Air Force Clears Pregnant, Postpartum Airmen for PME

Pregnant Airmen and those who have given birth within the past 12 months may now attend professional military education without getting special permission or passing a fitness test first, according to a recent Air Force policy change.

The decision about whether or not to attend PME is now up to these Airmen and their medical teams. While at PME, these Airmen are exempt from performing any physical tasks that might make them feel uneasy, a July 29 USAF release said.

“Routine obstetric care may not be available at the PME location, so members should work with their primary care manager or obstetrician to obtain medical clearance and any required paperwork,” it noted.

 Air Force Instruction 23-2670 explains the relevant exemption details.

“Empowering women to make a decision about the right time to attend PME, especially during or after pregnancy, is the right thing to do,” said Gwendolyn R. DeFilippi, assistant deputy director of Air Force manpower, personnel, and services and strategic director of the Department of the Air Force Barrier Analysis Working Group, in the release. “These type of policy changes provide women flexibility to balance family planning and career progression; they help level the playing field.”

The Air Force’s Women’s Initiative Team helped bring the idea to the table, the release noted.

“We found some people wanted to attend PME during pregnancy, but were facing obstacles to attend,” team chief Maj. Alea Nadeem said in the release. “The WIT advocated for pregnant women to work directly with their primary care manager or obstetrician to empower them to make a well-informed decision.”