Pregnant prisoners are giving birth in their cells and are not receiving safe or adequate or maternity care.
All women in prison or custody must have equal maternity care to those women on the outside, urge the Royal College of Midwives.
The College says a new report by the Nuffield Trust has confirmed its concerns that many pregnant women in prison
The report ‘Locked out? Prisoners’ use of hospital care’, which found “signs of lapses in care”, reveals that one in ten pregnant prisoners are giving birth in their cells and are not receiving safe or adequate or maternity care in prison.
A massive four in ten hospital appointments for inmates are also missed.
Responding, Charlotte Wilson, Policy Advisor at the RCM said: “This is one of a series of reports which demonstrates that where pregnant women are imprisoned there is a risk to their life and that of their unborn child’s.
“Maternal and new-born healthcare should not be compromised by imprisonment and we know some pregnant women have reported receiving inadequate healthcare during their pregnancy while in detention which can put the life of their unborn baby at risk too.
“Pregnant women in prison are some of the most vulnerable in our society.
“What we need to see is women’s prisons working with their local NHS Trust’s and health boards to facilitate specialist midwifery care for pregnant women in prison.
“We would also like to see custodial sentencing minimised for perinatal women wherever possible and it’s also crucial judges and magistrates fully understand the impact of any proposed sentence.”