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date: 18 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Poverty is a significant risk factor for suboptimal pregnancy and infant outcomes. Because of widespread recognition of the negative effects of poverty during pregnancy, federal programs in the United States and other health and psychosocial interventions are available to improve pregnancy and postpartum outcomes, with some success. Incarceration is increasingly recognized as a significant risk for pregnant women and their children. When they enter jail or prison, 6–10% of incarcerated women are pregnant, and more than 1,400 women per year give birth while incarcerated. Pregnant prisoners are more likely to experience risk factors associated with poor perinatal outcomes and are likely to receive inadequate prenatal care, and many states still allow shackling of incarcerated women during labor and birth. Although few interventions are available for incarcerated pregnant women, several progressive programs, such as those involving doulas or nursery programs, are available for a minority of affected women.

Keywords: incarceration, jail, low income, poverty, pregnant, prison

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