STUDENT midwife Katie Burton, 26, from Bolton, is so grateful for the charity support she is getting in her training that she's running the London Marathon in April as a thank-you.

Katie moved to Hillingdon 18 months ago to pursue her career dream and is halfway through her degree at the University of West London. She is studying with the help of midwifery charity Iolanthe.

Katie, 26, from Bolton, is desperate to help London-based Iolanthe, whose mission statement is "motivating and inspiring midwives to be creative and committed to the best care for women and babies".

Iolanthe supports and funds student midwives in projects that will help expectant mothers and other midwives.

Katie is passionate about nutrition and fitness and wants to link this with midwifery, so she can advise mums-to-be. She also aims to address obesity issues.

Katie’s advice is:

• If you did not already exercise before the birth, do not throw yourself into physical exercise that will over-exert you, though doing something will be great for you and your baby. Check with your GP and midwife first.

• If you exercised before you were pregnant, carry on and stay active after seeking advice from your GP or midwife.

• Expectant mothers should get their five-a-day of fruit and vegetables, and be mindful of their sugar intake.

• Keeping up your water intake is also vital.

She said: ‘The first birth I helped with was amazing. I cried and it’s nice when you help with breastfeeding and it works for the mum."

Births are on the increase, The Royal College of Midwives says there were 687,007 live births in the UK in 2010 and 694,241 in 2012. With an ever-growing population the number of births is set to further increase and so, more midwives will be needed.

The traditional route to becoming a midwife is to study for GCSEs and A-levels and then go on to complete a university degree.

Katie did not follow this route. She was working full-time in an office job at the Child Support Agency when she was inspired to become a midwife by shows such as One Born Every Minute and Call the Midwife.

She enrolled on a distance-learning Access course at Manchester College while working full-time. Her advice to those interested in becoming a midwife is to get as much hands-on experience as possible.

At UWL, students undertake full-time work placements and Katie’s is at Hillingdon Hospital.

She said: "The shifts can be long but it’s a really positive thing for me to get involved with and the practical way is a good way of learning."

Katie is currently training three times a week for her marathon, using her local gym and pounding the pavements when the weather isn’t so defeating.

She is working hard to raise more funds to reach her £1,400 target by planning to hold a Great British Bake Off-style cake-stall at UWL.

If you would like to support Katie and the work that Iolanthe does, you can donate any amount at