Pregnant airwomen assigned to Air Mobility Command will now have more confidential information during their pregnancy under a new directive from AMC Commander Gen. Mike Minihan.
Under the new guidelines, pregnant airwomen will still be able to access prenatal medical care while maintaining the confidentiality of health information, a standard that aligns with other medical privacy policies, such as the Portability Act and the health insurance liability.
“Pregnancy is the only medical condition identified in preparedness profiles, personnel, and systems, making diagnosis accessible to the unit before some women are able to treat new ones, determine viability, or even inform their own family,” Capt. Frances Castillo, the Air Force Women’s Initiatives team leader, said in a press release.
Under the new guidelines, pregnant Airwomen will receive a general 30-day profile that only documents mobility, duty and fitness restrictions — a departure from the previously required 10-month profile given during an Airman’s pregnancy. .
While Airmen are still encouraged to notify their direct chain of command, knowledge of pregnancy status will now be limited to only necessary leaders and health authorities.
“As part of maintaining operational readiness, units should be made aware of mobility, duty and physical fitness restrictions,” Castillo said. “However, the medical diagnosis behind these postponements should remain private, as with any other medical condition, so that women are empowered to decide when to make their pregnancy public.”
In addition, automatic recipients of Air Force health care documents — Form 469, Form 422, and Department of Defense Form 2992, which dictate flight status and profiles — will be minimized to further ensure patient confidentiality. ‘an aviator.
This latest update comes amid a series of efforts by the Women’s Initiatives team to help minimize the stigma surrounding pregnant service members.
In 2021, the General Disparities Report for the Air Force showed that maternal bias was a top reason why women did not feel included in an organization. The report also noted that having limited, delayed, or canceled training, for example, resulted in pregnant airwomen facing professional setbacks in addition to feelings of being left out.
Additionally, the report showed that one in four women delayed pregnancy tests, which could lead to serious health issues for the service member and the fetus, as they feared the chain of command response would have a negative impact on their careers.
“The Air Force is addressing systemic changes,” Minihan said, “but until those changes are implemented, I expect everyone under my command to maximize confidentiality, health and preparing pregnant Airmen.”
Rachel is a Marine Corps veteran, a Penn State alumnus, and a master’s candidate at New York University for Business and Economic Reporting. She has also written for VTDigger and New York Magazine, and previously worked as Early Bird Brief editor for Defense News and Military Times.