If you are pregnant and have been sentenced to do time in a county jail or a prison, there are some things you should do to insure the best care for you and your child during the pregnancy and also after the baby is born.
Bring your paperwork to the jail or prison. If you have an OBGYN, bring his or her contact information. Otherwise bring the results of any pregnancy tests given to you by agencies, emergency rooms, or other medical facilities. If you do not have paperwork or have only taken a home pregnancy test, don’t worry, because the jail will do their own test anyway.
Tell them immediately. If you know how far along you are let them know. If not, tell them upon your arrival that you need to see a doctor to secure a due date. If you have any illness, cramping, other signs of pregnancy distress, let them know that as well. It might prompt them to get you a faster doctor appointment.
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Check the food. Look around and see if you are being given a diet that is different than the general population. Most jails put pregnant inmates on a special pregnancy diet, but they might forget if you are new to the facility. If you believe you are not getting the pregnancy diet, ask if there is one for you to eat.
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Assign someone to take care of the baby. Do this before you go, and make sure that person will commit to the child’s care until you get out. Check that they have no criminal. Go to a notary and have your wishes notarized in writing and give a copy to the jail or prison. An immediate family member is best in the eyes of children services.
Final thoughts: Getting medical attention in jail or prison is often difficult. Any time you have any new symptoms or if medical issues arise, ask for medical attention immediately. Ask in writing and speak to staff on each shift until they listen and get you examined by a doctor.
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