Sustainment Soldiers work to keep in shape, even while pregnant
January 15, 2009
FORT HOOD, Texas - Normally, there aren't a whole lot of pregnant Soldiers in a given company at any one time, and that can make it difficult for pregnant Soldiers to stay physically fit during their pregnancy.
A new program spearheaded by the 15th Sustainment Brigade aims to help change that by bringing the pregnant Soldiers in the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) together in order to conduct the Army's Pregnancy/Postpartum Physical Training.
The program is mandatory for all pregnant and postpartum Soldiers in the 13th ESC, and it is usually conducted Mondays through Fridays, during PT hours at the Kieschnick Physical Fitness Center, said Staff Sgt. Teelia Gooden, a primary instructor with the 15th SB.
On Wednesdays, Gooden explained, the pregnant Soldiers conduct water aerobics at Abrams Physical Fitness Center from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m., while postpartum Soldiers conduct their PT at the III Corps' track.
According to Gooden, it is designed to help pregnant Soldiers maintain their physical fitness through their pregnancy, but there is an added benefit.
"It helps them deliver a healthy baby," Gooden said.
But it's not just for Soldiers who are currently pregnant, said Gooden, who went on to explain the program also helps postpartum Soldiers get back in shape and pass their Army Physical Fitness Test, by slowly making the training more intense over a period of five months.
After those five months, the Soldier returns to normal physical training with her unit, Gooden said.
In order to ensure that the program is conducted safely, instructors must certified by an instructor with the Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine , Gooden said.
"Anybody can't just come up here and do this - you have to be trained," she said.
Gooden said there are two instructors right now, but about 20 more will be going through the course soon.
She likes leading the program because it gives her an opportunity to motivate the Soldiers.
"Knowing that I'm doing something to help them keep and shape and help their babies out," Gooden said.
She went on to explain that a woman that doesn't do some kind of exercise is more likely to have complications during the pregnancy as well.
Gooden explained that the program is a morale builder for the Soldiers as well, since they conduct PT with other pregnant or postpartum Soldiers who understand what they are going through.
Sgt. Julia Oliver, a Cincinnati, native and comptroller noncommissioned officer with the 15th SB, has been participating in the program since July, and expects to continue the program for another three months.
At first, pregnancy PT wasn't set up very well, Oliver said. But it has gotten better since the implementation of the formal program by the brigade, and she actually gets something out of it.
"You really get a workout," Oliver said. "It's a great way to get back in shape."
Oliver is due to take her diagnostic Army Physical Fitness Test, which is given to the Soldiers in the program about three months after they have their baby, in order to determine where they are in regaining their previous fitness level.
Gooden is scheduled to lead a two-day aerobics class at the end of the month for the new instructors.
For more information on the program, contact Sgt. Maj. Kendra Wallace, the program manager for the 15th, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or Staff Sgt. Teelia Gooden at email@example.com.