Having a baby is a life-changing event for anyone. But for women in the military, it can be especially challenging. Besides the physical and mental demands of postpartum recovery, they also face the added pressure of passing the mandatory Physical Fitness Test (PFT) within 12 months of giving birth. Enter Fit Warrior Mom, a first-of-its-kind digital training program that’s revolutionizing postpartum fitness for military mothers. Discover how this extraordinary program helps prepare new mothers to return to physical and mental readiness.
A Growing Demographic, A Growing Need
In recent years, there’s been a significant surge in the number of women serving in the military. According to the Department of Defense, over 230,000 women are actively serving, comprising 17% of all Service Members, and 21.4% of the National Guard and Reserves. This demographic shift is particularly noteworthy because the majority of women service members are in their childbearing years. (Thirty-seven percent of all women veterans and 42% of those using VA health benefits also fall into this category.)
Furthermore, a 2022 survey of active-duty female service members found that over 40 % reported a pregnancy since joining the military, and 16 % were pregnant the year before taking the survey.
Helping Warrior Moms Return to Fitness
Staying physically active throughout all life stages, including pregnancy and the postpartum period, provides undeniable health benefits. Postpartum exercise, in particular, offers new mothers incredible advantages, including mood improvement, cardiovascular health, weight management, and reduced depression and anxiety.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, postpartum women should gradually resume their exercise routines as soon as it’s safe, and there are no medical or surgical complications. Government guidelines recommend that postpartum mothers engage in a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, including cardiovascular and strength training, and pelvic floor exercises.
Yet, despite their determination to get back in shape and pass the PFT, military mothers can face challenges getting started. They often must navigate postpartum fitness on their own, without the guidance and instruction essential for a safe and gradual return to exercise.
Aim High: Pass the PFT with Confidence
Fit Warrior Mom, developed in collaboration with the United States Air Force, provides mothers with everything they need for a successful postpartum journey. The program unfolds in four phases, each accompanied by assessments to help users confidently pass their Physical Fitness Test. Built on the Comprehensive Airman Fitness Framework’s four pillars of resilience, the scalable digital solution is currently being piloted at Air Force bases across the U.S.
“The first postpartum PFT is a struggle for most new moms,” says Major Sarah Brown-Fernandez, an Air Force women’s health provider. “We formerly had to navigate this on our own. The Fit Warrior Mom program takes into account all aspects of this struggle, creating a unique fitness plan to build not only the strength, but also the confidence to succeed on that first postpartum PFT.”
Personalized Postpartum Fitness
As the only technology designed to help military mothers pass their PFT, Fit Warrior Mom’s digital solution is a revolutionary approach to postpartum fitness. Integrating AI and data-driven algorithms, hyper-personalized smart coaching tailors itself to each user’s unique postpartum journey, physical capabilities, and fitness goals. By continually adjusting workout intensity and difficulty, new moms get a safe and effective postnatal fitness experience tailored just for them.
The workout components vary depending on how many weeks have passed since childbirth, but in general, each phase includes:
- Core work
- Functional movements
- Pelvic floor therapy
- Cardiovascular exercises
- Strength training
- Mobility exercises
- Mind/body exercises
The program even accounts for the unpredictability of motherhood, offering workouts that can be performed with an infant on those inevitable days when the baby can’t seem to settle down.
Support Beyond the PFT
Fit Warrior Mom extends beyond fitness, offering a wealth of educational resources and mental health support for postpartum wellness, available 24/7. Whether it’s guidance on nutrition, breastfeeding, or stress management, Fit Warrior Mom serves as a trusted companion throughout the postpartum journey.
Meeting Military Standards: A Transformational Tale
“I faced many challenges trying to bounce back and recover after my traumatic birthing experience via cesarean with my daughter,” says Jasmine Copeland, 2nd Lieutenant in the Air Force. “For almost a year I struggled with being able to pull myself out of bed without assistance, let alone perform sit-ups to meet military fitness standards.”
Her turning point was embracing Fit Warrior Mom. She explains, “Being a part of a pregnancy and postpartum program not only connected me with women sharing similar experiences but also gave me the tools to help rebuild and strengthen my core, getting back to my pre-baby physique.”
A Scalable and Accessible Solution
As a digital solution, Fit Warrior Mom is accessible anytime, anywhere. Warrior moms can tap into their personalized fitness plans and resources at their convenience, making consistent, adaptable postpartum workouts a reality.
For more information on PEAR Health Labs’ AI-powered fitness training solutions for the military, firefighters, police, and other first responders, visit pearhealthlabs.com/solutions/military-and-government.