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New Moms in the Navy No Longer Have to Take Fitness Tests in the First Year After Giving Birth

The Navy has decided to ditch a postpartum fitness test that new mothers would typically be expected to take less than a year after giving birth.

In an administrative memo released Monday, the Navy announced that the requirement was canceled and said that instead, “sailors should participate in a progressive and appropriate exercise program, as soon as medically authorized.”

The now-canceled examination, navy.mil/Portals/55/Support/Culture%20Resilience/Physical/Guide_8-Managing_PFA_Records_for_Pregnant_Sailors_JAN_2023.pdf?ver=AKGWk6FCv2s7IMo4VOcUow%3D%3D”according to Navy documents, was unofficial — meaning that they could fail with no consequences — but intended as a way to “assess a postpartum sailor’s fitness level … to assist them with returning to Navy [fitness] standards.”

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The assessment also gave commanders and unit fitness leaders “visibility on the health and fitness level of their postpartum sailors as well as an opportunity to provide assistance to sailors during their postpartum recovery.”

Lt. Lewis Aldridge, a spokesman for the Chief of Naval Personnel, told Military.com in an email that the cancellation was made based on medical guidance from the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery’s Office of Women’s Health, as well as feedback from postpartum sailors and the policies of the other military services.

The Navy is the only branch that required such an assessment from its new mothers, and Aldridge noted that the service does not ask sailors returning from any other limited-duty status to complete such a test.

Aldridge said that the removal of the requirement also “provides additional privacy protections for postpartum sailors by avoiding instances where they could potentially feel guilt for failing a Wellness Physical Fitness Assessment, or PFA, despite medical guidance to not over-exert themselves during the postpartum period.”

However, the postpartum test is now the latest

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