BAMBERG, Germany -- Soldiers have to be physically and emotionally ready for field exercises, deployments and even normal duty at all times.

For an expecting Soldier, military readiness can be challenging. Once a Soldier finds out she is pregnant, she is exempt from regular physical fitness training, testing and weight standards until six months after delivery. Subsequent to receiving medical clearance, pregnant and postpartum Soldiers are able to take part in the Army Pregnancy/Postpartum Physical Training Program, or PPPT, state Army regulations.

A two-and-a-half day PPPT workshop, hosted by U.S. Army Garrison Bamberg in partnership with Public Health Command-Region, was conducted at the Freedom Fitness Facility April 4-6. The class certified 23 exercise leaders to instruct physical training for prenatal and postnatal Soldiers.

The purpose of PPPT is to offer a standardized PT and education program for pregnant and postpartum Soldiers, said Carrie Shult, Department of Health Promotion and Wellness deputy who taught the class. Therefore, pregnant Soldiers are able to work out in a safe environment and successfully transition back to unit PT and meet regulation standards for weight postpartum.

"Military women want to continue with their career and have a family," Shult said. "Giving them a place where they can feel safe and valued creates more positive experiences."

In the past unit training personnel were not trained to lead exercises for pregnant/ postpartum Soldiers, forcing many pregnant Soldiers to train on their own or not at all, according to the program fact sheet. As a result the rate of Army PT test, weight failures and injuries were significant after returning to unit PT six months after their recovery.

"The program wasn't available when I was pregnant," said an exercise leader trainee. "After having my baby, I felt a lot of pressure. Because of this program, women don't have to feel pressured to do 100 push-ups after having a baby."

In addition to fitness, the program also provides Soldiers emotional support during and after their pregnancy.

"As a pregnant Soldier, it's an opportunity to create a club, a social network," Shult said. "[PPPT] creates an environment where stories and experiences can be shared."

Exercise leaders can create an open dialogue to help produce positive feelings of pregnancy, build self-esteem and confidence, she said.

"It's a win for everyone involved," said Angela Hunter, USAG Bamberg and Schweinfurt's health promotion officer. "[PPPT] creates soldier readiness as well as family readiness. Leadership values it and sees the value of it."

Locally the program is a partnership between the garrison, medical, and tactical units, Hunter said. Enrollments for the program will take place May 2-6 in building 7089, room 304.

For more information on Pregnancy and Postpartum Physical Training contact Terri Feezor at 0951-300-8661.