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Is She Pregnant or Just Fat?

"pregnant on the subway"

UK commuters said the most common reason for not offering their seat to a pregnant woman was fear that they might be mistaking a fat belly for a pregnant one, says a story on a British parenting website.

Okay, I acknowledge that these things can sometimes be ambiguous.  Pregnancy looks different on different bodies. And with the obesity rate rising, it’s certainly more likely than ever that the enlarged belly in question has no baby in it.

We all know absolutely nobody wants to make that supreme faux pas, but…

Really.  It’s hard to wonder if this might be some convenient “confusion” in the guise of politeness. Four out of five pregnant women surveyed had been ignored on public transport and had to stand while others sit. Could people really be worried about getting it wrong that often?

The U.K. is a bastion of politeness, which may be part of the issue. Offending someone just seems a bit more offensive over there. The website, gurgle.com, believes it has a solution: Baby on Board buttons for easy bump distinction.

Pregnant women are denied seats in the U.S. too. On the NYC subway, it happens often, and the outcome can go either way. I’ve seen people pretend pregnant women aren’t even there, and strangers come to a pregnant woman’s rescue, accosting seated men on a crowded train. Maybe this could be a good Babble marketing opportunity…but something tells me New Yorkers won’t be needing a button on their coats to get their point across.

photo: Daquella Manera / Daniel Lobo (Flickr)

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