Barbara Harper is an internationally recognized expert on waterbirth and gentle birth. She founded Waterbirth International in 1987, with one goal in mind – to ensure that waterbirth is an “available option” for all birthing families. She has published dozens of professional articles and interviewed in hundreds of magazines, newspapers and talk shows. Her 2015 bestselling book and DVD, ‘Gentle Birth Choices,’ has been translated into 9 languages, including a 2016 Mandarin Chinese edition. During the past four decades Barbara has worked as an obstetric and pediatric nurse, midwife, midwifery instructor, childbirth educator, doula and doula trainer and Blissborn Hypnosis instructor and professional trainer. She has used her vast experience in maternity care to develop unique seminars which she teaches within hospitals, nursing schools, midwifery and medical schools and community groups worldwide. Prior to Covid Barbara traveled and taught in 75 countries. She is asked to return for training in hospitals yearly in many countries including China, Argentina, UAE, Israel, Spain, Mexico, Chile, and locations all over the US. She lives in Boca Raton, Florida, and currently is the Director of Education for the Bliss Birth and Wellness Center in West Palm Beach. She is a community volunteer and midwifery and doula mentor.
In this episode:
Barbara Harper, a waterbirth expert, shares the benefits of water for labor and birth Barbara's interest in waterbirth began after seeing photos of women giving birth in glass tanks in Moscow The birth of waterbirth is explored, including personal experience and facing opposition from midwives Waterbirth is seen as a gift that allows for a gentler, more empowering birthing process The importance of changing the way we welcome babies into the world is acknowledged, including introducing waterbirth in hospitals and making it an accessible option for all
Waterbirth is a gentler and more empowering birthing process that allows for easier connection and release of hormones during birth. The journey to making waterbirth a widely accepted birthing option faced opposition from those who believed it was unnatural, including midwives. Barbara Harper, a waterbirth expert, became interested in waterbirth in 1983 after seeing photos of women giving birth in glass tanks in Moscow. Making waterbirth an accessible option for all requires motivated mothers, willing providers, and cooperative nurse managers, and acknowledging the importance of changing the way we welcome babies into the world.
“It's easier for the mother to assume that upright posture to put her hands on her perineum, to guide the baby out herself. It's easier for her to connect and to release all of the 33 hormones that birthing requires.” - Barbara Harper