Upon joining a branch of service or marrying into the military, moving away from all your friends and family is always a huge adjustment. So, what happens when you or someone close to you think you may be pregnant?
One of the first things we do when we are faced with any situation is we turn to the internet to research what to do next. The internet can provide us with a ton of helpful information but it can also lead us to read into the myths of the dark web and cause unnecessary anxiety in our thoughts.
So what are the most common myths related to pregnancy and the military?
Myth 1: Military life is incompatible with having a family: This is a false statement. The military is a very family-oriented organization. From battalion family fun days to community housing events; the military focuses on the families of those who serve. According to the Department of Defense, 52% of the military is made up of families, married or single and raising children, which is 4 % higher than the national average 48%.
Myth 2: You get penalized if you get pregnant: This statement is false. Just like if you were working in the civilian workplace, their are certain rules to follow in the workplace to maintain a safe and healthy pregnancy. The military puts you on light duty after you reach a certain point in your pregnancy. The military has amazing groups such as Baby Boot Camp, through the Navy Relief Society that helps parents budget for baby, learn basic child safety and are given a basket full of newborn goodies. Your command will usually allow you or your spouse to take time off of work to attend these life skill classes.
Myth 3: Once I have my baby I have to return right back to Active Duty! This statement is false. According to the Department of Defense, military women have better maternity leave options than civilian working moms. The DOD policy is the military women get 12 weeks of paid maternity leave, however, each branch of service has additional leave which can be up to 20 weeks of paid leave. The civilian law (Family Medical Leave Act) provides for up to 12 weeks for employers to allow their female employees during pregnancy.
Myth 4: My spouse will not receive paternity leave. This statement is also false. Married fathers on active duty can get up to 10 days of paternity leave and must be taken within 60 days of the child’s birth.
If you think you or someone you know are pregnant, there are community resources outside Camp Pendleton that can help provide no-cost pregnancy testing and are 100% confidential. At Pathway Health Clinic, we respect your privacy and do not report your visit to command or Tricare unless you have provided us with written consent and authorization. All our Advocates and Licensed Medical Professionals can help you explore all your options in a safe, confidential, judgment-free way.
To make an appointment, call us at 760-945-4673. If you are in a crisis, you can text our 24/7 crisis text line at 760-208-8811 and an advocate will respond. We are here to help.