'My aim is to empower women'
A HULL midwife is flying out to India to train staff at a new birthing centre.
Julie Flint hopes to teach hospital employees about water births and dispel the myths around natural births when she travels to the country on Monday.
Julie, 53, who lectures midwifery at the University of Hull, will be joining a team of medics for five weeks in the city of Indore.
Julie was the co-founder of Birth and Beyond Consultancy and helps run the Beyond Coffee café in Chanterlands Avenue, Hull.
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She said: "I haven't been to India before, so I am only going on what I have heard, but doctors know some women come out of hospital having not had a good experience. In India, there is a lot of medical intervention.
"Some have felt violated. I want to make the whole experience more empowering for them."
Natural births in India are comparatively rare. It is thought between 80 and 90 per cent of births are by Caesarean section, compared with 25 per cent in the UK.
Julie set up Birth and Beyond to offer parents and parents-to-be in Hull a different approach to antenatal classes.
It is these classes that Julie is taking over to India, to teach Indore midwives and medical staff.
Julie said: "We as midwives know women who have had a good experience with their labour and birth feel more able to cope with early years and having a new baby at home.
"Physically, mum is far better if she is relaxed and feels comfortable and safe. A relaxed birth enhances her physical wellbeing."
The new birthing centre Julie is travelling to is at a private hospital, which is visited by more affluent residents of Indore.
She hopes if the richer members of society spread the word of natural births, other women will follow the trend.
She said: "Like anything else, if one person has a different experience they enjoy, they will tell other people about it, who will want to do it too.
"The ultimate goal is to inspire a different culture across the country.
"We really believe the way to change the culture is to start from the richer parts of society, with the trend eventually catching on and natural birth becoming better supported.
"I am very excited about going.
"The doctors there want to have a really good service that normalises birth and reduces the high number of C-sections."
Julie, who lives in the Avenues area of Hull, will be flying out to India on Monday.
She will be there for five weeks.
During her stay, a Bollywood actress will officially open the unit on International Women's Day – March 8.