Some weeks ago Anna appeared in a Product Review article written for Mother&Baby and got a 2-star review.
As a small business & someone who have worked tirelessly for 4 years to develop this product I won’t lie, it was upsetting. After taking time to process it, I’ve come to realise that there is still a lot to learn and it is not all bad. Here, I wanted to address some of the issues that the editor had and hopefully give more of an explanation to ease concern and worry. It's also hugely useful to me as a small business owner to understand what we need to be communicating better and how people will approach the product.
After-all, this is only one person's experience, and here are my learnings -
Anxiety in Pregnancy
I myself experienced anxious pregnancies - because let's face it, pregnancy can be nerve wrecking, but the medical research supports the safety of lying bump-down during pregnancy and I have not hit the drum hard enough. From reading the review, it was clear that Maria was anxious about the concept of lying on your bump before using the pillow. She could only manage to 'lie on the Anna bump down for more than a few minutes' and goes on to say 'the anxiety kicked in'. It is completely normal to feel nervous when using a new product such as Anna. The most natural position a woman can spend time in during pregnancy is bump-down. Unfortunately there is a huge stigma that by lying on your front you will crush your baby. Natal Comfort wants to break down the taboos around pregnancy and help build confidence in woman that it is safe and absolutely fine to lie bump down throughout your pregnancy. Read about the existing Medical Research to support the safety of lying bump down during pregnancy here.
When your bump touches the surface
Depending on how far along you are, your bump may not touch the surface. But for the majority of women, especially as their pregnancy progresses, their bump touches the surface and this is completely normal. However, there should not be any pain, discomfort or pressure when lying on Anna.
During both of my pregnancies and throughout, my bump touched the surface. But that is it, it touched. I never felt pressure, I never felt pain or discomfort. I was in complete bump-down bliss. In fact, at 40 weeks with my second I had the most heavenly back massage from my Osteopath. No matter how hard she pressed down on me, my bump stayed in place and the pillow adjusted to support me & my baby.
A great point raised and we will most definitely make this information more widely available to help avoid the misperception when using Anna.
Professionals and Medical Research
There are a number of medical professionals using Anna on a daily basis to treat their patents in their practices. In addition, we've partnered with the University of Manchester and Saint Mary's Hospital, Manchester to continue building on the existing medical research, led by Prof Alexander Heazell MBChB(Hons) PhD MRCOG and funded by The Dowager Countess Eleanor Peel Trust (DCEPT). More about the study can be read here. We are hopeful that our initial study will be the first of many that can help expand and identify the different benefits woman can experience during pregnancy by lying on their front. This is a slow process but active and progressing behind the scenes.
If you ask your midwife she will tell you that it is perfectly safe to lie on your bump throughout your pregnancy - as long as you are comfortable and experience no pain. In addition, NHS midwives are not allowed to endorse products that doesn’t form part of the NHS Supply Chain. We are working on becoming part of the NHS Supply Chain so that the ability to lie on your front during pregnancy is possible for all women.
Our primary focus is to help pregnant women. We believe in healthy competition, and at the end of the day if a product solves your problem you should do what works best for you.
Anna is a safe, compact and affordable solution that you can use in the comfort of your own home, or take it along to any health-related treatments & activities. It does not fall into the same category as the product suggested as an alternative, which is marketed solely towards medical professionals, double in size & price. We personally won't recommend a mother-to-be to buy such a product because its intention is to be used in a practitioner's environment.
Anna isn't just a pregnancy pillow that you pop between your legs or under your bump, filled with polystyrene or polyester. It is made of medical-grade PU foam to ensure there are no moving parts so that your bump and spine gets the best support possible. The double layer of Cotton-Lycra covers ensures your bump is cocooned and held safely & comfortably without putting any strain on your back, keeping it straight, and preventing your bump from pulling your spine into the opposite direction.
We welcome all types of feedback as this is the only way we can improve our product & services. The message that we received through this review, is that there is more focus on the concern of lying on your front than an actual product.
Finally, safety IS at the absolute centre of everything we do at Natal Comfort.