Women's Health Portal


Last Updated: April 22, 2020

APHC COVID-19 Pregnancy & Breastfeeding Webpage

ACOG Committee Opinion 804, Physical Activity and Exercise During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period, April 2020External Link

xercise is an essential element of a healthy lifestyle, and obstetric care providers should encourage their patients to continue or to commence exercise as an important component of optimal health. Women who habitually engaged in vigorous-intensity aerobic activity or who were physically active before pregnancy can continue these activities during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Observational studies of women who exercise during pregnancy have shown benefits such as decreased gestational diabetes mellitus, cesarean birth and operative vaginal delivery, and postpartum recovery time. Physical activity also can be an essential factor in the prevention of depressive disorders of women in the postpartum period. Physical activity and exercise in pregnancy are associated with minimal risks and have been shown to benefit most women, although some modification to exercise routines may be necessary because of normal anatomic and physiologic changes and fetal requirements. In the absence of obstetric or medical complications or contraindications, physical activity in pregnancy is safe and desirable, and pregnant women should be encouraged to continue or to initiate safe physical activities.

ACUs for Pregnant, Nursing, and Female Soldiers Trying to Get Pregnant

ALARACT 170/2013 UPDATE TO ALARACT 289/2012 FACTORY TREATED ARMY COMBAT UNIFORMS WITH PERMETHRIN External Link  (CAC required) addresses special circumstances when a Soldier may receive a temporary profile to wear a non-permethrin treated ACU.  While there are no indications of adverse health effects to mother or child from Permethrin-treated clothing, female Soldiers who are pregnant, nursing, or trying to get pregnant are authorized to wear an untreated ACU or maternity uniform.

Who is authorized to wear non-permethrin treated ACUs?

  • Pregnant Soldiers
  • Nursing Soldiers
  • Female Soldiers who are trying to get pregnant
  • Soldiers with known or suspected permethrin hypersensitivity

How do Soldiers trying to become pregnant, pregnant, or postpartum and nursing request a temporary medical profile and purchase an ACU without permethrin?

  • Soldiers must meet with their health care provider to obtain a temporary eProfile (DA Form 3349, physical profile) authorizing the wear of an ACU without permethrin.
  • Proof of this medical profile allows the Soldier to special order a non-treated uniform through the Army Military Clothing Sales stores, at own cost, prior to or after the wear of a non-treated maternity uniform.
  • The profile is issued/monitored as any other temporary profile.  The pregnancy (9 months) and postpartum (6 weeks after delivery) profiles reflect the optional wear of the ACU without permethrin with a maximum duration of 90 days (subject to renewal), with no functional or Army Physical Fitness Test restrictions.
  • The profile can be continued for 12 months; any extension requires approval by the Medical treatment Facility Commander in cooperation with the Soldier's Commander.

ALL maternity ACUs are non-permethrin treated. The maternity ACU is an organizational clothing item obtained through central issue facilities.

STAND-TO! TEMPORARY WEAR OPTION FOR SOLDIERS - ACU WITHOUT PERMETHRIN External Link (Sep 13) (non-government) During the time a Soldier is trying to get pregnant, she may eliminate certain foods, modify behaviors, and may be unaware of the exact date of conception. Just like behavior modification, the Army is providing Soldiers the option to wear an untreated ACU while trying to become pregnant, pregnant, and nursing. The ACU with Permethrin will be worn by Soldiers in possession of this temporary medical profile when commanders deem it necessary to reduce risk of vector-borne hazards while in deployed (non-combat) environments such as field training.

Permethrin Factory-Treated ACUs (APHC)  For more information contact your local Preventive Medicine Service/Army Public Health Center Regional Support Staff.  Send e-mail inquiries concerning the DoD Insect Repellent System and the ACU Permethrin to the DoD Pesticide Hotline, pesticide.hotline@amedd.army.mil or call 410-436-3773 / DSN 584-3773 or the Armed Forces Pest Management Board (AFPMB) website at www.afpmb.org. Concerns may also be addressed to AFPMB, Contingency Liaison Officer at 301-295-8312 / DSN 295-8312/7476; or by writing to AFPMB, ATTN: Contingency Liaison Officer, US Army Garrison- Forest Glen, Armed Forces Pest Management Board, 2460 Linden Lane, Bldg 172, Silver Spring, MD  20910.

Alcohol & Pregnancy

Alcohol and Pregnancy External Link (non-government) Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause lifelong physical, behavioral, and intellectual disabilities. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) can occur in an individual who was exposed to alcohol before birth. Alcohol in the mother’s blood passes to the baby through the umbilical cord. There is no known safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy or when trying to get pregnant. There is also no safe time to drink during pregnancy. Alcohol can cause problems for a developing baby throughout pregnancy, including before a woman knows she’s pregnant. All types of alcohol are equally harmful, including all wines and beer. To prevent FASDs, a woman should not drink alcohol while she is pregnant, or if there is a chance she might be pregnant.

Women and Alcohol Fact Sheet External Link  (non-government) Research shows that drinking, binge drinking, and extreme binge drinking by women are all increasing.  While alcohol misuse by anyone presents serious public health concerns, women's bodies react differently to alcohol than men's and as a result, women face unique alcohol related health risks. 

Army G-1 Uniform Policy for Pregnant Soldiers

Authorization for Pregnant Soldiers to Mix Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP) Items with the Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP) Maternity Army Combat Uniform, 6 Sep 17.  Army G-1 Uniform Policy for Pregnant Soldiers External Link (CAC required) Pregnant Soldiers are authorized to wear the following items in the Operational Camouflage Pattern with the Universal Camouflage Pattern Maternity Army Combat Uniform and Patrol Cap: Nametape, U.S. Army Nametape, Rank Insignia, current Shoulder Sleeve Insignia, Shoulder Sleeve Insignia for Former Wartime Service. Pregnant Soldiers may also wear the Coyote Brown T-shirt and Coyote Brown Boots with the Universal Camouflage Pattern Maternity ACU. This change only applies to the Maternity Army Combat Uniform.

Breast Feeding

The experience of breastfeeding is special for so many reasons – the joyful bonding with your baby, the cost savings, and the health benefits for both mother and baby. Visit the Women's Health Portal Breastfeeding Resources page for valuable breastfeeding resources designed to meet the unique needs of the breastfeeding service member. 

Centering Pregnancy

A great way to learn more about your pregnancy, meet new friends, and build support systems for your pregnancy experiences is through Centering Pregnancy External Link (non-government). Centering Pregnancy is a model of group prenatal care that includes three major components: health assessment, education, and support. Eight to twelve women with similar gestational ages meet together for discussion focused on pregnancy, birth, nutrition, breastfeeding, child care, safety, and new mothering issues.  Currently, Centering Pregnancy is available at 10 volume-eligible medical treatment facilities within the Army: San Antonio Military Medical Center (SAMMC), William Beaumont Army Medical Center (WBAMC), Womack Army Medical Center (WAMC), Carl R. Darnell Army Medical Center (CRDAMC), Tripler Army Medical Center (TAMC), Blanchfield Army Community Hospital (BACH), Winn Army Community Hospital (WACH), Irwin Army Community Hospital (IACH), Evans Army Community Hospital (EACH), Madigan Army Medical Center (MAMC), Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital (BJACH), Weed Army Community Hospital (WACH). 

Deployment Deferral Policy, NDAA 2020 External Link

With the passage of NDAA 2020, Public Law 116-92 (Sec 572), new mother deployment deferral policy is now standardized across the services for 12 months after childbirth.  A member of the armed forces who gives birth while on active duty may be deployed during the period of 12 months beginning on the date of such birth only with the approval of a health care provider employed at a military medical treatment facility and (1) at the election of such member; or (2) in the interest of national security, as determined by the Secretary of Defense.

Immunizations and Pregnancy

CDC Fact Sheet on Immunization Before, During, and after Pregnancy External Link (non-government) You probably know that when you are pregnant, you share everything with your baby. That means when you get vaccines, you aren’t just protecting yourself—you are giving your baby some early protection too. You should get a flu shot and whooping cough vaccine (also called Tdap) during each pregnancy to help protect yourself and your baby.

Pregnancy is a Crucial Time for Immunization Health External Link (non-government) One of the most important times in a woman’s life to be fully immunized against disease is during her pregnancy. Vaccines protect pregnant women from potentially severe infections and can protect babies before and after they are born.

Parental Leave Program

Army Directive 2019-05, Army Military Parental Leave Program, 22 JAN2019  External Link  This directive establishes and consolidates policies, assigns responsibilities, and provides procedures for non-chargeable entitlements for Soldiers in connection with the birth or adoption of a child, which will collectively be known as the Army Military Parental Leave Program (MPLP). Policies and procedures established in this directive replace previously existing Army leave, pass, permissive temporary duty (PTDY), and convalescent leave policies related to pregnancy, childbirth, adoption, and parenthood. The entitlements outlined in this directive are retroactive to 23 December 2016.

Parental Leave for Military Personnel in Connection with the Birth or Adoption of a Child Summary of Policy

1) Maternity Convalescent Leave: 6 weeks of non-chargeable leave, starts first full day after discharge from the hospital.  May be taken consecutively with either Primary or Secondary Caregiver leave, but taken prior to caregiver leave (max 12 weeks with Primary caregiver/9 weeks with Secondary caregiver); may be taken consecutively with ordinary leave

2) Primary Caregiver Leave:  6 weeks of non-chargeable leave and taken within one year of birth event or adoption; may not be taken with terminal leave; may be taken consecutively with ordinary leave; may be approved for an unmarried, non-birthparent if that member parentage of the child is established (see below under designation of primary/secondary caregivers).  The Primary Caregiver is a parent with the primary responsibility of caring for a child, in most cases the non-military parent.  Some cases where the military member may be the primary caregiver are: a) military member is the birthparent; b) dual military couples; c) unavailability or incapacity of the birthparent; d) death of one of the parents; e) other circumstances.  

3) Secondary Caregiver Leave: 21 days of non-chargeable leave and taken within one year of birth event or adoption; may not be taken with terminal leave; may be taken consecutively with ordinary leave; may be approved for an unmarried, non-birthparent if that member parentage of the child is established (see below under designation of primary/secondary caregivers).  The Secondary Caregiver is a parent who is not designated as the primary caregiver. 


Only one primary and one secondary caregiver may be authorized for each qualifying birth event or adoption.  One person cannot be both primary and secondary caregiver. For Dual Military,  one SM may be designated as primary caregiver and the other as secondary caregiver.  Children born outside of marriage, member's parentage of children must be established.  This may include, but not limited to: 1) being listed on the birth certificate; 2) acknowledgement in writing of an obligation to support the child, either by voluntary agreement or court order; 3) registration, or pending registration, into DEERS (must occur within 30 days of birth).  A birthparent is not required to establish proof of parentage.  Designations of primary and secondary caregivers should be made as early as practical (normally at least 60 days in advance of due date or adoption date)


This policy is retroactive.  Those that had a qualifying birth event or adoption ON OR AFTER DECEMBER 23, 2016, may take the appropriate leave EXCEPT if they meet one of the following circumstances:

1) Covered SM who gave birth and received 12 weeks of non-chargeable Maternity leave - not able to receive retroactive maternity con-leave or primary caregiver leave.  2) Covered SM who received 10 days of non-chargeable parental leave, may be retroactively designated as primary or secondary caregiver and receive a total of 42 days (as primary caregiver) or no more than 21 days (as secondary caregiver), to include any previously authorized leave (so if they already took 10 days of leave, then subtract those from the previous stated days). The leave must be used within 18 months of the birth event/adoption

3) Dual military members, each member may be retroactively designated as a primary or secondary caregiver.   


Nutrition and Pregnancy

Nutritional Needs during Pregnancy External Link (non-government) When you are pregnant, you have a higher need for some vitamins and minerals. Follow the MyPlate Daily Checklist External Link for Moms to meet most of these increased needs.

Healthy Eating During Pregnancy External Link (non-government) When you are pregnant, you need more protein, iron, calcium, and folic acid. But this doesn't mean you need to eat twice as much. Making smart food choices can help you have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

Oral Health

Women have a lot of health considerations to think about during pregnancy and it's easy to overlook dental health during this busy time.  Brushing and flossing contributes to your overall health and if your mouth is healthy, it's more likely that your baby's mouth will be healthy. The following links provide helpful information on oral health to ensure that you maintain optimal health.

Pregnancy and Your Oral Health (Sep 14) This educational presentation is on the changes on oral health during pregnancy.  A recent study found that only one-third of pregnant women visit the dentist while they are pregnant and only half of the women in the study reported having a dental problem went to get care. There is no evidence that routine dental examinations or treatment should not be performed during an uncomplicated pregnancy.  In fact, not going to the dentist may cause problems such as oral infections that can cause the need for emergency care or affect the fetus. You should make sure you have regular check-ups and cleanings any time during pregnancy to keep your mouth as healthy as possible. 

American Dental Association: Mouth Healthy External Link (non-government) Pregnancy is an exciting and busy time of your life! You have so much to think about during pregnancy, but don't overlook your dental health.

Pregnancy/Postpartum Physical Training Program (P3T)

Exercise during pregnancy and the postpartum period can reduce the physical discomforts associated with pregnancy and can promote a faster return to pre-pregnancy fitness levels.  The P3T program is designed for pregnant and postpartum soldiers and is a proven resource for maintaining fitness during and after pregnancy.

P3T Program Information (APHC) The intent of Army Pregnancy Postpartum Physical Training (P3T) is to implement mandatory standardized Army-wide P3T.   P3T is aligned with exercise recommendations from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.  Policies released in recent years strengthen the ability for P3T to meet approved Army standards.

P3T AKO Website External Link (CAC Required) Maintaining a healthy lifestyle has been shown to especially benefit women during pregnancy and postpartum. By getting enough sleep, consistently participating in appropriate physical activity, eating a nutritious diet, and including stress management in your daily routine pregnant Soldiers can maintain health and fitness throughout pregnancy. This sets the Soldier up for success postpartum, when it is time to increase her physical training to successfully transition back into unit physical readiness training and meet physical fitness and body composition standards. The Army’s guidance for exercise during pregnancy and postpartum is designed to provide standardized physical training that is safe and effective!

Pregnancy A to Z

VA/DoD Pregnancy Guideline Purple Book  External Link Pregnancy and Childbirth: A Goal Oriented Guide to Prenatal Care is based on the VA/DoD Management of Pregnancy Clinical Practice Guideline, and includes evidence-based  recommendations for prenatal care for all pregnant women receiving care in the DoD and VA healthcare systems.  A PDF is available for download External Link

This Air Force Medicine web site External Link provides information about what you can expect throughout your pregnancy and after the birth of your child. 3-D animations help you understand the changes going on inside your body, and how your baby is growing. There is a special section for new dads. Real parents offer advice and insight.

Postpartum Care

Pregnancy changes your body in more ways than you might have guessed, and it doesn't stop when the baby is born. Taking good care of yourself and your baby is an essential part of postpartum care.

Child, Youth, and School (CYS) Services External Link  CYS Services recognizes the challenges of our Soldiers and their Families.  By offering quality programs for children, youth and students, CYS supports the Army Family Covenant by reducing the conflict between mission readiness and parental responsibility. 

Depression External Link  (non-government) When you are pregnant or after you have a baby, you may be depressed and not know it. Some normal changes during and after pregnancy can cause symptoms similar to those of depression. Your doctor can figure out if your symptoms are caused by depression or something else.

MilitaryChildCare.com External Link This secure Department of Defense (DoD) website provides a single gateway for you to find comprehensive information on military-operated or military-approved child care programs worldwide.  With MilitaryChildCare.com, you create an account and maintain a family profile that you can access at any time from any location.  By improving and simplifying the child care search process, you can make informed decisions about your child care needs.

Parenting External Link (non-government) Every parent can use a helping hand from time to time. Military OneSource provides resources for moms and dads to build a strong and healthy family. 

Recovering from Birth External Link After giving birth, new mothers must take special care of their bodies to regain their energy and strength.  When you take care of yourself, you are able to best care for you and your baby. 

TRICARE Pregnancy & Parenting Resources External Link Planning for a child is a fun and exciting time in your life. As you prepare, learn more about your TRICARE coverage during pregnancy and after, and don't forget to enroll your child in DEERS.

Women, Infant and Children External Link (WIC Program) The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides Federal grants to States for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.

Smoking and Pregnancy

Warning to Pregnant Women: Secondhand Smoke Harms You and Your Baby  External Link (non-government) It’s well-known that smoking during pregnancy is harmful to pregnant women and their babies.  But there’s more evidence all the time of how extensive the harm can be – both from smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke.

Health Harms Caused Pregnant Women Smoking External Link (non-government) Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Factsheet on the health harms caused by pregnant women smoking or being exposed to secondhand smoke during pregnancy.

Thyroid Disease

American Thyroid Association/ Thyroid Disease and Pregnancy External Link (non-government) Pregnancy has a profound impact on the thyroid gland and thyroid function since the thyroid may encounter changes to hormones and size during pregnancy.  The diagnosis and treatment of thyroid disease during pregnancy and the postpartum is complex but knowledge regarding the interaction between the thyroid and pregnancy/the postpartum period is advancing at a rapid pace.


Do you know about Ubicare External Link (non-government)? Ubicare delivers important information regarding what to expect while pregnant and continues to give valuable information up to the age of three for the child via social media. Ubicare also provides a platform for researchers and healthcare providers to deliver important health information to our expecting and new parents via social media. If you are not already signed up for Ubicare, ask your nurse at your next obstetric appointment how you can sign up.

Workplace Health 

Workplace exposures  External Link (non-government) related to reproduction and pregnancy are of particular concern to women. Find summaries with links to research of some hazards faced by women in the workplace and links to industry-specific research from CDC.  Includes provisional recommended weight limits for lifting at work during pregnancy. 

Zika Virus

Until more is known and out of an abundance of caution, pregnant women should consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Pregnant women who do travel to one of these areas should talk to their doctors first and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip. Women trying to become pregnant should consult with their healthcare providers before traveling to these areas and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip. More information is available on the APHC Zika Virus web page. (APHC)