Hello, I’m Lesley Gilchrist, a Registered Midwife and co-founder of My Expert Midwife which I launched in 2016 with my business partner, Claire Charlton a massage specialist.
Pregnancy and birth always fascinated me, so becoming a midwife was inevitable. I trained as a midwife in Newcastle and qualified in 2003 and immediately felt at home in my first job as a midwife. It was only when I became pregnant for the first time that I truly realised what women genuinely needed to help them during pregnancy; and understood what early parenting is like; the challenges and rewards. For me, my abiding memory was the first week and what an affect that pain had on my recovery; nothing seemed to work.
Fast-forwarding to 2013 and struggling to manage juggling 2 young children whilst working night shifts in the NHS and studying for a master’s degree in Clinical Research Methods, I took the plunge and began offering private midwifery services and antenatal classes.
Offering private midwifery care meant that I was spending much more time with a family both before and after birth, and, during my master’s degree, I had begun exploring the effects of birth trauma on physical and psychological recovery. From this research it became apparent that the physical and emotional effects of pregnancy, birth and recovery are interlinked; if you can reduce the physical effects, such as pain, lack of sleep, nutrition, it will have less impact on the emotional effects, such as anxiety and lowered pain tolerance.
More importantly, my research showed that there were natural solutions to help overcome this, such as essential oils, aromatherapy, exercise and massage. All of which had robust research to support their use. So robust in fact that many NHS Hospital Trusts advise the use of essential oils for pregnancy ailments, labour, and postnatally for perineal tears.
Taking a holistic approach to this problem, with the help of an aromatherapist and chemist, we developed our first range of products that were designed with these problems in mind: A Perineal Spray, Spritz for Bits to soothe and calm the perineum both in pregnancy and postnatally was our first mission as there was nothing available to women on the market so that was our priority.
It took two years of painstaking work to perfect the formulation of Spritz for Bits and our other products as we had to make sure that not only did the active ingredients work, but that the delivery system was as practical as possible.