6 Reasons People Don't Give Up Seats for Pregnant Women

Rant 148

pregnant womanYesterday, a pregnant friend of mine got very irate on Facebook that men and women do not, as a rule, get up and offer her their seats. I made the mistake of joking, “Well, you chose to get pregnant.” Er. She didn’t take that kindly. You would have thought I’d said, “You chose to smack your head against a brick wall.” My dear, that was not meant as an insult.

Here are 6 reasons why people may not offer a pregnant woman their seat.

1.  People who look as if they are lazily reclining in the seat YOU should be in may have legitmate issues that prevent them from standing comfortably too. That strapping young guy? Maybe he has a heart problem. That young lean-looking woman? Maybe she’s been cleaning toilets in building offices since 3 a.m. and is exhausted. Not every handicap is visible and not every person sitting is doing so because they could just as easily stand. Non-pregnant people get bone-tired too.

2. I realize that you are aware at all times of your pregnancy but, believe it or no, no one else is paying much attention to it. If someone didn’t offer you a seat, there’s a pretty good chance she or he just didn’t notice your pregnancy. Maybe she's reading a book, or studying, or engrossed in her thoughts. Maybe she has a family member who is sick, or she just got laid off, and maybe she's thinking about things other than your unborn child. It happens.

3. The first time you assume a woman is pregnant and ask about a due date or congratulate her and she gives you a horrified look and you realize she’s not pregnant, believe me, that is the day you develop a crippling aversion to making the assumption that everyone with a big, round belly is pregnant.

4. You did indeed choose to become pregnant (presumably). You must have known that this could mean occasional discomfort and inconvenience. If not, I pity you in the delivery room.

5. Not all pregnant women want to sit down, and after you get a bunch of declines, you may stop prioritizing an offer, or even think about it. It’s sort of like the time you offer a homeless guy food, and he declines it. The next time you see a homeless guy, you might not offer him food, even though this guy would take it. Make sense?

6. Those of us who have never been pregnant or not known anyone who was pregnant -- and this can be a lot of people in their 20s or early 30s -- genuinely don't realize that being pregnant can make standing uncomfortable. We see Amy Poehler rapping on Saturday Night Live when she looks ready to burst with baby, and think that's the norm. Sometimes our seat hogging is genuine ignorance, not willfull rudeness.

Here's some advice: If you’re a pregnant woman who wants to sit and no one is hopping up, instead of stewing silently (or on Facebook) about it, try saying, “Hi, I’m pregnant and really uncomfortable right now. Would you mind giving up your seat?” If the person declines, you at least get the satisfaction of giving him or her a withering look.

Do you always offer a pregnant woman your seat? If you're pregnant and want to sit, do you ask?


Image via spaceodissey/ Flickr

the pregnant life


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nonmember avatar Candy

Omg, this could not have been written any better or read any truer!!!!! I am 24 and I do have many medical conditions that are not visible, I am on meds that include blood thinners and heart pills, but, I do not look as if any of this is true and I have ridden the bus and gotten glares for not getting up because I'm coming from school and have a bookbag. It's like really the things that I'm dealing with are a little more deeper than the topic of my term paper that's due next week. Chill out and be appreciative that the only thing that is "wrong" with you is that your pregnant!! And no I have never been pregnant but I have 5 nephews and 1 niece, I've seen a pregnant woman in action my sister is in the military and even at her largest she was more active than me!

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

I never asked for a seat while I was pregnant but I did have a woman ask me for my seat. I am short and my son was big so I was a huge pregnant lady, you wouldn't believe how many people outright accused me of lying about my due date or how many babies were in there. A couple of weeks before I popped I was walking around the mall and I just had to sit down so I flopped in to one of the comfy chairs. I must have been there thirty seconds when a woman came over and asked me if I was planning on hogging the chair for long. By the time I hauled myself out of the chair she could have walked over to the next available bench anyway! I told her I wasn't planning on waddling off any time soon and she gave me a filthy look and walked off. Asking someone for their seat is a dodgy proposition at the best of times but asking them to give it up when they obviously need it is ridiculous.

Littl... LittleManMama

I think the truest is that people are afraid of asking if a woman is pregnant only to find out she isn't. Or they haven't noticed or have medical conditions of their own. But come on, can't we agree that barring medical issues of their own it IS polite to offer your seat to the pregnant lady? If she doesn't feel like sitting she can decline.

nonmember avatar Mommyof2

While possibly true in a very small percentage of cases, I'd wager that most people are simply selfish jerks who don't care whether your pregnancy is difficult.

Just a general sign of the lack of empathy in our society. I note that the author does not have any children herself, so she's hardly one I'd want to listen to. Talk to me about your "reasons" after you 've been pregnant.

And Candy, just because you're pregnant, doesn't mean that's the only thing "wrong" with you. Your one example of a military woman who was pregnant is pathetic and unrealistic.

4girl... 4girlsmum

I always give up my seat, and I have to force them to take it usually!

Rushn311 Rushn311

I know I have offered pregnant friends and family seats before....and I know I have been offered the same.

Suzanne Allison

I have physical issues that make it difficult to stand for prolonged periods of time, and while I'd generally give my seat up to a pregnant woman who asked for it, I'd not ordinarily volunteer it without being asked. My logic is, if you need accommodation, ask for it - don't expect me to read your mind, because maybe you really need my seat and maybe you don't.

DebaLa DebaLa


@Mommyof2 has it right. How is author in any position to write this?? These read more as excuses, not 'reasons.'

Does everyone have to jump out of their seats at the mere sight of a pregnant woman? No. Does everyone have some invisible 'disability' or incapacitating fatigue in every scenario? I think not. Somewhere in there is a semi-conscious citizen who can make the offer. sheesh



Miche... Michelephant

With so many people who genuinely need assistance in this world it is insane to think that I will get up and offer every pregnant woman I see my seat.  I'll hold doors like there's no tomorrow but a pregnant woman should not expect it given that they have a voluntary condition.  I'm tired of hearing some women brag about going through pregnancy like some kind of amazon warrior goddess and then lamenting the fact that no one will give up a seat on the metro so they can rest their precious life carrying bodies. 

nonmember avatar Shelly

Lord...women are pregnant, not disabled. I don't even notice if someone is pregnant, because they are normal people. Not disabled or injured people who truly need help. I'll give up my seat for elderly, disabled, injured, etc. Pregnant, no way!!! Stay at home, if you can't stand up. I've been pregnant (with an extremely difficult pregnancy, incidentally) and I would never think someone should give up there seat.

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