WASHINGTON — What began as a grassroots effort by soldiers to identify issues facing pregnant and postpartum soldiers became official policy today, when Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth signed a directive aimed at improving opportunities for soldiers to advance their careers while providing the time and flexibility to care for growing families.

The Army’s Parenting, Pregnancy, and Postpartum Directive makes a number of significant policy changes and program enhancements, including expanding operational and postpartum training deferrals, expanding exemptions for physical fitness testing and the Army’s body composition program, standardization of convalescent leave for pregnancy loss, allowing select attendance for professional military training during pregnancy, creating stabilization during fertility treatments and increase the flexibility of the family care plan.

“We’re recruiting soldiers, but we’re keeping families,” said Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville. “Winning the talent war means making sure our best and brightest don’t have to choose between service and family.”

The directive contains 12 components. Six of them are entirely new – five of which were suggested based on soldier feedback – and the other six are updates to existing policies. Although four components were required by Congress, the Army expanded the original requirements to improve the health and quality of life for all parents.

These changes affect more than 400,000 parents within the total force, including 29,000 soldier single fathers, who outnumber single soldier mothers by a ratio of 3 to 1. Under this directive, all elements – who previously existed in more than 20 Army regulations – are consolidated into one document to provide a resource for leaders to help military families. Brigade leaders will need to establish their own policies to reinforce the directive.

Army Directive 2022-06 (Parenting, Pregnancy, and Postpartum) can be viewed at the Army Publications Directorate at: https://armypubs.army.mil/ProductMaps/PubForm/ArmyDir .aspx

For more information, please contact Major Angel Tomko at [email protected] or (703) 693-3726.