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Pregnancy can be both an exciting and stressful time – especially for service members. In the past, acquiring maternity uniform pieces has been a challenge for many pregnant Sailors. However, thanks to the Navy’s new Maternity Pilot Program (MPP), the difficult task of obtaining all of the correct maternity uniforms has been alleviated.
Originally announced in December 2021 with the release of NAVADMIN 284/21, the MPP is a team effort, administratively managed by the Chief of Naval Personnel’s Uniform Matters Office with the support of the Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM) for fulfillment.
“The goal of the program is to evaluate if providing returnable maternity uniforms is more feasible and efficient than providing a uniform allowance,” said Rob Carroll, the head of uniform matters.
Carroll noted that the program is open to all pregnant officers and enlisted, active and reserve Sailors. Sailors are also allowed to participate in the MPP more than once in regards to future pregnancies.
Once approved and selected for the program, participants receive one set of maternity working, service and dress uniforms, and the maternity cardigan sweater at no charge as a loan, which participants will return once they have transitioned back to regular Navy uniforms. Maternity working uniforms come complete with sewn-on embroidered name tape, service tape and qualification insignia. Enlisted E-1 to E-6 maternity dress uniforms will come with sewn-on rank insignia. Hemming and shipment of uniforms is performed free of charge.
Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Savana Romey, who is expecting her first child and currently assigned to the dental clinic at Walter Reed National Medical Center, learned about the program through a family planning class held at her command.
“I was drawn to the program because it seemed like the best way to ensure I was getting all of the maternity uniforms I needed,” said Romey. “The most appealing part to me was that I would have all the correct sizes of uniforms shipped to me for free, and I would not have run around to find all of the required uniform pieces.”
Romey said the whole process of applying for the program was very quick and easy, as the MyNavyHR website for the MPP had step-by-step instructions on how to apply. The Uniform Matters Office at MyNavyHR was also very helpful when it came to answering any questions she had.
Within one day of submitting her command-approved paperwork, Romey was accepted into the MPP and then shortly thereafter received all of her approved maternity uniforms at her doorstep.
“It really was the best option for getting maternity uniforms,” said Romey. “It alleviated any stress I had about maternity uniforms, and was just one of the many supportive programs the Navy has for pregnant Sailors.”
In order to apply for the program, Sailors must fill out the MPP application and route it through their chain of command. Once approved by their command, Sailors download a size measurement sheet from the website, take it to the NEX Uniform Shop and get measured for their maternity uniforms. If the Sailor is not stationed near an exchange, the website has a video with instructions on measuring themselves.
If stationed closer to an Army/Air Force or Marine Corps uniform center, those shops will also help measure Sailors. Uniform Matters then sends the approval and measurements to NEXCOM.
“The uniform items will be sent from NEXCOM’s Southeast Distribution Center to the Sailor’s home,” said Cmdr. Terri Gabriel, Deputy Commander, Military Uniforms of NEXCOM. “The Sailor doesn’t need to pick up or have their uniforms altered at the NEX. It will arrive at her door, ready to wear.”
After the pregnancy is over and the maternity uniforms are no longer needed, the Sailor returns them to the NEXCOM Southeast Distribution Center. The Navy again picks up the bill for shipping. Returned uniforms are inspected, laundered and repaired if necessary. NEXCOM will reissue returned uniforms that meet acceptable wear standards to other MPP participants.
The MPP will run through Sept. 30, 2026. For fiscal year 2022, the program aims to support at least 400 Sailors. The Navy is on track to meet that goal with 333 Sailors having participated this year already. Carroll noted that the program is still accepting applications for this fiscal year and is aiming to meet their goal of 800 Sailors next year.
“We are very happy that we are seeing the benefits of this program upfront,” said Carroll. “It’s good to know pregnant Sailors have a one-stop shop for maternity uniforms. They are getting everything they need hassle-free – all they have to do is submit a chit and we do the work for them.”
All information and resources regarding the MPP can be found at https://www.mynavyhr.navy.mil/References/US-Navy-Uniforms/Maternity-Pilot-Program/.
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