New Study Takes Novel Census of Prison Pregnancies

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pregnant women via flickr

A sevenfold increase in incarcerated women in the U.S. since 1980 has overwhelmed a correctional system that hasn’t adapted to women’s reproductive health needs, a newly published study in The American Journal of Public Health found, according to NPR.

A first of its kind, the study by Dr. Carolyn Sufrin of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine found, in a cross section of 22 state prison systems and the federal Bureau of Prisons, that nearly 4 percent of newly admitted women were pregnant and that 90 percent of pregnancies ended in live births, much higher than in the general population.

A lack of mandatory oversight of the health care provided to pregnant women and newborns produces wide variations in care, from “relatively good” to “harmful, neglectful or absent pregnancy care,” Sufrin told NPR.

By quantifying pregnancies, births, miscarriages, abortions, stillbirths and maternal deaths, the study provides a starting point to address problems more effectively, Sufrin said.

See also: Bureau of Prisons Neglects Female Inmates’ Needs: DOJ Watchdog 

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