A new product has arrived in the world of pregnancy comfort. Invented by Emma Benson, mother of Olivia, 5 and Amelie, 3 it has been a long time in the making. ‘I originally thought up the idea just over 5 years ago, 28 weeks pregnant on holiday in spain,’ says Emma. ‘I was aware that lying on my back with my tummy in the sun was not advisable as apparently your unborn baby doesn’t like the brightness in its eyes and will turn away in the womb. Lying on my front was just not an option unless I dug a big hole in the sand! It seemed obvious that all I needed was a lilo with a hole in it for my tummy to go in.’
Emma waited another 3 years and another child later until she finally managed to find the time and energy needed to get going on this project. Finding a suitable manufacturer via the internet and engaging in email correspondance produced a first prototype in April 2008. ‘The first prototype that arrived was enormous, the hole was too big and the actual size of the lilo was such that no one could have blown it up by mouth and certainly wouldn’t be able to transport it around via car without totally deflating it first.’ says Emma.
3 prototypes later and still the hole was proving a problem as even when not pregnant, anyone lying on it found that their tummy fell into the hole and a strain was automatically put onto the back due to lack of support for the pelvis. During this period Emma had applied for the Mumpreneurs competition that was being run on GMTV and was accepted as a contestant. Unfortunately due to her lack of confidence in the product at this point she decided to back out at the last minute.
The project was at this point abandoned, but at the back of Emma’s mind she knew this was a product that had a place in the market as it didn’t exist at present and was definitely something that she would have wanted when pregnant, not just for on holiday but for relaxation at home too. So surely if she wanted it someone else would too.
8 months later, inspiration came and again she contacted the manufacturers in Taiwan, hoping they hadn’t lost interest and provided them with a new design. This time a raised rim around the hole provided the support needed for the back. Reduced in size and with the added rim another prototype arrived. ‘This time it was comfortable for me, my neighbour and my Mum, although we weren’t pregnant, but at least it didn’t hurt our backs. So far, so good.’ said Emma. The next test was pregnant people! Luckily Emma had two pregnant friends. The first, Grace, 8 months pregnant, lay on it and she said it was really comfortable and would like to keep it! The second, Sarah-Jayne, 5 months pregnant, was a little sceptical but lay down on it anyway, her face lit up immediately and she said it was surprisingly comfortable and would definitely buy one when they were produced and one for each of her pregnant friends. Success!
On the back of these approvals, Emma decided to go ahead and order a first batch of 500. Now they are here. Sarah-Jayne now 8 and half months pregnant took the first one and is lying on it now. So with a patent pending and a design registration in place it is time to present this new product to the world!