What our pregnant mommas have shared:
"I was 7 months' pregnant last May and noticed a HUGE difference on days when I was wearing a coat and days when I wasn't. Even unbuttoned, the coat concealed my belly. Though anyone who looked directly at me (and wasn't mentally zoning out) would have seen that I was pregnant, it wasn't *obvious.* Once I was only wearing t-shirts -- once the pregnancy became hard to miss, people offered me their seats on the train nearly 100% of the time. I think body type and how you carry also figures into it. That said, I had some bad experience on buses..."
"I had mixed experiences when I was pregnant. Some days people were great and other days I couldn't get a seat to save my life. The real kicker was when I was super pregnant and got on a crowded F train at 4th Avenue. The only person who got up for me was another very pregnant woman who insisted because she was getting off at 7th Avenue. So, a whole train full of people watched a pregnant woman give up her seat for a pregnant woman and no one else volunteered their seat so we could both sit. Unbelievable! You can't make this stuff up!"
"When I was prego, I've flat out just asked people if I can sit down. I usually ask young women or middle aged men. They seem to be the ones that offer in the first place. I've also had elderly women offer and that is really sweet and awkward ...."no, you sit." " no, you...""
"I must say that when travelling with my son and stroller on the subways, I always have people ask me if they can help me. I've had two elderly women carry my stroller and bag up the stairs for me. Men ask me if I need help. The other day, I got on a very crowded train with my son, 3 (who I always carry onto the train) and folded up stroller and backpack. I had an older woman ask a younger woman to give me my seat and an older man held my stroller for me. I've been pleasantly surprised at the help I have received. Not to say your experience isn't icky. I would just say, "Hey! I'm tired. Can I sit down!""
"When I was pregnant with my twins, I would look for a young man or woman on the train and stand right in front of him/her and try to make eye contact. When he/she looked at me, I just kindly asked, "do you mind if I take your seat?" and gesture to my tummy. It worked every time, and I didn't feel bad asking. Sometimes I think the direct approach is better than waiting around for someone to volunteer, even though often someone does. Everyone is tired, everyone had a hard day, no one really wants to volunteer, so sometimes you just have to ask."
"I too had some unpleasant experiences on the subway both when I was pregnant or had a couple of very young children & stroller in tow. Now I speak up in a clear, loud, polite voice and request that someone give up their seat for an elderly person or a pregnant woman.It always works. I also remind my husband to look up from his blackberry now and then to see if there is someone who may need his seat. He is simply in the zone when commuting which is why I find that turning up the volume works well for those who might be reading or lightly sleeping."
"Recently, I stopped sticking my belly out and waiting, because that just makes me furious and the stress is bad for the baby. Instead, I instantly ask the youngest man I see to get up, and I ask politely, to make sure I maintain the moral high ground. And I never ask women, because they tend to get up more often than men in general, and they may be in their first trimester for all I know. This is one area where equality gets thrown out the window. Men need to jump up out of their seat, no excuses. And that goes for getting up for young children, women (and men) carrying babies, the elderly, and anyone with a cane. Oh, and that whole, "Oh, but I wouldn't want to offend a woman who isn't pregnant" line that some men pull is bologna. There is no mistaking my rope-tied-in-a-knot, basketball-under-the-sweater stature for having a beer gut."
"If no one volunteered, I would head for the seats with signs above them stating that they were for elderly, pregnant or disabled people. If someone not clearly elderly or disabled or pregnant was sitting in them, I would look right at their eyes (even if they were looking down), smile apologetically, and say excuse me, but can I have that seat? No one ever refused."
"OK maybe it was the hormones when i was pregnant, but when people would 'sleep' instead of offer their seat, I would ask as loud as I could and very politely "please could I sit down?" . When people standing just looked at them they felt guilty enough to get up and let me sit down. I never understood as I always give up my seat to children, pregnant or older people, so why shouldn't anyone else??""
Related Reading on PSP:
Wondering when - and how - to offer a seat on subway/bus politely and without causing offense?
Reading from around the web:
Pregnant on the Subway: A Study of Seat Etiquette
Which Subway Line Is Best to Ride While Pregnant?
Pregnant Women Find Subway Seats Hard To Come By
Tunnel Vision: Don't Get Up, She's Only Riding for two
The Letter Office: Upstanding Citizens (INFOGRAPHIC)