The Navy is modifying its maternity uniform pilot program so pregnant sailors may choose the uniforms that accommodate their work environment best — rather than receive one of each type of maternity uniform and a standard cardigan.
The update aims to reduce sea bag requirements because pregnant sailors reported they didn’t wear all the uniforms issued, according to a spokeswoman for the Chief of Naval Personnel.
“The new sea bag options empower the Sailor who works at a command wearing [Navy Working Uniforms] every day to receive two sets instead of one, with a Service Uniform, a Dress Uniform and cardigan,” Lt. Sarah Niles said in an email to Navy Times.
“A Sailor who works at a command wearing Service Uniforms (NSU/khakis) everyday can select the option giving them two sets and no NWUs,” Niles said. “This allows Sailors to have the uniforms they need, their command requires and expands the number of uniforms for use and reissue without unnecessary alterations.”
The pilot program, which launched in 2022, now offers pregnant sailors several uniform combinations:
- The waterfront option: Two sets of Navy Working Uniforms (NWU), one service uniform, one dress uniform (service dress blue or white), and a cardigan sweater
- Ashore staff option A: One set of NWUs, two service uniforms, one dress uniform (service dress blue or white), and a cardigan sweater
- Ashore staff option B: Two service uniforms, one or two dress uniforms (service dress blue or white one each), and a cardigan sweater
Sailors may also still choose the standard option, which offers one of each uniform and the cardigan sweater.
No design changes to the uniforms are included in this recent update. However, Niles said that an “improved” service dress blue top will be included in the maternity uniform inventory in the near future.
The Navy announced in 2021 the creation of the maternity uniform pilot program to provide pregnant sailors with maternity uniforms at no cost. Sailors then return them to the service once they are no longer pregnant.
“Issued maternity uniforms may be worn throughout the period of required wear up to 12 months after receipt,” according to a 2021 naval administrative message. “Participant selection will occur on a first-come, first-served basis. Uniforms will be provided to participants fully hemmed and with all required sewn-on accoutrements attached.”
The pilot program kicked off on Jan. 2, 2022, and will continue until Sept. 30, 2026. It has so far served more than 850 sailors.
Sailors must provide medical documentation of their pregnancy and command approval, and submit an application on the MyNavy HR website to participate in the pilot program. Those eligible must not have received, or intend to receive, a maternity clothing allowance.