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Incarceration During Pregnancy

Implications for Women, Newborns and Health Care Providers


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Women are now the fastest growing group among incarcerated persons in the United States. With approximately 6 percent to 10 percent of incarcerated women pregnant, the intersection of pregnancy and incarceration is an important issue. Incarcerated women are more likely to experience illness and serious diseases, and pregnant incarcerated women are particularly vulnerable, reporting late or less than optimal prenatal care. Nurses working in labor and delivery, postpartum units and correctional facilities are at the forefront of assessment, education and advocacy for pregnant women who are incarcerated. This column takes a second look at two recent studies in which researchers examined the health of pregnant incarcerated women (and their newborns) and discusses the importance of advocacy for this at-risk population.