WBI Mission Statement
We seek to ensure that waterbirth is an available option for all women in all birth settings.
Waterbirth International began in 1988, in Santa Barbara, California, by a concerned group of women and men who wanted to “ensure that waterbirth is an available option for all women.” From a humble beginning in the living room of Barbara Harper and Harry Kislevitz, to the ripple effects of women birthing babies in water today, the core mission remains the same.
Waterbirth International has been and will continue to be a leading voice in seeking gentler, kinder, and easier ways to welcome babies into the world.
We accomplish our mission through programs designed to educate parents and professionals about the Gentle Birth model of maternity care.
This model of care includes the use of warm water immersion for labor and birth, and has the benefits of improving birth outcomes and substantially reducing the costs of health care.
We provide resources, consultations, in-service education, workshops and conferences for professionals worldwide to assist with the integration of waterbirth protocols in hospitals, birth centers and home birth practices.
We offer vibrant online or in-person education, workshops for birth practitioners or parents. Our Waterbirth Certification and Education Workshops have been taken by over 5000 birth professionals worldwide.
What is Gentle Birth?
Gentle Birth is an evidence-based model of maternity care, developed by practitioners worldwide, which incorporates current research on the psycho-neuro-physiology of the mother/baby pair and the consciousness of the fetus/newborn .
Gentle Birth respects and supports the innate childbearing process of both the mother and the baby. Gentle Birth Facilitators understand the importance and significance of an undisturbed and supported birth experience. The brain of the new human being entering the world develops through sensations in the environment. The mother’s thoughts, feeling, and emotions affect the fetal blood flow and brain wiring..
Gentle Birth uses integrative health care practices to promote wellness during pregnancy and throughout the birth. Gentle Birth is responsive to the unique physiology unfolding in the mother and baby and follows the dictum, “First, Do No Harm,” when considering all interventions.
Rooted in a strong sense of “pure service,” Gentle Birth Facilitators place the physical, psychological, and emotional well-being of the mother-infant pair, above all other system considerations, and they uphold the right of childbearing women to exercise full autonomy in their care decisions, while still working collaboratively.
Gentle Birth Facilitator trainings have been given in many parts of the globe for the past decade.
We now offer the full Waterbirth Certification Course online in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese.
The workshop covers all the most current research, recognizing and preventing emergencies in waterbirth, pool set up, infection control, establishing a research protocol and much more. If you are interested in sponsoring or attending a workshop near you, click the button below to send us a message.
In order to accomplish the incredible vision of waterbirth becoming a common practice in all parts of the world, changes must be made in the way we treat women in labor and the way we welcome new human beings into this world. Waterbirth International (WBI) has been working non-stop for three decades providing education, training, video programs, articles, consultations and referrals for parents and practitioners. There have been major accomplishments since our humble beginning as a 501-C-3 nonprofit organization. We are very proud of the fact that we have assisted with the installation of birth pools in hundreds of hospitals and birth center in the US and other countries around the globe, including Canada, Mexico, Spain, Israel, Taiwan, China, Turkey, Egypt, Argentina, Ecuador, Nicaragua and India.
We also assisted over 6000 with portable pool rentals and sales for water labor and waterbirth. Parents, midwives and doctors come to us for information and reassurance. Countless more couples have watched our videos and DVDs and shared them with family, friends and providers. All of this has helped change the consciousness of birth and parenting.
Waterbirth International is now a privately owned company and no longer operating under the auspices of Global Maternal/Child Health Association. WBI is now only focusing on education, training, mentoring and consulting. Barbara Harper, the founder and current director of Waterbirth International, will continue in the role of leading and directing the educational workshops while more people are trained to teach and interact with hospitals. The goals are still the same – to ensure that waterbirth becomes an available option for all women and to change the way we welcome babies into the world. We are proud to have been active during the 1990s in projects in the former Soviet Republics, bringing over 1 million dollars worth of donated medical supplies and clothing to nine different sites in four countries, including, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. We are actively educating doctors, midwives and nurses in all parts of world on the principles and practices of Gentle Birth, which include the use of warm water immersion for labor and birth.
We began teaching a one or two day seminar for birth providers and birth support professionals in 2009. The Waterbirth Certification Workshop has been taught in many cities in the US, Canada, Mexico, China, Taiwan, Egypt, Israel, Holland, Germany, India and many other countries. One workshop in Beijing had over 500 midwives in attendance.
We will continue this important work all over the globe.