News: Ironhorse soldiers learn how to instruct pregnancy PT
Story by Sgt. John Couffer
FORT HOOD, Texas – In a room surrounded by mirrors at the back of a gym, soldiers sat on exercise equipment, in a semi-circle formation, while learning how to coach physical training to pregnant and postpartum women in the Army.
Soldiers assigned to the 1st “Ironhorse” Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, attended the Army’s Pregnancy/Postpartum Physical Training Program course in order to properly conduct PT for pregnant soldiers Jan. 16 at the Applied Physical Fitness Center here.
“It is a program designed to provide physical fitness training and education that meets the unique needs of pregnant and postpartum soldiers,” said Honolulu native Shaunta’ Bailey, the PPPT coordinator for Fort Hood.
Bailey, who has been the coordinator for more than a year, stated PPPT offers what normal physical training cannot.
“PPPT fills the gap. The methods and exercises used in PPPT are approved by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and are chosen to prepare the soldier for birth and recovery, Bailey said.
Bailey also mentioned unbalanced muscles can cause fatigue and injury by placing undue stress on skeletal muscles. The PPPT component known as “centering” helps alleviate that stress by promoting efficient alignment and aids pregnant soldiers by helping them adjust to their new center of gravity.
The PPPT course, according to Bailey, also focuses on things like; changes during pregnancy and postpartum, nutrition during and after pregnancy and mother and child safety.
Austin, Texas native Sgt. Gregory Barnes, a cavalry scout assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 1st Squadron, 7th “GarryOwen” Cavalry Regiment of the Ironhorse Brigade and current participant in the PPPT course said, “the most significant thing (I learned) would have to be that it’s not a program they built two days ago. It (was) like 2002 when they actually got it established.”
Barnes commented he never knew pregnancy PT was so in depth or what it offered for pregnant soldiers.
“This (training) is huge,” Barnes said. “I did not have any idea that it was this in-depth for actually working around the body itself.”
This training, according to Barnes, should be taught to every pregnant female, adding that he has two kids himself and never knew what the woman’s body went through.
A fellow soldier, also participating in the training, said that aside from maintaining a level of fitness, it also helps with preventing injuries to the mother and child and aids with birth itself.
“(PPPT prevents) hazards and problems to the baby (and) problems with complications with child birth,” said Anderson, S.C. native Sgt. Jeneane Eurell, a human intelligence collector assigned to Co. A, 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion of the Ironhorse Brigade. “Besides keeping them in shape, it helps you get ready for labor and have an easier labor.”
Eurell stated she is not, nor has she ever been pregnant, but with the training she can better support pregnant Soldiers.
“I understand that I’ve never been pregnant, but I know what it’s like to deal with a soldier who just has a bad day or feels fat or her husband’s giving her a lot of flak about things. I think I can provide that emotional support,” Eurell said.
Barnes explained the benefits of this training will help women out.
“(The) program itself is going to help teach women how to take care of themselves throughout the entire pregnancy to make a faster recovery,” Barnes said.
When it comes to training of this nature, Eurell stated it is best to come in with an open mind.
“You need to come into it with an open mind because if you come into this (training) with a bad attitude, then you do actual PT with these women and these women are already having a bad day, you need to keep a positive attitude,” Eurell said.
Bailey added that, as PPPT instructors, it is imperative to understand how the program works.
“The knowledge related to anatomical, physiological, and psychological changes assists Exercise Leaders in understanding how exercise positively affects these changes and how to lead soldiers in exercises designed to meet the changing needs of the soldier and provide the best program for soldiers,” Bailey said.
When asked, Barnes mentioned his greatest challenge in instructing pregnant soldiers would be not being a female himself, but said he looks forward to walking them through what steps they need to stay in shape based off the training he received.
The most important thing Barnes said he took away from this is that pregnant Soldiers are not alone.
“There is help out there that is the most important thing,” Barnes said.
Bailey said the PPPT program should be enforced from the first-line supervisor to brigade commanders, as it assists pregnant and postpartum Soldiers on so many levels.
“I appreciate the work that all of our Exercise Leaders, Instructor Trainers, and NCOICs put into the PPPT Program,” Bailey concluded. “The Program has many moving parts and runs off their dedication. Without them, our pregnant and postpartum soldiers would not receive this specialized instruction.”