While the changes in clothing sizes can be a challenge for service members during pregnancy, one Air Force officer said her maternity uniform didn’t compromise her professional appearance or comfort.
Maj. Agneta Murnan, commander of the 177th Fighter Wing Force Support Squadron, New Jersey Air National Guard, was one of the first to wear the maternity Airman Battle Uniform.
“I appreciate that the style of the pants conformed to the standard, non-maternity uniform,” Murnan said. “I’m going to stick out because I’m pregnant, but I liked that I fit in with my teammates in appearance more.”
The Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support Clothing and Textiles supply chain has provided nearly 3,000 maternity uniforms, including coats and slacks, since fall 2017. However, the supply chain began working with the Air Force for nearly a year prior to the initial issue, Recruit Planning Branch Chief Marybeth Naimoli said.
“There was a lot of coordination with the Air Force before we brought this on [for sustainment],” Naimoli said.
When an item is introduced for the first time, C&T planning, technical and contracting experts work with their service counterparts to develop a roll-out plan. Proactive planning of the required item quantities and sizes minimizes the amount of leftovers from the previous maternity uniforms, Recruit Planning Division Chief Cheryl Reynolds said.
“We encourage the services to involve us sooner,” Reynolds said. “There are things we can discover and time we can save beforehand that may provide them with an advantage.”
The adjustable belly panel was an addition to the battle uniform pants, although this feature was already included in the Air Force dress uniform, Reynolds said.
Murnan wore the same size MABU slacks throughout her pregnancy because the panel stretched with her growing belly, she said. She believes that the latest MABU design is more like the standard ABU in style.
“I go to a lot of meetings to support different functions around base and what I liked about the new version of the maternity pants is that it wasn’t a distraction,” Murnan said. “It looked professional and it blended in with the other non-maternity uniforms for men and women, which has cargo pockets.”
Her body type allowed her to wear standard MABU coats and dress uniforms in larger sizes, rather than buying the maternity versions.
C&T also supports Army maternity utility uniforms, which adopted the Air Force adjustable band utility design in June, and the Marine Corps and Navy elastic panel versions of the dress uniform.