5 ways to get a seat on public transport when pregnant

For many of us, using public transport is a daily necessity. One that can often get a little cramped, sweaty and uncomfortable. However, once you become pregnant it can make things even more difficult. Getting a seat on public transport when pregnant should be easy, but often, it’s not. Whether that’s getting pushed and shoved squeezing onto the tube or not being offered a seat on a crowded bus.

Here at Mama Mio we believe that all mamas-to-be should have the right to a seat, should they want it. Therefore, we’ve put together 5 ways to get a seat on public transport when pregnant to ensure this particular pregnancy journey is the least of your worries.

Wear a pregnancy badge

According to a study of 2,000 adults, 1 in 5 commuters say they are afraid of who they might offend by offering up a seat on public transport, so they simply don’t bother.

Nobody wants to cause offence by incorrectly assuming someone’s pregnant. In fact, as a general rule you never assume a woman is pregnant unless she tells you so. However, this can be a bit of a problem when it comes to offering a pregnant woman your seat.

That being said, the first trimester, when you don’t have a visible bump, is often when mamas-to-be feel their worst, suffering with morning sickness and nausea. One of the easiest way to state you’re pregnant and interested in being offered a seat without saying a word- wearing a pregnancy badge or mum to be badge.

This summer we’re giving out FREE ‘I’m Expecting’ pregnancy badges as part of our #ExpectingChange campaign*, perfect to wear on any kind of public transport, no matter where you live. We hope that this helps mamas-to-be, in every stage of pregnancy, get seat on public transport whenever they need it.

(unfortunately this is currently for our UK customers only)

public transport when pregnant

Some mamas even recommend putting one on your back, for those who can’t see your bump (this will also prevent people from pushing and shoving you trying to squeeze onto a busy carriage) or wearing one at eye height for someone sitting down so they can spot it more easily.

Find out more about the campaign and how to get your free pregnancy badge here.

Be proud of your bump

This one is the most useful in your third trimester when you have a beautiful bump to show off. You’ll probably find yourself doing this anyway but if you want to make it really obvious that you’re pregnant, walk around with hand on bump, eliminating any confusion over whether you’re pregnant or not.

In the winter months you’re likely to be bundled up so this one might be a little more difficult. We recommend trying out point number 1 instead.

Make eye contact

Often on public transport people tend to have their noses stuck in their phones, have their head in a book or are taking a nap. However, one way to get someone to offer you their seat is to make eye contact with them, perhaps with your hand on bump. If they’re unsure if you’re pregnant or if you even want a seat, this shows them that you are scanning the area for somewhere to sit, and that you are open to being offered one.

Get an upgrade

If you’re travelling by train, some operators will let your upgrade to first class for free if there aren’t any available seats in the general area. Some companies instead offer cards you can carry to ensure you get a seat, others promise their staff will help find you somewhere to sit if needed. Look up the trains you usually use, do your research and find the best option for you. If you’re a frequent traveller via train this could be a saviour.


This may be the last point but it’s certainly not least. Asking for a seat on public transport can be a little scary, in fact according to our survey 1 in 5 pregnant women have been too embarrassed to ask for a seat themselves.

People often say ‘pregnancy isn’t an illness’ and we do agree, however there’s so many factors that mean sometimes pregnant women do need a little extra help, therefore you’re well in your right to ask someone to stand up for you.

Start by locating the priority seating. Next, ask. If you’re worried about asking someone who might also be pregnant but not showing, or who has an invisible disability, instead of asking an individual direct the question to the general area of the priority seating. ‘Would anyone mind letting me sit down please,’ or if you’re not visibly pregnant and not wearing a pregnancy badge ‘I’m pregnant, would anyone mind letting me sit down.’ This gives someone from the general public, who doesn’t need the priority seat, an opportunity to stand up for you.

If speaking to strangers in public is scary to you this might seems a little overwhelming. However, the more you do it the easier it’ll become. Chances are, once people notice you need a seat, they’ll hurry to give you theirs, embarrassed they didn’t offer without being prompted.

Got a story to share about being pregnant on public transport? Feel like you’re too embarrassed to ask for a seat even though you really need it? We want to hear what YOU think!

Get on board and share your experiences using the hashtag #ExpectingChange or learn more about the campaign and how you get involved here.



Writer and expert