Parenthood & Pregnancy
When am I required to notify my chain of command of my pregnancy?
Per SECNAVINST 1000.10B (as of 16 Jan 2019) Service members who think they may be pregnant are responsible for promptly confirming pregnancy through testing by appropriate medical providers and informing their COs, as appropriate. The two-week rule no longer applies. This allows Service members to maintain privacy and determine the viability of the pregnancy. It is highly recommended however, that in cases where exposure to hazardous material, assigned training or special duties could have an effect on the health of the unborn child(ren), that the Service member notify the appropriate points of contact as soon as possible. Service members who choose to delay notification should also keep in mind that they may not serve onboard a ship past the 20th week of pregnancy and that requests to remain onboard operational commands must be received, processed and adjudicated by COMNAVPERSCOM (PERS-454) before the 20th week of gestation. See the note below for additional information.
Note: Your Commanding Officer will then determine if he/she is required to submit a Pregnancy Availability notification message to PERS-454. Requests to remain onboard an operational command during the period of pregnancy and 12 months post-delivery must be submitted to COMNAVPERSCOM (PERS-454) per OPNAVINST 6000.1 (Series) and NAVADMIN 256/08. The waiver must include endorsements from the service member, the Commanding Officer/Officer-in-Charge, and the OB medical provider. All endorsements must be on Command letterhead. The Service member may request at any time to cancel the waiver necessitating transfer to shore.
What is a Pregnancy Availability Message?
Pregnancy Availabilities are required for all Service members who are assigned to a deployable command, who have orders to a deployable command, or who are within 12-months of their PRD window returning them to sea duty.
Pregnancy Availabilities must be submitted to PERS-454 as soon as the command is officially notified the Service member is pregnant, in accordance with MILPERSMAN 1306-1704.
PERS-454 POINTS OF CONTACT FOR PREGNANCY PLACEMENT
901-874-3867 ext. 3
If I get pregnant on sea duty, when will I have to leave the ship?
Pregnant Service members may remain onboard up to the 20th week of pregnancy while the ship is in port. A Service member discovered to be pregnant while underway/deployed should be transferred ashore as soon as possible given the constraints of the ship’s location, current mission, next port call, health of the member and/or unborn child(ren), etc. Under no circumstance shall a pregnant Service member remain onboard past the 20th week of pregnancy.
A pregnant Service member may continue to serve aboard ships only while in port or serve during short underway periods onboard a ship (e.g. local operations including, but not limited to, changes in ship’s berth, ammunition anchorages, and transits to and from local shipyards) provided an evacuation capability exists and the time for medical evacuation to a treatment facility capable of evaluating and stabilizing obstetric emergencies is less than six hours; this requirement includes TAD orders. The six-hour rule is not intended to allow pregnant members to operate routinely at sea, but rather to provide the CO flexibility during short underway periods, as described above.
** For more information, refer to the "Assignments" section below. **
Can I take leave before the birth of my child, in order to deliver at the hospital of my choice (e.g. near family / home of record)?
Service members are not authorized to take leave to travel outside their area of residence for the sole purpose of giving birth at a civilian hospital or to deliver or receive other OB care at a location outside of the MTF area of responsibility or away from the network provider or TRICARE authorized provider while in a leave status.
Maternity Convalescent Leave (MCL)
Can I shift my MCL days, until after my newborn is released from the hospital?
MCL begins the day after the Service member is discharged from the MTF, following any uncomplicated delivery or cesarean section. MCL is normally 42 days in duration, unless the attending physician recommends an extension based upon medical complications, indicating the servicewoman is not fit for duty. Any medically required extensions of MCL will be deducted from Primary Caregiver Leave (PCL). The servicewoman's permanent command must be notified of this recommendation.
MCL must be executed in one increment and completed before commencing PCL, and cannot be shifted based upon the newborn child(ren)'s medical complications and extended hospitalization length (e.g. Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) hospital stay). Upon discharge from a civilian hospital following delivery, the Service member will be granted MCL by the Service member’s parent command.
Premature newborn infants may be in the NICU for an extended period of stay. During this time period, the infant's health will benefit most from maternal bonding and sustained breastfeeding. Commands are strongly encouraged to work with MTF staff (e.g. social worker) and review the possibility of assigning the Service member TAD to the MTF for the duration of the NICU stay, in order to support the health and wellbeing of the infant and Service member. Commands shall ensure that assigning the Service member TAD does not create potential expenditures or entitlements to per diem and other expenses.
What if I experience a home birth or a sudden onset birth? When should my MCL start?
In the event a member conducts child birth not
in a hospital or similar facility either by intent of a home birth or similar
birthing plan or a sudden onset and rapid birth at a random location, MCL shall
a) For home births where admittance to a hospital or similar facility is not intended or executed, MCL commences the day after birth. If the member suffers complications or other medical situation where hospitalization is required, and that hospitalization occurs on the day of the birth or the day after birth, then MCL will commence when the member is discharged from that admittance.
b) For sudden onset and rapid birth at a random location, it is expected that in such cases the member will be taken to a hospital or similar facility. If hospitalization is not required, MCL commences the day after birth.
Primary Caregiver Leave (PCL)
PCL is a 6-week (42-day), non-chargeable leave period for the designated Primary Caregiver (PC) following a Qualifying Birth Event (QBE) or Qualifying Adoption. (MILPERSMAN 1050-415)
Secondary Caregiver Leave (SCL)
SCL is a 14-day, non-chargeable leave period for the designated Secondary Caregiver following a QBE or QA. (MILPERSMAN 1050-415)
Designations of Primary and Secondary Caregiver, under normal circumstances, should occur 60 days in advance of the expected QBE or QA and must be documented on a permanent NAVPERS 1070/613 Administrative Remarks (commonly known as a page 13)
To whom does Operational Deferment apply?
All postpartum Service members are deferred from all transfers (e.g. PCS, TAD, TEMDU, etc.) to operational assignments for a period of 12 months following delivery. Postpartum Service members under operational deferment are exempt from participating in short underway and TAD periods, if it inhibits the Service member's ability to breastfeed or care for their child(ren).
Note: Service members who give birth to a stillborn child(ren) are entitled to 6 months operational deferment to support the mental health of the member, treat postpartum depression as necessary, and allow time to return to physical fitness standards.
Can I waive my Operational Deferment time?
Service members on post-birth 12-month operational deferment may request to terminate deferment at any point after their convalescent leave. The Service member should submit the waiver request via a NAVPERS 1306/7 sent to their individual detailer and must include endorsements from the Service member, current or prospective operational command, and the member's HCP. Waivers will be granted on an individual basis and will be coordinated with PERS-454.
Can I request to separate due to pregnancy?
Service members may request separation due to pregnancy. Requests are normally denied, unless it is determined to be in the best interest of the Navy or if the member demonstrates overriding and compelling factors of personal need which warrant separation. Refer to MILPERSMAN 1910-112 (enlisted) MILPERSMAN 1920-180 (officer).
If I am pregnant and separating from the Navy before my baby is due, am I eligible for maternity medical treatment following separation?
You are eligible to receive 12 weeks of maternity care following delivery, ONLY under the following conditions:
Service members must be separated under Honorable conditions and that the Military Treatment Facility (MTF) to which you are applying for care, has the capability of providing maternity care (facility's workload will permit the acceptance of your case).
** It is important that you meet with a Health Benefits Advisor (HBA) at your USMTF prior to your separation from the Navy, in order to make these arrangements.
Note: Neither the Navy nor TRICARE will pay for civilian maternity care expenses for former Service members who separated from active duty while they were pregnant.
Can I extend my EAOS to receive maternity care benefits?
An extension of up to one year may be granted in order to receive maternity benefits, provided the member’s performance has been satisfactory and Sailor has CWAY-REEN approval.
Note: Consistent with force shaping objectives, pregnant Service members who have an expiring end of active duty obligated service (EAOS) will not be approved for projected rotation date (PRD) adjustment if Career Waypoint - Reenlistment (CWAY-REEN) is not approved. Pregnancy will not be used as justification for retention.
What is the policy regarding overseas assignment for pregnant Service members?
No Service members may be assigned overseas or travel overseas after the completion of their 28th week of pregnancy.
Will I lose my assignment to a school if I become pregnant?
Assignment of a pregnant Service member to a school will be handled on a case-by-case basis by the school house CO/OIC.
Am I required to wear Maternity Uniforms while pregnant or postpartum?
The certified maternity uniform is mandatory for all pregnant Service members in the Navy, when the regular uniform no longer fits. Enlisted Service members will be given a clothing allowance upon presenting the pregnancy notification from the CO/OIC to the personnel support detachment (PERSUPPDET).
Service members are exempt from the physical readiness program (PRP) during pregnancy and for 9 months following delivery and are therefore not required to purchase larger sized Navy PTUs. Per ACOG and the DOD/VA Uncomplicated Pregnancy Clinical Practice Guideline (DOD/VA UPCPG), Service members with uncomplicated pregnancies should continue to perform an individualized exercise program that incorporates regular mild to moderate exercise in sessions of 30 minutes duration, three or more times per week during the pregnancy. Pregnant Service members may wear the PTU shirt out and will discontinue wearing the PTU when it becomes too tight.
The Service member is expected to wear regular uniforms upon returning to duty, however, COs may approve the wear of maternity uniforms up to six months from the date of delivery based on medical officer diagnosis and/or recommendations.
Can I wear tennis shoes while pregnant?
At the discretion of a HCP, a pregnant Service member may be issued a tennis shoe chit, specifying the duration of wear. Tennis shoes shall be worn in an inconspicuous manner (e.g. all black) and worn without blousing straps for the trousers (e.g. NWUs).
Am I required to complete a "special PFA" for frocking or promotion purposes?
Pregnant and postpartum Service members are exempt from "special PFAs" required for frocking and promotion purposes. Service members shall not be forced to take a PFA before their "pregnancy waiver" period has expired for the sole purpose of frocking and promotion (e.g. CPO-365 Phase II), as indicated in CFL Operating Guide: Managing PFA Records for Pregnant Servicewomen.
A "pregnancy waiver" does not meet the requirements for withholding advancement. Pregnant and postpartum Service members shall not have their frocking deferred or their advancement withdrawn, unless the Service member was not recommended for retention and/or is undergoing administrative separation processing.
Am I required to participate (or can I participate) in command/unit PT or take the PFA now that I’m pregnant?
Pregnant Service members will NOT be required to:
- Participate in command/unit PT;
- Participate in FEP;
- Participate in Mock PFAs; or
- Participate in the command PFA
- Participate in BCA Spot Checks
Note: Pregnant Service members shall receive guidance from their HCP concerning type and duration of physical activity to maintain appropriate physical conditioning and body composition. Members are permitted to participate in command/unit PT to their level of comfort and in accordance with the HCP's direction should they choose to do so.
How soon after I deliver am I required to participate in command PT or take a PFA?
Postpartum Service members are waived from completing a PFA (both BCA and PRT sections) for nine months following the birth event. At the conclusion of this nine-month period, Service members are required to complete the next regularly scheduled command PFA.
· If the Service member's nine-month waiver expires during one PFA cycle (Jan-June or July-Dec) the member is then automatically rolled to participate in the next PFA cycle.
· PFA cycle dates cannot be shifted for the individual Service member.
· A special PFA will not be conducted.
· PRIMS should annotate the member had a pregnancy waiver for every cycle the member is exempt (do not enter it as a medical waiver).
Note: If the member is struggling with the BCA, the CO has the authority to assign the member to FEP, provided they have been medically cleared by their HCP.
Am I subject to the new BCA Spot Checks while within my 9-month postpartum PFA waiver?
No, postpartum Service members are exempt from the BCA spot checks while in their 9-month postpartum PFA waiver period.
Am I required to participate in the PFA or command PT if I have a miscarriage or abortion?
The Service member's HCP may waive participation from the PFA and command PT for a set period of time, while the Service member recovers.
Breastfeeding in the Workplace
Can I breastfeed at work?
The Navy continues to encourage and support accommodations to best meet the needs of our nursing Service members and their infants. Service members who continue to provide breast milk upon return to duty will be, at the minimum, afforded the availability of a clean, secluded space (not a toilet space) with ready access to running water for handwashing and pump equipment cleaning near or within the same room as the lactation room. The lactation room must also have electrical outlets and be located within a reasonable proximity of the workspace. The number of breaks needed to express breast milk is greatest when the infant is youngest, then gradually decreases. Commands must ensure breastfeeding Service members are afforded access to cool storage for expressed breast milk.
Requests to breastfeed infants during duty hours are handled on a case-by-case basis and accommodations of these requests remain at the discretion of each Service member's Commanding Officer.
I am concerned about possible lactation hazards where I work. What should I do?
Discuss potential occupational hazards with your health care provider (HCP). Also, verify if a Military Treatment Facility (MTF) and/or Fleet Industrial Hygienist have evaluated the presence of possible reproductive and lactation hazards at your command, to include potential exposure to agents on the NAVENVHLTHCEN list.
This is normally conducted during the baseline industrial hygiene site survey. Positive findings are reported directly to the Commanding Officer, Safety Officer, and Senior Medical Department Representative (SMDR).
Can I live in the BEQ/BOQ while pregnant?
A pregnant Service member with no family members may reside in Bachelor Quarters for her full term.
Can a single pregnant servicewoman live in Government Housing?
Commanding Officers may authorize single pregnant Service members to move into government housing based on availability before the birth of the child.
Can I receive BAH before my dependent child is born?
The Commanding Officer can authorize BAH, if requested, in order for a Service member to occupy off-base housing prior to the 20th week of pregnancy. Once the service member is 20+ weeks, the host commander must approve the request to occupy off-base housing.
Family Care Plan
When am I required to submit my Family Care Plan?
You are required to maintain a Family Care Plan (FCP) when you meet one or more of the following requirements: single parent, domestically separated parent, dual military parent, have custody of a minor child, and/or are a divorced Service member with minor children. Refer to OPNAVINST 1740.4E.
Can I remain in flight status if I’m pregnant?
Flight personnel are authorized to fly with the concurrence of their CO, obstetrician and flight surgeon after requesting to continue to fly while pregnant. This request will initiate the convening of a Local Board of Flight Surgeons (LBFS), in order to assess the health of the pregnant Service member and the potential impact flying may have on the Service member and their unborn child(ren). If the LBFS assesses acceptable risk to continue flying, a waiver to fly during the second trimester only will be granted from the Naval Aerospace Medical Institute (NAMI). However, flying during pregnancy is prohibited in single-piloted aircraft, ejection seat aircraft, high performance aircraft that will operate in excess of 2Gs, aircraft involved in shipboard operations, or flights with cabin altitudes that exceed 10,000 feet.
Pregnancy and Parenthood Mobile Application
These references and additional resources can also be found by utilizing the Pregnancy and Parenthood mobile application. To download visit your Android/iOS mobile device application store and type key word "seawarrior" or "Pregnancy and Parenthood."