As the number of women in the Navy and the types of assignments open to them have increased, pregnancy and its impact have become emotional and controversial issues. Nonetheless, the overall impact on the Navy is manageable and education is the key.
In the past 15 years, the number of women in the Navy has doubled. In December 1993, the Navy announced plans to assign women permanently to combatant ships, combat aviation squadrons, and mobile naval construction force units.1 Except for submarines and special warfare, virtually every type of unit in the Navy is open to women.
This growth in numbers and types of assignment has resulted in women serving widely throughout the Navy. With their increased presence, especially in the operational forces, pregnancy and its impact have become controversial and emotional issues. In November 1987, the Navy Personnel Research and Development Center (NPRDC) was tasked to conduct research upon which the Navy could make policy decisions related to pregnancy issues.2