Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Pregnant and in prison

Roger Watson, Editor-in-Chief

Being pregnant can be a difficult time for some women; being in prison must be a difficult time for anybody but can you imagine being pregnant and in prison with the prospect of giving birth there?

A recent UK study by Shaw et al. (29014) and published in JAN titled 'Systematic mixed-methods review of interventions, outcomes and experiences for imprisoned pregnant women' investigates, using a literature review, the experiences of women who are pregnant and give birth in prison.  This is against a background of an increasing number of women who are pregnant and in prison worldwide; estimated, for example, to be 600 annually in the UK.  Studies were only obtained from the UK or USA and there were bot quantitative and qualitative studies.

The qualitative studies, emanating from interviews with pregnant prisoners are heart-rending; for example:

'...knowing it’s coming to an end. Picturing myself leaving my baby at the hospital. How lonely will it be...it’s tearing me up inside...I’m going to feel empty. Words just cant describe how bad it hurts. I don’t want to let him go.'

Sadly there is little good research in the area; in the words of the authors: 'There is very limited published data on the experiences and outcomes of childbearing women in prison. There appear to be no good quality intervention studies examining the effectiveness of interventions to improve well-being in the short or longer term for these women and their babies.'



Reference

Shaw J, Downe S, Kingdon C. (2014) Systematic mixed-methods review of interventions, outcomes and experiences for imprisoned pregnant women. Journal of Advanced Nursing. DOI: 10.1111/jan.12605

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