4 in 10 commuters WON’T give up their seat for a pregnant woman and just 2% of those that would, won’t offer their seat in the first trimester, mostly out of fear of mistaking someone for not being pregnant. I’ve done it before, one of the most embarrassing moments I’ve experienced was one scorching July evening, standing up to give my seat to a ‘pregnant’ lady who, in her words, ‘had overdone it on her holiday & was very much not pregnant’.. Which had me getting off the tube two stops earlier than my actual stop out of embarrassment!
It also happened to me, when I would of in fact been around 15/16 weeks pregnant, so 3ish weeks before we found out I was expecting I was offered a seat on the train by a lady.. I was too mortified to admit that I wasn’t actually pregnant so I sat in the seat & engaged in a conversation for the rest of my journey with her about gender & baby clothes!
This time around thankfully I only get the mainline train and no yucky central line but getting a seat is horrendous, especially as I travel in rush hour going and coming home from work. So many commuters glance up and quickly back down at the sight of a pregnant woman entering the carriage, I’ve been barged in front of by other commuters to get on the train so they can nab a seat before me & I’ve fainted more times on the train in the last few months than I care to recollect, which is probably why now when I get on in the mornings I’m always offered a seat!
I definently found the first 12 weeks the worst, I felt guilty being given a seat & because I wasn’t visibly pregnant I didn’t feel able to ask but it was the sickest that I felt throughout and we had a balmy September/October which made it even worse!
If you also travel to work by train, read my tips on commuting while pregnant:
- Order a Baby on Board as soon as you find out! They’re free from TFL and only take a few days to come through. The earlier you are the more beneficial the badge will be. TFL Baby on Board Badge.
- For the last 8 weeks of your pregnancy before maternity leave, Greater Anglia, my trainline, offer a first class upgrade if no seats are available in standard class. Check your own trainline for similar arrangements. Greater Anglia Mums to Be.
- Take a bottle of water/juice on the train with you, even if it isn’t a warm day you need the hydration, especially when there’s a lack of o2!
- Snacks! My bag is always full of cereal bars, graze boxes etc. for the morning commute especially if I haven’t managed to have breakfast before I leave.
- Comfortable shoes are a must, I must admit I’ve always told myself I’d never be one of those commuters that wear trainers with a skirt & I still won’t BUT do wear comfortable shoes, especially when whizzing on and off trains.
- Tubes & Underground commuters, don’t bundle up. Sacrifice the scarf and extra cardigan and leave them at work for when you arrive, there’s barely enough room for you and bump without outstretching your arms to take off layers.
- DO make a fuss, you are pregnant, you and baby are PRIORITY. Ask if no one offers, no one wants to see a pregnant woman KO’ed on the floor (trust me.. Very sorry morning train friends) Yes, the person offering you a seat may possibly be miffed they have bagged a seat & are giving it up for you, but ultimately you need that seat more than they do. If you are feeling shy and no one is acknowledging the badge or bump, stand in the middle of the carriage, ask people to move down, take off your coat, make a bit of noise, someone will soon look up and courteously give you that needed seat.