Maternity Clothes Spotlight: Military Mom Uniforms

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Pregnant Soldier
Flickr photo from T.A.H.
I was perusing Flickr when I came upon this photo of a soldier in maternity combat gear. I have to admit, it had never occurred to me that this would be a thing -- and it sure makes me feel like a wimp for sitting in bed at 24 weeks -- but isn't she adorable? I want these pants!

Women are in all aspects of the military these days, and being a soldier doesn't automatically mean diving into the trenches and dodging bullets; you can have all sorts of jobs. So it's only natural that supporting the troops also means getting the right outfit for a growing belly!

I spoke to Debi Dawson from the Army's Office of Strategic Communication, who told me that the first maternity uniforms were introduced in 1980; those were plain green, but since then, they've made maternity uniforms "from field use to dress wear." Pregnant officers buy their uniforms from an Army Clothing Sales Store; enlisted soldiers get a voucher for theirs but are supposed to return them when done.

Maternity Class A
Photo from the U.S. Army
Sara Holland, who works as an army lawyer (think Demi Moore in her navy threads in A Few Good Men), wore maternity uniforms through both of her pregnancies. For her Class A uniform, which is the equivalent of a suit, "the blazer no longer works when you get pregnant, so they have this jumper-type thing. It has no arms; it's just a big green tent that you put over the maternity blouse and pants, and it's your worst nightmare. I tried it on once and never wore it -- just the blouse."

"Uniforms are designed by men," she says, "and I wasn't overly excited by them. The pants didn't have pockets -- and it's not like, once I got pregnant, I suddenly didn't need pockets!" Also, she says that while regular pants come in a variety of lengths, the maternity pants just come in super-extra-long so they can be hemmed as needed.

Maternity ACU
Photo from the U.S. Army
Which uniforms are available can vary. In Hawaii and Germany, Holland says she could simply go to the supply point with her doctor's note, stating she was really pregnant, and pick up her ACUs (Army Combat Uniforms). But her unit was going to Iraq just as she got into one set of maternity uniforms, and because there's always a lag during a style switch, she was stuck in boring ol' green while her cohorts were in the spiffy desert camo. A friend of hers at West Point found that "they don't have all that many enlisted folk there, so they had no ACUs to issue her" and had a friend who'd just had her baby send her a set.

There are also lots of rules about how to wear uniforms, of course, and these are relaxed when you're pregnant. Another friend of Holland's was yelled at by a sergeant major for having the T-shirt of her PT (Physical Training) uniform untucked, and "she turned around and quoted chapter and verse of army regulation six-seventy-dash-one saying she could have her shirt untucked during pregnancy." Imagine? You go, momma!

Let's take a moment to salute military moms, bravely wearing pocketless pants and not-so-flattering smocks in service to our country. I still think they look so cute!

Have you worn a maternity uniform -- Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine? What was it like? Tell us in the comments!

2nd trimester, 3rd trimester, maternity clothes

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hill_... hill_star03

I'm currently pregnant and in the Army Reserve.  I only have to wear the army pregnancy uniform 2-3 days a month, but they are the days I dread.  Not only do the maternity ACUs have no pockets, but there are no pen slots either...does a pregnancy make you no longer need a pen either?  The pockets on the bottom of the pants are gone as well, which makes sense because as the article states, women are just required to hem the pants, so pockets down there wouldn't make sense...or maybe continuing to have different length pants for the maternity uniform as well would make more sense...The pockets on the upper sleeves are gone as well...


You're left with pockets right by your hips and on the shirt by your belly...only the hip pockets aren't too great once you progress in your pregnacny and then you can't get anything into them anymore.  Why men got to desgn the pregnancy uniforms is beyond me...women do only make up 15% of the military on average, but there are enough mothers out there who could have been pulled aside to desgin a uniform instead of clueless men.

Sierr... SierraLynn

I wore one for about 5 months of my "bigger" time through me pregnancy before I got out of the Army. I ETS'ed and deciede not to re-up, my DH is active duty as well, and we deciede we diddnt want to dump our baby off at day care all day while we both work all day. I wanted to raise my own child. The Pants are sooo comfy! I was surprised. The top I never wore because it just looked stupid, I just got a Med, in normal ACU uniform (I was ususally a small). I didnt want to give my pants back once I got out, I wanted to keep those. Lol.

Bethany Stanley

can we wear a regular ACU top and maternity pants? I hate this top. I am tall and even the 12 Long Top I wear is to short for my armys. I miss my chest pockets too. The lower pockets are useless.

nonmember avatar Ariel

Ughghhh... I have these on as we speak. I'm a reservist as well, but I work at the unit regularly when I do not have school. Of course, I have since started wearing soft shoes, but I still feel miserable. The top is huge and I never seem to have a pen :( and while there is enough space for my growing belly, the elastic at the top is WAY too tight (and I'm not a big person either - 24 in waist pre-preg)

Kelly... Kellyjuarez033

I just stuck it out in regular ACU's as long as I could and got lucky enough to never have to go through a dress uniform inspection. The maternity wear isn't practical (I didn't have a desk job), and I felt awkward in it.

nonmember avatar jessica

I wore the maturity uniform for the army and I agree why would they take our pants pockets away..they also took or sleeve pockets and our pen holder on our arm..you go from a million pockets to 2 it was annoying..but I'm glad they at least have some clothing to accommodate pregnant military members. For me the waist band was uncomfortable and I wish they weren't reused.

shann... shanna_hi

I was in the Marine Corps through both of my pregnancies and had the exact same issues these ladies in the article had. I do have to say one good thing about the cammies though. Being pregnant during the height of summer, the cammies were more lightweight and breathed better than normal cammies. Otherwise, I dreaded the day I had to put them on

nonmember avatar Megan

I wore the maternity uniform when I was Active Duty. And yeah, they were kind of a pain in the ass at first, considering that they seriously lack pockets, but I guess started carrying everything around with me. I was pregnant during the summer months in Texas, and honestly, I was thankful that I got to wear these because the material is A LOT thinner than regular ACUs, not to mention, my COC didn't really expect me to stand in formation for long periods of time once I was super prego.



I wore my boots for as long as my poor, swollen feet could handle, but eventually had to switch over to my tennis shoes. Personally, I thought it wasn't all that bad once I got used to it. They are SUPER AWKWARD and you look kinda funny in them, but then again, the military isn't all about style I guess. Lol. Oh! And not to mention, it cut down the time I needed to get ready on the mornings!! No need to loop my belt, no need to lace up my boots, and blouse my pants. Just the tan shirt, pulled the pants up over my belly, tossed on my shoes and top and was ready to go! (I got to add more time to my morning naps after PT!!)



Thankfully!! I didn't have to wear that awful green moo-moo though!! I almost had to, but managed to get out of it. I probably would've felt ridiculous! Lol.

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