Pregnant women are being left standing on buses and trains - because their fellow commuters are afraid they might cause offence by offering them a seat.
Two new surveys have discovered that commuters don't often give up their seat to pregnant women.
The Daily Mail reports that one reason for this is that people can't tell whether women are pregnant or just fat - and they don't want to upset them.
The website gurgle.com, which is owned by Mothercare, carried out a survey of 1,000 pregnant women and found that more than four in five had had to stand on public transport in their third trimester, when they were between 29 and 40 weeks pregnant.
The baby charity Tommy's also questioned mums-to-be and found that they were rarely offered a seat on the train, tram or bus.
Nifa McLaughlin, editor of gurgle.com, told the Daily Mail: "It is ridiculous that the health of young mums is being put at risk because of embarrassment.
"We've all been in that awkward situation, but we would encourage commuters to swallow their pride and offer their seats.
"It is worth risking a red face if it ensures that a pregnant woman is able to complete a crowded rushhour journey safely."
Apparently Mothercare is now offering a "Baby On Board" badge for women to wear - just so there's no confusion. It sounds a bit twee, but if you're desperate for a seat, it might work.
Emma, 32, from Kingston, Surrey, wrote on the Gurgle website that she had fainted on a busy bus when she was having her first baby because it was so hot and she had been standing for so long.
"People were very inconsiderate, so I think pregnant women are well within their rights to ask people to move," she wrote.
However, the Daily Mail reports that another commenter, Louise, 26, from Manchester, had a bad experience when offering her seat to someone she thought was pregnant.
"The train was really packed so I asked the lady would she like to take my seat, she looked hugely offended and told me in no uncertain terms where to go," she said.
"I am mortified that I might have upset her. It has made me very wary of offering my seat to anyone."
What do you think? Would you offer your seat to someone who you thought might be pregnant? Would you wear one of these badges if you were pregnant?
Source: Daily Mail
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