmother’s footsteps. She worked in obstetrics, pediatrics, cardiac, neurosurgical intensive care, and holistic nursing early in her career. She was on the first Board of the American Holistic Nurses Association in 1982.

While her grandmother’s dedication to nursing served as encouragement, it was not the spark that led Barbara to pursue gentle birth. It was her experience as a 13-year-old child denied the right to be present for the birth of one of her siblings that ignited her desire. From that moment forward, she vowed to become a leading voice in seeking gentler, kinder, and easier ways to welcome babies into the world.

In 1988, Barbara founded Waterbirth International after researching water immersion as a gentle birth option. Her own experience with water labor with two of her three children gave her insight into using water immersion during pregnancy and for her birth. Her commitment and dedication to home water birth and incorporating waterbirth in hospital labor and delivery unit and birthing centers sparked a global movement.

AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR, Gentle Birth Choices

Barbara is the author of Gentle Birth Choices, one of the top 10 recommended books for pregnant women and their families. This award-winning book outlines a model for maternity care that focuses on health and preparation to reduce the need for high-tech crisis intervention. An accompanying DVD blends interviews with midwives and physicians and includes natural water birth experiences from six families. Gentle Birth Choices is available in nine languages. The video is linked for download here. 

She also is a contributing author on The Women’s Collaborative Book Project, Bringing Birth Home. The book is a collection of stories from moms, midwives, and other birthing professionals. Inspirational and informative, women preparing for their birthing experience can use this book for informed decision-making and wisdom as they embrace their birth journey. 


Barbara’s mission to make waterbirth available to all women remains steadfast. She is committed to bringing evidence-based best practices to today’s birthing professionals and parents. Barbara serves as a natural waterbirth consultant to birthing centers and hospitals, helping them to implement gentle birth practices and the birth guardian model of care. She has collaborated with architects and designers to build state-of-the-art hospital waterbirth suites. 

Dozens of newspapers, magazines, bloggers, and podcasts have featured her extensive knowledge of waterbirth solutions. Barbara also has appeared on radio and TV shows, including ABC Morning Show, L.A. Live, and The Doctors (CBS) and has been featured in the NY Times. 

In addition to being the foremost expert on waterbirth, Barbara is a certified Blissborn Natural Childbirth educator and teacher. 

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