The National Guard is the United States' oldest defense branch. It was founded in 1636 and is the only branch of the military that serves both federal and state governments. The Guard offers multiple incentives to its members, including possibly paying college tuition, salaried jobs and insurance benefits. For female soldiers in the Guard who become pregnant while serving, the Guard has multiple policies in place to manage the situation.
Once a woman soldier is confirmed pregnant, she is immediately given "non-deployment" status for up to 12 months, meaning she will not be expected to leave the country. Though combat assignments are obviously unrealistic for women during pregnancy, the travel demands and possible substandard medical and nourishment conditions overseas also eliminate the possibility of any "desk jobs" at international posts as well.
Once a soldier has given birth, she is authorized by the military to take up to six weeks of convalescent leave. This begins the day the woman leaves the hospital after giving birth. If she requires more time, this can be followed by several weeks of regular leave if she is approved by her commanding officer. The Department of Defense also mandates that any new mother (or one member of a dual-military family who has adopted a new child) cannot be deployed overseas for at least four months following the birth or the adoption.
Training and Assignment of New Duties
Soldiers are either prohibited or greatly restricted from participating in many training exercises while pregnant, including the shooting range, field exercises and transport in particular military vehicles deemed too stressful or jarring. Any pregnant soldier involved in fieldwork or an assignment considered to be too hazardous for her condition will be switched to a paperwork position or another low-stress job for the duration of her pregnancy. Once the baby is born and the maternity leave has expired, she can possibly return to her previous position if her conditioning is deemed appropriate to the task.
- a soldier on exercise image by Pavel Bernshtam from Fotolia.com