University of Hertfordshire

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Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 6 Mar 2020
Event5th Commonwealth Nurses and Midwives Conference - Royal College of Physicians , London, United Kingdom
Duration: 6 Mar 20207 Mar 2020


Conference5th Commonwealth Nurses and Midwives Conference
Abbreviated titleCNMC 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
OtherAt the 5th Commonwealth Nurses and Midwives Conference we will be celebrating the past achievements, present endeavours, and future contributions of nurses and midwives. Presentations will showcase how individual nurses and midwives, or nursing and midwifery groups, associations or institutions are contributing to global health and wellbeing across the lifespan in all settings within the following themes:
• Clinical practice
• Leadership and management
• Education and training
• Policy and projects
• Research and innovation.
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There is an estimated global prison population of 10.35 million and 7% (n=714,000) of these are women and girls (Institute for Criminal Policy Research, 2018) representing a 53% leap since the year 2000 (Chen, 2019). Global figures are unattainable but it is estimated that 600 pregnancies and 100 births occur annually in UK prisons alone raising questions about conditions regarding the care and welfare of pregnant prisoners globally. From a midwifery perspective the pregnant prisoner has special physical and mental health needs which are often unmet in the closed institution of the prison estate. Embryonic thoughts about this issue arose following doctoral study interviews in 2015-2016 which exposed conditions and perceptions of pregnant women in UK prisons. An extensive literature on the sociology of reproduction, pregnancy and childbirth amongst women prisoners demonstrates that the health and welfare of pregnant prisoners is under-researched. This paper considers concepts central to the pregnant prisoner experience including physical and nutritional and environmental aspects impacting upon her pregnancy; degradation of handcuffs/chains when attending hospital appointments and, loss as her child is taken away. Many pregnant prisoners do not access specialist midwifery services. This paper alerts practitioners to institutional thoughtlessness characteristic of the prison estate and the embodied situation of the pregnant prisoner and calls for a global response to benefit this prison population and the vulnerable baby.

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