When carrying a child it is important to get the right care and right nutrition to assure mother and baby are healthy throughout the whole process. While at home, the right amount of prenatal medication and nutrients can be consumed with no doubt. There are also books and online sources you can refer to while at home to get information on whats going on with your body. Also your doctor is just a call away if you experience any issues or have any questions during your pregnancy. Now imagine you are in jail. Its understandable you should have to do the time for the crime you commited. Your unborn child however, should not have to suffer your consequences. More then 2,000 children are born behind bars each year.(7) Pregnant inmate’s access to these kinds of resources are limited. They really do not know what is in their food, it probably is not the most healthy thing you could be eating. You can not access information about your pregnancy and the best you will be able to get for medical personal is the enfermery unless they decicde it is sereve enough to take to the hospital. Nothing is really your decsion in jail, if you are unfortunate enough to have to be pregnant in jail the least they could do is treat the women better. Given what we know about prenatal care, prisons should give better care to pregnant inmates.
One very important thing to worry about while being pregnant is medical care. People usually do not realize how much medical care pregnant women need. There are the vitamins, the checkups, the ultrasounds, and much more. Medical care should start even before becoming pregnant checking to see if your body is healthy enough to handle a baby inside of you. The earlier you know you are pregnant the better off the baby and mother will be. Medical conditions can form within the first month of pregnancy. If incarcerated it is not as easy to figure out if you became pregnant or not. While in jail is it manadated under the eighth amendment for inmates to receive adequate medical care from an infirmary in the jail or from outside sources the jail provides. A pregnant women in prision is to be given proper mecial care whether or not she decides to keep the baby. This is a law and the ACLU is working on making sure every prision is giving pregnant women the proper medical care throughout the whole country. Choosing doctors is also something that has to be done after getting pregnant. Usually women try to find doctors they are comfortable with. Inmates do not have the choice of what doctors they want. They get what is provided by the prision whether they like it or not. This could lead to a miserable pregnancy for mom. Most women would rather be provided a doctor in jail rather then having to be brought out somewhere. They find it embarrassing being shackled and in a jumpsuit with a big pregnant belly.( 4) Think about it. Most people do not like to stand out from a crowd. Being pregnant and in an orange jump suit in a doctor’s office is like being a clown in a doctor’s office considering how much you are going to stick out.
Another issue while being pregnant in jail is your living conditions and the treatment you get from other inmates. Would you rather be the mothers you see on television sitting in a nice home or be the poor pregnant imates getting treated like caged animals. Inmates are defintely not going to receive the comfort most mothers would want. Your going to be living behind bars in a cold jail cell with none of the comforts you would have if you were in your own home. Sleeping is going to be a big struggle. The hard bed is not going to be the first choice for someone with a watermelon sized belly. Pregnant women should be provided extra things in their cells to just give them a little more comfort, like a better padded bed. In prision, mothers also don’t get as much time with their babies. Babies do get taken away from their mothers at certain times. Mother and child bonding time is crucial at that newborn age.(7) If you think you are going to get treated the same in prision by your fellow inmates if your are a new mother or pregnant you are completely wrong. They will look at you different and pretty much see you as prey. Being hormonal from your pregnancy that is the last thing you want to be feeling. The feeling of being unsafe in prision can not be good at all. Women now have to worry about themselves and their babies being at risk of getting hurt. Most prisions still shackle women while they are giving birth or go outside of the prision. Restraints can make a pregnant inmate more opt to fall and if they fall the right way they could even kill their baby. (4) This is not right at all. If complications were to happen this could go very bad because it could make it harder for the doctors to get to mother. It is not fair mothers really are not going to escape at that point in time in that much pain and if choosen on pain killing drugs. Treatmant should be changed for pregnant inmates.
Nutrition is also a huge factor when carrying a child. We can all agree that prision food is not the most healthiest thing you could be eating. They have inmates making that food and you never know what could be thrown in there that could be harmful to the mother or baby. You are going to have to be eating some what more now because of course, you are eating for two. A normal pregnant women should be eating 6-11 servings of grains, 3-4 servings of fruit, 3-5 servings of vegetables, 3-4 servings of protein, 4 servings of dairy, and ocasionally fats and oils.( 6)While in prision, you don’t know what is going in your body. Women should have the option of eating healthier special food while pregnant, expecially those who decide they want to breast feed their child after its birth. What the mother intakes is also what the baby intakes. There is no picking your food in prision. What is on the menu is on the menu and there really is no changing it. Eating and doing certain things during your pregnancy can affect your child. It is known if you eat a lot of peanuts it will predispose your child to food allegies. Getting sick off of food is one thing when you’re eating for your own body but when you’re eating for two it’s a different story. You do not want to get your baby sick. Babies are at very high risk when still in the womb.
You have the people out there that do not care about pregnant inmates at all. They think that if they did the crime they should do the time. That is completely understandable but why should the baby have to do the time as well? Why should the baby be put through the horrible diet and lack of care. If children are born with disablilities there is nothing they could have done about that. They were a poor innocent little person inside of someones body they were dependent on. Usually the people who say they do not care are men. Mostly men work in prision facilities. I got this statistic from counting men to women on a floor in the South Bay correction facitlity in Boston. Men do not understand how important things are when it comes to motherly stuff. I understand some are fathers but no father can ever give a child motherly love like a mother can. Babies get taken away many times in a prision. Pregnant women are still receiving the time and punishment about being away from their family at one the most important times in their life. Who cares if there was little tweks here and there to make it a little more comfortable or a little safer. Really you have to step back and look at the baby not the mother that did the crime. Are shackles a really big deal to someone? I do not think it is that hard to catch a pregnant women on the run. If police can not do that how would they ever catch a robber or someone who is in shape? I believe they should at somepoint make pregnant women their own jail or maybe their own wing. It is not like pregnancy is a whole new thing to society. It happens to most women. Any point brought up about having pregnant women be treated the same in any way can be fought and won because of the circumstances of what pregnant women are dealing with.
Another question people wonder is what happens to these babies born behind bars? What happens to those 2,000 children each year? Before the 1950’s babies born behind bars would just stay in prision nurseries and be brought up by their mothers. It costs about 24,000 dollars to raise a baby in jail and when the number of women in prison increased by 832 percent between 1977 and 2007 it was to expensive to keep children in prison with their mothers.(7) Women are now forced to hand over custody of their child to a relative or the state so that baby can go into foster care. There is also a new thing that some prisons started doing. Mothers are able to keep their children in prison with them as long as their sentence is short and they are not in prison for anything violent. There is great competition to get into this because the numbers are limited. Prison is not an ideal place for a baby but it is better then getting ripped away from their mother at an early age.
Given what we know about prenatal care, prisons should give different care to pregnant inmates. While being pregnant it is a special time for women. You can take away some things from them but it is just not fair to take everything away especially the things that could change a baby’s lifestyle later in life. People don’t realize that such a simple thing like the comfort of a comfortable bed and a blanket could make a huge difference for a pregnant woman. Some things are clear of what a pregnant women needs. For example different food plans and different vitamins and care. Prisons have to give women some things just for the fact that it’s the law. I really do not think it will kill anyone to give a little slack to someone who sadly has to be pregnant and in prison. Honestly you would never want that to be you.