Saturday, February 18, 2012
By Seth Robson
Stars and Stripes
CAMP ZAMA, Japan – The Army is ordering its hardened combat veterans to wear fake breasts and empathy bellies so they can better understand how pregnant soldiers feel during physical training.
This week, 14 noncommissioned officers at Camp Zama took turns wearing the “pregnancy simulators” as they stretched, twisted and exercised during a three-day class that teaches them to serve as fitness instructors for pregnant soldiers and new mothers.
Army enlisted leaders all over the world are being ordered to take the Pregnancy Postpartum Physical Training Exercise Leaders Course, or PPPT, according to U.S. Army Medical Activity Japan health promotion educator Jana York.
Developed by the Army in 2008, the course includes aerobics classes, pool sessions and classroom studies on the physiology of pregnant women. The NCOs learn special exercises for pregnant women, who shouldn’t push themselves too hard or participate in high-impact activities such as snowboarding, bungee jumping or horse riding, York said.
During the training, each NCO must wear the pregnancy simulator for at least an hour.
“When they first come in, the males are typically timid and don’t feel they have the knowledge to teach female soldiers,” she said. “However, after three days their confidence rises...”