How many people offered their seat to "heavily pregnant" Anna Whitehouse?

Mother Pukka wore a fake baby bump to test the theory that 4 in 10 commuters won't offer their seat to a pregnant woman. Here’s what she found.

A photo of Anna Whitehouse (Mother Pukka) standing in front of a mosaic wall on the underground

Pregnancy news, 04/07/2018
Image credit: @mother_pukka via Instagram

Commuting isn’t always easy, especially in the hot weather and especially when you’re pregnant.

'Busy, hot, and cramped commuting conditions can be incredibly stressful both physically and mentally, and being able to sit down can make a difference.’ Anna Whitehouse

In this situation, the smallest act of kindness from a fellow traveller is enough to make any hormonal pregnant woman a little teary. However, a recent survey found that 40% of people wouldn’t give up their seat for a mum-to-be.

Writer, activist and mother-of-two Anna Whitehouse (Mother Pukka) went undercover for Mama Mio to find out how true this is.

On a hot June day on the London Underground, Anna found that most people were too busy looking at their phones to notice her and her big bump, or they would wait to be asked before moving. However, 4 people did give her their seat without being prompted.

‘I felt that perhaps I had to make a big deal out of being pregnant, like really put it on, rub the bump and failing that actually asking, which makes you feel very uncomfortable.’ Anna

Despite difficult early pregnancy symptoms, a study showed that only 2% of people thought you should offer your seat to a woman in her first trimester. And most adults didn’t think you needed to offer your seat until women were “visibly showing”.

Anna’s words of wisdom

'I'd encourage anyone who needs a seat on public transport to wear a badge and make eye contact. If that fails, don't suffer in silence - ask for one!'

10 tips for commuting when pregnant

  1. Get a ‘Baby on Board’ badge and display it proudly.
  2. Look out for the priority seating areas if available.
  3. Ask someone to move if they haven’t spotted you or offered their seat. We know it’s not easy for everyone to speak up but most people will happily move for you.
  4. Always carry a drink with you. Drinking plenty of water will keep you hydrated and sipping little and often can help with nausea.
  5. Wear loose, light clothing, ideally breathable fabrics like cotton.
  6. Pop a fan or pack of wipes in your bag for instant freshness.
  7. If you can avoid peak times, do. Your work has to make reasonable adjustments for you during pregnancy, which could include changing your working hours so you can travel at a time that’s more comfortable.
  8. Getting off a stop earlier than usual and walking the rest of the way is an easy way to stay active during your pregnancy. Find out why this is good for you and baby.
  9. Stash some snacks in your bag. Like sipping water, snacking little and often will help combat pregnancy nausea. It also means you won’t go hungry if your train is delayed.
  10. Take your pregnancy notes everywhere!

'Public transport isn't fun when you’re pregnant. You're more likely to feel faint or nauseous when travelling on a busy bus or tube, which is why sitting down is best for you and your baby. More people need to realise and respect this.' Tommy's midwife, Anna

More pregnancy news and blogs

  • Family featured in Channel 4's documentary sitting on sofa smiling at the camera


    Postpartum psychosis documentary on Channel 4

    Some of you may have watched the new documentary from Channel 4 air on Tuesday night as part of it’s ‘Losing it: Our Mental Health Emergency’ series. The documentary followed a family in Nottingham who experienced postpartum psychosis, a rare but a very serious illness that is often unpredictable.

  • Bushfire smoke in Australia with women holding a mask over her face.


    How are the Australian bushfires affecting pregnant women?

    The recent fires in Australia are known to have had a huge effect on animal and human inhabitants. We’ve looked at the health risks they pose during pregnancy, and how to minimise them.

  • Due - anuary, Just found out you're pregnant?


    Just found out you’re pregnant?…apparently lots of people do in 'Due-anuary'

    ‘Due’anuary is a month when lots of people seem to find out they are pregnant, so much so that 17th January has been labelled ‘Discovery Day’! Read more about why this is, and what the most common months are for giving birth.

  • Illustration of woman suffering from PTSD


    Pregnancy after loss and coping with PTSD

    PTSD is being talked about a lot in the media today. It’s important to recognise that PTSD can affect anyone. If you’ve been through a traumatic birth or if you have experienced baby loss in a previous pregnancy through miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death, you may be more likely to experience PTSD.

    Was this information useful?

    Yes No