By Sgt. Patience Okhuofu, 260th QM Public Affairs UPARSeptember 8, 2011
FORT STEWART, Ga. - The Army places great emphasis on Soldiers being physically and mentally fit and that is why there are programs put at in place to help Soldiers maintain the standards.
One such program is the Pregnancy Post-Partum Physical Training.
The purpose of the PPPT program is to maintain the Health and Fitness levels of pregnant Soldiers and to assist them in returning to pre-pregnancy fitness levels after the end of their pregnancy thereby making it easier to integrate the Soldier into her Unit's Physical Readiness Training program.
The Chain of Command of the 260th Quartermaster Battalion know the importance of taking care of Soldiers and making sure they maintain the Army Standards hence they assigned two primary Instructors for the PPPT program and sent them to Fort Rucker, Alabama to get trained on how to conduct physical training for the Pregnant Soldiers and Soldiers who just had babies in the Battalion.
"It is an intensive, one week long training" said Staff Sergeant Hcedzile Mnisi, a primary Instructor. "The training started with us (instructors) understanding the purpose of the program, how it benefits the Soldiers. We were given nutritional information to assist pregnant Soldiers on their eating habits and also all the resources that we need to pass on to the Soldiers if they need help with breastfeeding, finance, preparing for the baby and any other issues that the Soldier(s) may have. Here at Hunter Army Airfield, we have received a lot of support from the Army Community Service, New Parent Support Program. They come out to the Battalion when invited to pass invaluable information to the Soldiers."
The 260th QM Bn. currently has two primary and six alternate PPPT Instructors; seven females and one male. When asked how the training affected him being the only male Instructor in the Battalion, Staff Sergeant Dwayne Taylor said the training he got at Fort Rucker made him empathize more with pregnant Soldiers. "They made us wear a pregnancy suit that weighed about 40lbs for two days. I ate, conducted all the exercises and went about my daily routine wearing it (pregnancy suit). I realized that it is not easy being a pregnant Soldier but I am glad that there are programs in place to help pregnant Soldiers especially for the first time mothers."
When asked what are the obstacles he came across he said female Soldiers can relate better to a female Instructor especially if that Instructor has delivered a child before but that does not stop him from continuously relating with the pregnant Soldiers and making sure they stay physically fit. He said he would like for more male leaders to get trained because it will help them understand what their pregnant and post-partum Soldiers go through and how to help them stay physically fit.
To partake in the PPPT program, female Soldiers are required to enroll once they find out they are pregnant. The Soldiers gets a form that needs to be filled and signed by their doctor clearing them to participate in the program. No pregnancy is the same, so the type of exercises performed varies from Soldier to Soldier. There are different exercises for each Trimester and modified exercises are conducted based on the Soldier's medical condition and the doctor's recommendation. The program is built to accommodate these differences and at the same time achieve its purpose.
"I am benefiting a lot from the program," said Sergeant Annie Foskey, Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 260th QM Battalion who is expecting a child later this year. "Participating in the PPPT program enables me to stay physically fit without endangering my health or my baby's health. The exercises conducted do not give room for over exertion and the Instructors are knowledgeable and highly motivated. I sincerely hope this program continues."