Barbara Harper

The Oregonian newspaper once referred to Barbara Harper as “the Billy Graham of waterbirth” when they described her “missionary” style of promoting waterbirth around the world.  She has stated that she prefers to think of herself more as the “Mother Teresa” of waterbirth, having put all of her personal and professional resources into making waterbirth an available option for all women.

She has lectured in 43 countries, including many medical schools, nursing schools, midwifery programs and university women’s studies departments. Barbara has been interviewed by newspapers and magazines and has appeared on radio and TV shows to talk about her work with waterbirth and gentle birth.

Barbara Harper, a former obstetric, pediatric and neurosurgical nurse, is an internationally recognized expert on waterbirth and childbirth reform. The founder and director of Waterbirth International, she maintains a very active teaching and consulting schedule within hospitals, universities and community groups worldwide. She is also a midwife, doula, childbirth educator as well as a published author and film producer. She was recognized in 2002 by Lamaze International for her contributions in promoting normal birth on an international level. Her book, Gentle Birth Choices and is required reading in many midwifery programs and doula trainings and has been translated into seven languages. Her next book, Embracing the Miracle: How Pregnancy, Birth and the First Hour Influence Human Potential is in process. Barbara has dedicated her life to helping heal the way we welcome babies into the world and to help parents and providers understand the benefits of warm water immersion during labour. The mother of three adult children (two born at home in water), she lives in Boca Raton, Florida, where she is active in her community as a volunteer, a midwifery and doula mentor and teacher.

Her websites are and