The Pregnant Soldier Wellness Program: An Evaluation


Name: Darlene Gilcreast

Rank: LTC, USA

Organization: Henry M. Jackson Foundation

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

Year Published: 1997

Abstract Status: Final


Physical fitness of active duty soldiers is a key component of readiness. Female soldiers are at a unique disadvantage for maintenance of physical fitness during and following pregnancy. The Pregnant Soldier Wellness Program (PSWP) and the Post-Partum Physical Training Program (PPPTP) at Fort Bragg, NC are designed to improve pregnancy outcome, maintain fitness during pregnancy, and rebuild to military fitness in the post partum period for active duty female soldiers. The proposed study is an extension of and expansion in scope of the study funded by the Tri Service Nursing Research group (N960048) by this same investigator. In that study we are comparing one group of 150 active duty pregnant soldiers from Ft. Bragg who participate in PSWP with a matched historical control group of TriService of soldiers drawn from 5 military installations who did not exercise during pregnancy, on 7 indices of health, pregnancy outcome and pre and post pregnancy PT scores. We now propose to strengthen the original study by increasing the cohort of PSWP soldiers to 300 and adding a control group of 300 active duty soldiers from Ft. Bragg who do not exercise. The use of concurrent controls plus historical controls allows for triangulation of the data thus improving the internal validity of the initial study by controlling for branch of service, service specific PT standards, and variables associated with duty location.Since one outcome of the original study and of the proposed study is pass rate on physical training test, the existence of the PPPTP allows us to test for this effect in isolation or in combination with the effect of PSWP on pre and post pregnancy PT scores and pass rates. To test the relative contribution of the PPPTP to pre and post pregnancy PT scores, two cohorts of soldiers will be used, those who participate in PPPTP (n=100) and those who do not participate in PPPTP (n=100). From this we will be able to determine the trajectory of fitness of 4 cohorts of active duty pregnant soldiers; a) those who attend PSWP and PPPTP; b) those who attend PSWP but not PPPTP; c) those who do not attend PSWP but attend PPPTP; d) those who do not attend PSWP or PPPTP. These data will enable us to determine what impact exercise during pregnancy and/or the postpartum period has on the selected outcome variables. If the planned exercise programs in the pregnancy and/or postpartum period significantly improve the return to fitness, following pregnancy then readiness is enhanced.


Final Report is available on NTRL: