Every year, thousands of pregnant women are sent behind bars and will not only spend their pregnancies in prison, but give birth while in prison. A 2010 survey of women’s prisons have that very few states provide prenatal exams, nutrition, screening and treatments for women with high-risk pregnancies. And more than once a week, a woman goes into labor and gives birth, often shackled and handcuffed.
This barbaric practice of shackling and handcuffing a woman by her wrists and ankles, limits her abilities to move to alleviate pain during contractions. This may restrict the flow of oxygen to her fetus. This practice greatly increases the risk of danger to not only the fetus, but the mother as well.
Birthing Behind Bars is an organization that is trying to address pregnancy and other reproductive issues for women in prison. The main mission of Birthing Behind Bars is to support efforts to end the shackling of pregnant and birthing women behind bars and to make sure that all pregnant women receive essential health care services for the duration of their pregnancy and beyond.