1 Baby on board badge – some women swear by wearing it on their back rather than their lapel. Either way, flaunt it at any passengers being less than forward in offering their seat. Or take the advice of CrochetMom, who urged mums on our sister site BabyExpert to invest in several badges: “You’d need a few, one for back and one each side of bump as well as one plastered on your FOREHEAD.”
Pick up your baby on board badge at a Tube station, call TfL’s Customer Service Centre on 0845 330 9880 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Rub that baby bump – make absolutely sure your growing belly isn’t mistaken for a baggy top or too many cupcakes by undoing your coat and having a good stroke. But be warned, this may not always work, as MFMer Stacy Taylor found. Stacy let rip on our Facebook page after finding no one would stand up for her on the bus while she was pregnant. “I even made a show of rubbing my bump but no one bothered. Disgusting!” she fumed.
3 Carry a baby book or magazine – you may have read every last word of What to Expect, but leaning up against determined seat hoggers with a copy positioned at their eye level could just do the trick.
4 Huffing and puffing – even the most sleep-deprived commuter will be hard pressed to persevere with their slumber when in earshot of a heavily pregnant woman’s huffing and puffing. And it’s a scientific fact that mums-to-be get more breathless, what with all those organs being squashed by a growing baby.
5 Talk loudly about your due date – travelling with a colleague or friend? An audible conversation about your impending birth may rouse reticent passengers into offering their seat. It worked for Jaynie, writing on our sister site BabyExpert, when coming home from college with a large case. “I said pretty loudly that I [wasn’t] gonna pick up the heavy case at 30 weeks pregnant.” Jaynie-LivingDeadGirl
6 Stand near other women – it seems chivalry may be dead, as mums-to-be writing on our sister site BabyExpert found when travelling by train.
“Do men not have any consideration for woman anymore. Especially older ladies and pregnant ladies? Just yesterday I got shoved out the way for this man to get on the tube so he could have a seat!!” tashy1 on our forum tells us.
Donna Lakin agrees, in this post on our MFM Facebook page: “I fainted and when I came round [a] woman was fuming as a man had stepped over me to cross the road.”
7 Ask for a seat – many people are afraid to offer up their seat for fear of offending someone who may not be pregnant, so why not take your chance and simply ask? Ok, it didn’t work for 5- month pregnant Victoria Poskitt when she pleaded with South West Trains passengers for a seat when she became woozy, but appealing to commuters’ better nature may have an effect.
It has always worked a charm for mum April Pereira-Finn, who posted on our MFM Facebook page: “I’ve never had a problem. I always asked people if I could have a seat and people would part like the Red Sea to give me one.
“Why don’t people ever ask? Tbh I’m on my own world when I’m on a train or bus. People aren’t psychic.”
Finally, in early pregnancy, you may not want to broadcast the fact you are expecting, but why not try these tips for making your journey more comfortable?
- Always carry water – trains get hot, fact, and it may just about keep you from retching when the nausea gets too much.
- Plastic bag – if you are being physically sick, the last thing you want to worry about is vomiting over a fellow passenger. It ain’t glam, but a plastic bag tucked in your pocket (hole-free!) can set your mind at ease.
- Hanky doused in peppermint oil/whatever fragrance you can stomach – get lots of people together in a confined space and there will be smells. Enough said.
8 Upgrade to first class on the train
On some train operators – yes you can! Some will let you bagsy a first class seat, others will give you a special card to help you turf non-pregnant commuters off their comfy chairs, while others say they’ll help if you ask. Read our investigation into what pregnancy upgrades each train company offers around the UK.