The Pregnant Soldier Wellness Program: An Evaluation


Name: Darlene Gilcreast

Rank: MAJ, USA

Organization: Henry M. Jackson Foundation

Performance Site: Womack Army Medical Center, Fort Bragg, NC

Year Published: 1996

Abstract Status: Final


This study examined the impact of the Pregnant Soldier Wellness Program (PSWP), a physical exercise program designed for low-risk pregnant soldiers, on indicators of military readiness, fitness, wellness, and pregnancy outcomes without increased risk for complications of pregnancy. Outcomes were compared to a cohort of tri-service active duty pregnant military personnel who did not participate in a structured exercise program. The exercise program was the "Mother Well Program," which meets 1994 American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists guidelines.Soldiers participating in the PSWP were significantly more likely to pass the postpartum physical fitness test and the postpartum height and weight requirements than military personnel who did not. Of the PSWP participants, 80% vs.31% of the Stinson group had a body mass index Γëñ 25.No increases in adverse effects to pregnant soldiers or their fetuses/infants occurred compared to the tri-service group. No significant difference was found in infant birth weight by t test before or after matched grouping. A trend was found for PSWP infants to weigh slightly less than tri-service infants; two PSWP group infants weighed less than 2,500 g vs. none in the tri-service group; none in either group weighed more than 5,000 g. The greater proportion of black personnel in the PSWP sample may have influenced birth weights. No significant differences in APGAR scores existed between groups. The cesarean section rate among PSWP participants (12%) was significantly lower than the national average (20%). No significant difference was found between groups in occupational fatigue. PSWP soldiers tended to consume less alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine and more milk, fruit, and vegetables. PSWP soldiers worked a mean 10.3 hours/day during the first trimester, 10.5 hours during the second trimester, and 8.2 hoursduring the third (hours are restricted by regulation to 40 hours/week). Pregnant soldiers work a full schedule.


Final report is available on NTRL: