Your Rights as a Pregnant Inmate

If you are incarcerated and pregnant, you need to be sure you notify the prison staff immediately. You will be given a pregnancy test to be sure you are expecting. If you are, some changes will be made to accommodate your condition. Each state has its own rules about the treatment of pregnant inmates, but the following basics typically apply.

Medical Care

You will be scheduled to see a medical professional on a regular basis until you deliver your baby or until the end of your incarceration, whichever comes first. You will be seen by medical staff as often as you would if you were not incarcerated. The jail makes appointments for you and provides transportation, but it is up to you to not skip appointments.

Video: Pregnant in Prison

Medicine

The jail will provide you with iron supplements, if needed, prenatal vitamins, and folic acid. If your medical professional determines you need any additional medication, it will be provided. If you have been using Heroin or other strong opiates, many jails will put you on Methadone immediately to prevent you from miscarrying from withdrawal-related sickness.

Housing

Most jails will assign you to a bottom bunk. If your POD or jail area is more than one story tall, you will be placed on the first floor. In some jails, pregnant inmates are given an additional mat and additional pillow for comfort.

Food

A pregnancy diet usually consists of added calories at each meal. Some jails give pregnant inmates more dairy, such as milk, yogurt or cheese. Even in jails that only provide two meals a day, a pregnant inmate will get additional snacks and cartons of milk.

Related: The number of women behind bars is skyrocketing.

Reminder: Several states have outlawed the shackling of pregnant inmates during transport, labor and delivery. If your state hasn’t, it won’t hurt to ask staff not to shackle you. If they insist, request that your handcuffs be placed in front so if you trip you can put your hands out to balance yourself.

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