This study, commissioned by NHS England (East), aimed to obtain the views of women who were either pregnant or had given birth in the past 12 months or had their babies with them in the MBU whilst serving a sentence in a prison in England.

This paper discusses the experiences of the pregnant women in the prison and the challenges they faced in accessing the expertise, care and support that they needed. It highlights that high quality care is not being achieved due to systematic and cultural challenges within the prison environment. It concludes with a discussion and recommendations on areas of focus to remove blockers to women’s ability to access equitable care.

By Kathryn Cahalin, Dr. Matthew Callender and Valentina Lugli at the Institute for Public Safety, Crime and Justice (IPSCJ) at the University of Northampton, and Claire Weston, Head of Health and Justice (East of England) at NHS England and NHS Improvement.

Published in Prison Service Journal No. 257, November 2021.

Perinatal women’s experiences of access to expertise, information and appropriate medical attention in prison
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