ARLINGTON, Virginia –
Airmen and Guardians who have been pregnant within the last five years recently received a survey via email about their pregnancy and postpartum experiences.
The survey was sent to approximately 17,000 members and solicits feedback on topics including prenatal care, delivery, fitness, pregnancy loss, postpartum mental and physical recovery, infertility, and postpartum experiences.
The information collected will help determine if any barriers to mission readiness exist due to pregnancy, pregnancy loss and postpartum recovery. It will also be used to shape policies that affect Airmen and Guardians’ pregnancy and postpartum experiences.
“One obstacle for female service members is the lack of a structured postpartum recovery plan,” said Nnenna Johnson, a Department of the Air Force Women’s Initiatives Team female specialized health care co-lead. “Without adequate postpartum support, pregnant service members can struggle to return to mission readiness. This may lead to alienation, feelings of being a burden on their unit and ultimately making the choice to leave the service.”
The core survey can take up to 30 minutes to complete, but members may select additional questions regarding topics that will provide further insight into their individual experiences.
According to the Government Accountability Office, female service members make up 16.5% of the military, with an attrition rate that is 28% higher than their male counterparts.
“Some women have the perception that they have to choose between family or career advancement,” said Master Sgt. Sylvia Eldridge, a female specialized health care co-lead for the WIT. “We need our leaders to encourage our members to take the survey. Without their stories and perspectives, we cannot determine if problems exist and cannot develop the solutions needed.”
The survey was initiated by Eldridge and Johnson, who collaborated with the Surgeon General, Medical Readiness Agency, DAF Survey Office, and DAF Studies and Analysis Directorate.
Airmen or Guardians who would like to provide feedback on their pregnancy and postpartum experiences but who do not receive an email invitation from the DAF Survey Office should provide their contact information to HAF.Pre.Postpartum.Exp.Survey@gmail.com.