Pregnant Behind Bars And The United States Prison System

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Pregnant Behind Bars Men and women in the United States prison system face an adversity of challenges in many aspects of their lives. One area where incarcerated individuals face a hardship is the access to healthcare they receive while they are imprisoned. Access to screenings, check-ups, medications, and treatment for diseases may be limited. Women are particularly vulnerable to inconsistent healthcare if they are pregnant while in prison. They may not receive all the necessary prenatal or postpartum care. This will have an impact on the mother’s health and the health of the newborn. Implementing complete nursing care for incarcerated pregnant women can ensure a safe and healthy outcome for the newborn and the mother. Literature…show more content…
Women also need prompt antepartum care to reduce their risk of losing the infant. Shaw, Downe, and Kingdon (2015) and Eliason and Arndt (2004) talk about women who experience bleeding and/or cramps and then they do not receive prompt care. In one case, the woman lost her baby the next day because no one would listen to her maternal instinct. Some women in the prison system decide to keep their child, but in a majority of cases, they give their baby up for adoption or the baby is turned over to DCFS. Due to this, some women begin to separate themselves from the infant before it is even born. This can leave to other feelings like anger and guilt that she is pregnant in prison in the first place. The impending separation causes depression if the woman was looking forward to motherhood. When the mother delivers, she is able to spend only a couple days with the infant. This causes even more depression and feelings of guilt after the infant is taken away. Infant Outcomes in Prison Women entering prison during the first trimester verses the third trimester have different outcome in terms infant birth weight. Women who become incarcerated during their first trimester are likely to have infants born of normal birth weight. This is because prison systems are required to provide healthcare, which would include prenatal care, and three meals a day (Howard, Strobino, Sherman, & Crum, 2011). This
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