Apparently they have an awesome system on the Tube in London where mothers in their first trimester can wear a special badge that identifies them as expecting even before they are showing.
I am fortunate enough that I can (and actually have to) drive to work, but I can only imagine how I would have felt if I'd needed to stand on public transport in theose first few weeks. I'd struggle less now at 33 weeks.
When I was a student and did catch public transport, I ALWAYS offered my seat to anyone older than me, and definitely pregnant women. I caught a train recently and had to stop myself from offering my seat to an older gentleman - I realised that he probably wouldn't accept it from a visibly pregnant woman.
I always made an effort to stand for pregnant women if I saw one on the train.
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Personally I didn't ask until I was 20+ weeks. If I could go back in time I would have asked immediately. I used to give up my seat to anyone who was older than me or looked like they were exhausted and could use the seat. No one knows what complications you might or might not be going through and you have the right to sit down before them so why not take full advantage of it.
It used to take me a minimum 2 hours to get home and that was me rushing to make the transfers. It sucked standing for the full 2 hours but I didn't think it was my right to ask. There are so many things that can go wrong on public transport and standing poses a serious risk to you and your baby. I used to faint a lot at the start of my pregnancy and I did faint on the bus at one point. I was caught by the man standing beside me who has apparently seen me lose all the colour in my face and figured I was about to faint.
Sadly, I don't even look like I'm pregnant, I'm in my third trimester and still fitting into my normal clothes. I have a bump but it's not that big and even though I waddle now, I have yet to put on weight anywhere but out front.
I never asked and was never offered. I use to catch 2 trains to work in the morning, then 2 trains to my second job in the afternoon then a train and a bus home at night. I did that unitl 34 weeks. The trains to work were in peak hour so they were always packed.
I was young when pregnant with my first so i think in a lot of peoples eyes i wouldn't have been worthy of a seat anyway. Most people i made eye contact with would generally give me a feral look. People would mutter '****' and similar under their breath as they walked past. So even if i had of asked for a seat i probably wouldn't have got one... was easier just to stand.
I didn't feel comfortable in asking, but by 3rd tri I couldn't keep my balance enough to stand on the tram without falling. Like others, I found women never offered a seat. Most of the time I had to ask even though I'm clearly showing. The worst was when I asked women sitting in those seats at the front that say you have to give them up to pregnant women ask and they ignored me. It wasn't like they couldn't have heard me cos guys sitting half way up the tram heard me and offered me their seat. That was annoying though cos it's difficult to get to the door in a packed tram with a big belly.
I didn't feel comfortable (bit shy) asking until I was showing more past 20 weeks, but next time I think I will if I need it as I nearly passed out a few times in the earlier weeks & it was rough with morning sickness...
Like others I found it was mostly men that offered seats, think a woman offered maybe once or twice. I had to ask most of the time. What I hated was people who would look up, notice you walk on with a big belly & they would smirk/sneer & pretend to be asleep/completely absorbed in phone, book etc...
Alot of the time DF & I caught the same train & if there was no seats available he would ask for me *insert image of knight in shining armour*
After about the 34 week mark I just drove to work.. (luckily had convenient parking nearby).
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