204208 Prenatal education for women in jail

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 5:15 PM

Alison M. Colbert, PhD, APRN, BC , School of Nursing, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA
Background Issues: The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that there are more than 150,000 women in prisons or jails, and that number is increasing at a rate faster than males. Further, 25% of those women have either given birth in the year prior to incarceration or are pregnant at the time of arrest. Comprehensive pre- and post-natal education is considered a critical component of all prenatal care. Women who are incarcerated may benefit even more from access to similar programs that are tailored to fit their unique needs and life experiences. Educational interventions could potentially improve the birth experience and birth outcomes, as well as potentially improving the parent-child relationship and the lives of children born to incarcerated mothers.

Description & Lessons Learned: Although many of the needs and concerns of incarcerated pregnant women are the same as any another other pregnant woman, the population presents unique challenges that must be addressed for educational interventions to be effective. Characteristics of the individual woman such as addiction or dependency, current and past parenting issues, and responsivity to education must be considered. There also may be issues related to who will care for the baby after birth and how the mother-child relationship can be optimized if the mother is still incarcerated. Additionally, system constraints—such as access to prenatal healthcare, uncertainly surrounding length of incarceration for individuals, and the tension between custody and caring—must also be addressed.

Recommendations: This presentation will provide an overview of these issues and provide recommendations for care based on best practices, existing evidence from pertinent literature, and the first-hand experience of the presenter in teaching prenatal classes at a jail facility. A comprehensive educational curriculum will also be presented.

Learning Objectives:
1. List three unique challenges to prenatal education in a female jail population. 2. Identify two strategies to tailor prenatal education for a female jail population. 3. Describe two components of a comprehensive prenatal educational intervention developed for a female jail population.

Keywords: Prenatal Care, Incarceration

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an Assistant Professor at Duquesne University. My research focuses on health literacy and self-care management in vulnerable populations, especially incarcerated women. I am a Clinical Specialist in Community Health with over 10 years of experience in healthcare delivery to vulnerable populations.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.