The Army puts physical fitness and readiness as its top priority and maintains specialized exercise and dietary programs for everyone in uniform, including pregnant and postpartum Soldiers.The Army Pregnancy/Postpartum Physical Training Program, also known as P3T, is a standardized physical training and education program designed to enable pregnant and postpartum Soldiers to maintain fitness, according to the U.S. Army Public Health Center. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists encourages healthy women to exercise moderately for 30 minutes most days of the week throughout pregnancy and postpartum within guidelines and under the advice of their obstetrician.Maintaining Army-wide 3PT Programs improves Soldier and unit readiness and morale."The P3T is organized as a mandatory, weekly workout for all pregnant and postpartum, active-duty Soldiers," said Sgt. Victor Gonzalez, Belvoir P3T Program coordinator. "In the past, some units would or wouldn't have a fitness program for pregnant and postpartum Soldiers and there was no real structure or standardization for training and instructors. Now, the Army can ensure they are exercising safely, so they can maintain their fitness and re-enter the fighting force with little to no change in physical fitness."The ACFTGonzalez added that Soldiers who complete the P3T program will ultimately take the new Army Combat Fitness Test, like any other Service member."Once pregnancy is confirmed, Soldiers are put on a profile and enrolled in the P3T, and, regardless of what stage of pregnancy they're in, continue to be enrolled until delivery. At that point, the Army allows them 180 days to get back into physical fitness standards before they have to take a record PT test," he said."Since the ACFT won't go into effect until Oct. 1, we're in a transitional period wherein some Soldiers in P3T will come off their profile prior to Oct. 1. As such, we have a blended program in which we still focus on Army Physical Fitness Test standards, pushups, sit-up and the two-mile run, but we're slowly integrating the new ACFT standards for those Soldiers who will have a delivery date within six months of when the ACFT takes over," he said. "At this stage of the transition, we focus on APFT exercises some days, and on other days, we focus on the ACFT."While the exercises are all variations of APFT and ACFT requirements, the main difference is the order in which they're being done and focusing on the safety considerations. The instructors and facilitators are aware of signs and symptoms that a pregnant or postpartum Soldier may be experiencing," Gonzalez said. "The intent is to get our Soldiers to the levels of fitness they had before they became pregnant.""This program helps pregnant women to be physically fit when they have their babies and when they need to get back in shape to pass the ACFT," said instructor Sgt. Yamili Rodriguez, Army Geospatial Intelligence Battalion.Four postpartum Soldiers participated in the P3T session, Feb. 18. Instructor, Sgt. 1st Class Richard Mantanona, Belvoir P3T NCIOC, began the workout with a safety briefing and an explanation of each exercise station, and then ran the participants through a vigorous warm-up. The main exercises included several styles of pushups and kettle-bell squats; plank shoulder taps; dead lifts and calf raises; goblet squats and knee bends. Participants visited each station, with a 30-second break between, through multiple cycles."I'm really happy with the effort I'm seeing out here today," Mantanona said.When the fast-paced session drew to a close, the active-duty moms had nothing but positive things to say about the experience."I think this program is essential, because regular PT doesn't take into consideration pregnant women and alternative exercises for them," said Spc. Analyssa Castro, Army Geospatial Intelligence Battalion. "Also, in this environment, you feel less pressure, because in regular PT, everyone is going for their maximum scores and you're still working on it. So here, you're around people who are on the same level as you.""This program's really helped me recover from pregnancy--coming back from that is hard enough already," added Sgt. Isabella Alcantara, Fort Belvoir Dental Clinic. "So, with the ACFT, the P3T Program is really helping us get (prepared for it) . . . and we have to work harder to get there."For more information on the P3T Program on Fort Belvoir, call Gonzalez at 571-231-3499, or email Sgt. 1st Class Richard Mantanona, richard.a.mantanona.mil@mail.mil.