By Ashley Nation
New guidelines within the Air Force pregnancy regulations have been set in place to allow pregnant Airmen more privacy during their prenatal period. This mandate comes from Commander General Mike Minihan and is a great win for women who become pregnant during their time in the military.

Suggested read:

What Happens if You Get Pregnant in the Military?

What Does the New Air Force Pregnancy Regulation Do?

In a press conference with Air Mobility Command, Captain Frances Castillo, WIT lead, said that “Pregnancy is the only medical condition identified in profiles, personnel, and readiness systems, making the diagnosis accessible to the unit before some women are able to process the news, determine viability, or even notify their own families.” Now, that’s all about to change. Pregnant Airmen will have proper access to prenatal care while now being able to maintain information privacy on the terms of their gestation. Though still being encouraged to inform their direct chain of command, information on pregnancy and details of its status will be strictly limited to immediate leadership and health authorities. In contrast to the previously required 10-month profile, the new 30-day profile given to pregnant Airmen will only document mobility, duty, and fitness.

Can You Be Pregnant in the Air Force?

We’re no longer in a time where pregnancy in the armed forces means getting discharged. If you're wondering what happens when you get pregnant in the Air Force, you’re generally able to perform all duties so long as you are medically able. Maternal bias, unfortunately, does still exist, and a 2021 report from the Department of the Air Force Inspector General identified this bias as the number one cause for women feeling out of place in the force. The same report showed that 25% of women would even delay their pregnancy testing (risking serious health conditions) out of fear for the future of their military careers. In terms of women’s health, this shift in air force pregnancy regulations also comes at a unique time: after Roe v Wade was just overturned.

Roe v Wade Decision 2022

Unexpected pregnancies are a reality for many in the military. Regardless of your stance on the Roe v Wade decision, it raised many practical questions for the U.S. military. People have been wondering what happens if Roe v Wade is overturned, and though the military doesn’t yet have all the answers, this is a great jumping off point. What we do know is that it entirely depends on where your duty station is, as individual states have the power to legalize abortion or not. The conversations surrounding abortion are polarizing but nonetheless a part of the larger discussion on women’s healthcare, where privacy is also a large concern. This change directly affords more privacy to expecting Airmen who may have previously felt their privacy was being stripped away. More specifically, it’s a piece of a larger effort to remove some of the barriers pregnant Airmen face and address the stigma surrounding the military and pregnancy. This is a great example of the military tackling systemic changes. Gen. Mike Minihan, head of Air Mobility Command, agrees and has stated that this is just the beginning of reform that needs to happen for Airmen.

The Past and Future of Military Pregnancy Regulations

In the past two years, longer hairstyles for women have become acceptable, and maternity flight suits have been developed for military pregnancy. In this regulation, specifically, pregnant Airmen can be empowered to decide when to make their pregnancy public. We, and the courageous women of the U.S. Air Force, look forward to the many changes like this one in the future of the military.

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Air Force Launches New Pilot for Victims of Sexual Assault in the Military



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