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Becoming a mother in prison


Currently 6-7 per cent of the female prison population in England and Wales is pregnant (Ministry of Justice 2015). There is little known about the experiences of pregnant women in prison. Pregnant women in prison have a right to equivalence of health care, but the needs of incarcerated women are unique. Having a greater understanding of these needs enables midwives to provide a high standard of care to women who may have a multitude of complex needs.

Learning aims and objectives

This resource aims to provide student and qualified midwives with an understanding of the often complex needs of the pregnant woman in prison. It will enable you to:

  • Gain knowledge of the reality of being a pregnant woman in prison
  • Understand pregnant women in prison’s unique needs
  • Understand the special circumstances and restrictions of giving birth while in custody
  • Understand what you can do as a midwife to ensure equity of care for women in this situation

Keywords and linking topics

Prison, complex needs, rights and entitlements, becoming a mother, mother and baby unit, MBU

The Practising Midwife featured article

This resource links to an article in the October 2016 issue of The Practising Midwife, Becoming a mother in prison, by Laura Abbott.

Activities and questions at the end of this resource will enable you to assess your knowledge and reflect on how you can incorporate it into your own practice. In the following questions, please select the answer that you believe to be correct. This will be marked and then you can move on to the next question. If you wish, at the end you can return for a further attempt at the questions.

Upon completion of the module, you will be able to download and save or print a certificate to include in your CPD/revalidation portfolio.