There are 111,616 incarcerated women in the United States, a 7-fold increase since 1980. Some of these women are pregnant, but amid reports of women giving birth in their cells or shackled to hospital beds, prison and public health officials have no hard data on how many incarcerated women are pregnant, or on the outcomes of those pregnancies.
A study published in The American Journal of Public Health Thursday changes that. The study included 57 percent of the US prison population (New York, California and Florida were not included). It found that 3.8 percent of newly admitted women were pregnant and that in a single year, incarcerated women had 753 live births, 46 miscarriages, four stillbirths and 11 abortions.
The correctional system hasn't adapted to the large increase in incarcerated women, according to study author Dr. Carolyn Sufrin, an OB-GYN at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. And there are profound health and social consequences for the children of incarcerated mothers. She says the report provides the first data that could inform policy changes to address the health and well-being of incarcerated women who are pregnant, and the children born to them.
To read the full article written by Jonathon Lambert, All Things Considered, click HERE