What happens if you get pregnant on sea duty?

Getting pregnant while on sea duty in the Navy can be challenging and raise many questions about your future naval service. This article will provide a comprehensive overview of the policies, procedures, and options available if you become pregnant during an assignment at sea.

Can you stay on a ship if you are pregnant?

In most cases, pregnant service members are not permitted to remain on a Navy ship once their pregnancy is confirmed. This policy is in place for health and safety reasons associated with pregnancy and potential complications.

Upon receiving confirmation of pregnancy, Navy regulations require the expectant service member to be transferred off ship to a shore assignment. This transfer is to occur within 30 days or less if the ship is about to deploy. Exceptions can occasionally be granted to delay transfer until the end of a ship’s deployment.

When do you have to inform your chain of command?

Navy regulations require a pregnant service member to notify their chain of command, including their commanding officer, as soon as the pregnancy is confirmed. Notification should happen even if termination is being considered. The chain of command must be promptly informed so preparations can be made for a shore assignment transfer.

Delaying notification could lead to risks to your health and pregnancy if you were to remain aboard ship. Let your chain of command know about your pregnancy as soon as possible so accommodations can be arranged.

What duty assignments are pregnant sailors given?

Once pregnancy is confirmed, every effort is made to transfer the expectant service member to shore duty appropriate for her rate, rank, and career timing. Geographical stability near her spouse or family is also considered when assigning shore duty stations.

Some examples of shore assignments pregnant sailors may be given include:

  • Recruit division commander at recruit training commands
  • Instructor roles at A-schools or fleet training centers
  • Administrative, classified, or operational planning roles at shore commands
  • Staff or headquarters roles at major shore facilities

The rating and abilities of the pregnant service member are matched against available billets needing to be filled. Most sailors can expect an assignment that aligns with their capabilities and career progression.

Can you choose where you get stationed while pregnant?

Pregnant service members are given some level of input regarding their preferences for shore duty locations and assignments. However, the needs of the Navy take priority in determining actual duty stations.

Sailors may submit location requests based on proximity to family, spousal assignments, quality of medical facilities, or other personal factors. If the Navy has a need at any of those locations and an open billet matching her rank and skills, attempts will be made to accommodate preferences.

However, there are no guarantees a preferred location will be available. The Navy ultimately makes assignments based on its personnel needs at various facilities.

What if you get pregnant right before a deployment?

Getting pregnant immediately prior to a scheduled ship deployment creates additional challenges. Navy regulations require transfer to shore duty within 30 days of pregnancy confirmation.

However, exceptions may be requested to delay transfer until the end of the upcoming deployment within certain guidelines:

  • The delay must not create additional medical risk or hardship.
  • Appropriate medical care must be available aboard ship.
  • The service member must consent to the delayed transfer in writing.
  • A pregnancy transfer plan must still be submitted and approved.

Even with an approved delay, the expectant service member can still request immediate transfer from the ship for any reason if desired.

Can you fly on planes when pregnant in the navy?

Navy policy allows pregnant service members to utilize air travel on military aircraft as long as certain guidelines are met:

  • Travel is approved by a medical officer as safe given the stage of pregnancy.
  • For travel after the 34th week of pregnancy, approval from the nearest Naval MTF is required.
  • The purpose of travel aligns with priority needs like medical appointments, PCS moves, or emergency leave.

These precautions are in place to ensure the health and safety of the pregnant service member and baby during air travel. Some restrictions may be mandated by civilian airlines as well. Expect limitations on availability of air travel later in pregnancy when risks are higher.

Can a pregnant sailor wear civilian maternity clothes?

Yes, Navy policy authorizes pregnant service members to wear appropriate civilian maternity clothes in lieu of uniform items during pregnancy. This authorization helps accommodate changing body shape and comfort needs.

Rules for wearing civilian maternity attire include:

  • Clothing must be conservative, professional, and acceptable for the duty environment.
  • Maternity smock tops may be worn over service slacks.
  • Maternity dresses are allowed for office settings.
  • Maternity jeans can only be worn on Fridays or if authorized for specific dirty work roles.

Make sure civilian maternity wear conforms to expectations for modesty and professionalism associated with the Navy uniform.

What maternity uniforms are available in the Navy?

The Navy provides the following authorized maternity uniform items to support proper uniform wear during pregnancy:

  • Maternity service dress blue jacket
  • Maternity service khaki jacket
  • Maternity service dress blue slacks
  • Maternity service khaki slacks
  • Maternity service dress white slacks
  • Maternity jumper
  • Maternity Dixie cup cover
  • Maternity black beret

These items feature adjustable waistbands with elastic gussets for maximum comfort as the pregnancy progresses. Maternity uniforms are issued as needed to enlisted sailors and officers.

What PT standards apply during pregnancy?

Navy physical readiness test (PRT) requirements are adjusted for expectant service members to account for the unique capabilities and restrictions of pregnancy.

Full PRT participation is suspended upon pregnancy confirmation. In lieu of regular PRT standards, the following rules apply during pregnancy:

  • Swim qualifications are suspended until 6 months postpartum.
  • No organized remedial PRT or FEP enrollment.
  • PRT failures cannot be assigned due to pregnancy.
  • CO discretion to allow modified personal workout routines.

Pregnant service members are encouraged to maintain fitness within medical guidance. Normal PRT standards resume at 6 months postpartum.

Can you stay in the Navy if you have a baby?

Getting pregnant and having a baby does not automatically disqualify you from continuing your Navy service. Many policies exist to support continuity of naval careers for new parents.

Navy women may continue serving following childbirth within established regulations, including:

  • 6 weeks convalescent leave after delivery.
  • Option to take 6 more weeks new parent leave.
  • Ability to temporarily transfer to shore duty.
  • Extended options to separate only if desired.

Opportunities to balance naval service and parenthood exist through flexible assignments, leave options, and separation choices. Policies enable continuation of career following pregnancy if desired.

Can fathers request discharge when wife gets pregnant?

Military fathers do not rate discharge solely due to their spouse’s pregnancy. However, they may request early separation or reassignment to align with the needs of their family.

Options that may be available for expectant fathers include:

  • Apply for shore duty to be geographically close to family.
  • Request reassignment to a location near spouse’s shore assignment.
  • Ask for hardship discharge if underservice requirements are met.
  • Transfer to reserves to reduce deployment separation.

While pregnancy of a military spouse does not guarantee the service member’s own separation or reassignment, fathers can submit requests for consideration based on supporting their new family.

Can single parents stay in the Navy?

Single parenthood does not automatically disqualify someone from naval service. Policies provide options for single parent sailors to balance family responsibilities with military duties.

Single mothers and fathers may continue their Navy careers by utilizing resources such as:

  • Flexible shore duty assignments around children.
  • Access to military childcare facilities.
  • Ability to designate someone as guardian during deployments.
  • Ongoing enrollment for children in military health benefits.
  • Exceptional Family Member Program for unique family needs.

While challenging, single parenthood in the Navy is supported by programs and policies enabling sailors to serve while raising children.

What maternal mental health services are available?

The Navy understands the impacts pregnancy and motherhood can have on mental health. Various free and confidential services are available to support maternal mental wellness:

  • Prenatal behavioral health screenings – Assess and advise women on mental health changes during and after pregnancy.
  • Postpartum depression screening – Proactively identify risk factors for postpartum mood disorders.
  • Psychological evaluations – Diagnose conditions like postpartum depression and anxiety.
  • Counseling – Short-term mental health therapy addressing pregnancy and postpartum issues.
  • Support groups – Connect with fellow military moms facing similar challenges.

Seeking help early for mental health concerns during motherhood enables the fastest recovery. Navy medical resources strive to promote total maternal wellness.

What newborn care services are covered?

The Navy provides comprehensive medical coverage for newborn care through TRICARE health benefits and military treatment facilities (MTFs). Standard covered newborn services include:

  • Delivery and postnatal hospital care
  • Circumcision
  • Newborn medical exams
  • Screening tests for abnormalities and disorders
  • Newborn hearing tests
  • Administration of vitamin K shot
  • Pediatrician visits for the first six weeks

Many MTFs offer lactation support, nurseries, and breastfeeding classes as well. Newborns receive robust medical services during the critical first weeks of life.

What options exist for childcare in the Navy?

Balancing Navy duties as a new parent involves proper childcare planning. The Navy provides access to multiple regulated, affordable childcare options through the following programs:

  • Child Development Centers – Centrally-located childcare on base for ages 6 weeks to 5 years.
  • Child Development Homes – Smaller licensed in-home daycares for up to 12 children.
  • Youth Centers – After school and school break care for ages 6-12 years.
  • Family Child Care – In-home accredited daycare run by trained Navy spouses.

Additional options like hourly care, 24/7 care, and respite care provide flexibility to meet unique childcare needs of Navy families.

Navy Childcare Fees

Total Family Income Hourly Fee
Under $60,000 $3
$60,001-$69,999 $4
$70,000-$99,999 $5
Over $100,000 $8


Getting pregnant on sea duty prompts many questions and changes. However, Navy policies protect pregnant service members and provide options to balance family plans with military service. Resources and support systems enable sailors to navigate pregnancy in a way that honors their family responsibilities.

The Navy makes efforts to set new parents up for success professionally and personally. While challenging, parenthood and naval service do not have to be mutually exclusive with proper planning, communication, and utilization of available resources.

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