FORT SILL, Okla., Aug. 27, 2020 -- The P3T program at Fort Sill’s Graham Performance Enhancement Center was among the multitudes that were shut down in March because of the COVID-19 crisis, but it has been back up and running since June 22.P3T stands for Pregnancy/Postpartum Physical Training. It is designed to help pregnant Soldiers stay healthy and strong so that they can return to PT with their units as soon as possible after giving birth.“We focus primarily on those Soldiers who are pregnant, those Soldiers who are postpartum, and making sure that they go back to their units and that they maintain a specific level of physical fitness throughout the entire process,” Fort Sill P3T Program Manager Samantha Henrickson explained.“Being able to stay active while you’re pregnant, being able to have that camaraderie with other people who are pregnant helps you as a whole and helps the Army as a whole. You’re made resilient, and you come back much better on the other side of it,” she added.Participants meet from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. Monday through Friday for workout sessions.“We do a wide variety of workouts with the ladies. We do anything from strength to cardio. We have pool PT going on on Fridays. We really try hard to make sure that they maintain physical fitness throughout their entire pregnancy, and that we make sure that they have the physical training on the back side to get them ready for the ACFT (Army Combat Fitness Test),” Henrickson said.About 20 women are involved in the program right now.“It’s a little bit different because of the COVID-19 restrictions. We do have some ladies who have daycare restrictions. We have some ladies who are more susceptible than others,” she noted.“Expectant mothers can exercise right up until the end unless a medical professional tells them, ‘Hey, you need to stop,’” said Henrickson.The exercises vary according to which trimester they’re in.“They all vary a little bit, and they’re all modified, depending on how pregnant a person is, in order to keep everybody safe,” she said.Morning sickness is a common complaint among women in their first trimester of pregnancy, but they’re not nearly as limited physically as they are in the second or third trimester.“First trimester can pretty much do anything that the postpartum ladies could do,” she said.Henrickson starts cutting the regimen down a little when they reach second trimester.“At that point the ladies should be on their backs. There are certain things they shouldn’t do, and they need to be much more careful than the postpartum ladies or even the first trimester,” she said.Strength training is preferable for the second and third trimesters.“We just need to slow it down a little bit, work on building up some muscles’ endurance, and getting them ready to deliver a baby and get back to it,” Henrickson said.What stage should expectant soldiers start P3T?“Immediately,” she recommends. “As soon as they find out, as soon as they’ve been to their doctor, they can fill out their paperwork and then they can start coming.”If someone is expecting twins or triplets, does that affect their training?“It really depends on what their medical experts say. It depends on what their profile is and what their OB/GYN says and what they can do without breaking their profile,” she said.Height and weight don’t come into consideration until the postpartum stage of the program, when the P3T staff keeps track to try to figure out how far away the Soldiers are from the Army standard and see what has to be done to get them back to their units.Education classes are held every Thursday to give the Soldiers other information on how to have a healthy baby.“We try to get a nice variety of experts to come in and talk to them about a variety of topics, from resiliency to nutrition,” she said.There are also postpartum education classes once a month.“The goal is to try to get the ladies to pass the ACFT before they leave. So ACFT is the overarching goal. But we want to make sure that they’re ready to go to PT back with their units,” Henrickson said.The P3T program tries to have them back within six months, but there have been women who have gotten authorization from their doctors to extend the timeframe, and Henrickson said they’re completely fine with that. Having a Caesarian section, for example, makes everything in the ACFT a little bit harder, but more specifically the leg tuck.