Promoting Health Care for Pregnant Women in Prison: A Review of International Guidelines

Somayeh Alirezaei, Robab Latifnejad Roudsari


Background: There are standard guidelines for the provision of health care for pregnant women in prisons. There is no single guide to meet all the specific needs of imprisoned women. In this study, the related international guidelines were reviewed to reveal the existing gaps.

Materials and Methods: In this narrative review, studies published from May 2010 to January 2019 were reviewed through investigating databases including PubMed, Scopus, the Cochrane Library database as well as Science Direct Google Scholar using keywords: Guideline AND Prison AND Pregnancy AND Prenatal Care. The contents of the guidelines were subjected to analogy comparison.

Results: 13 guidelines were included in the study. Of these, 10 guidelines were related to the organizations deployed in the USA, two guidelines to the United Nations and the World Health Organization, and one guideline to the United Kingdom. The most comprehensive care coverage of pregnant women was suggested, at the first level, by Birth Champion and in the second level by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The care recommended in the guidelines was classified into four general categories of health care, safety and security, education and counseling, as well as miscellaneous issues. Most of the care items mentioned in the guidelines were related to the issue of safety and security of pregnant women. Conclusions: There are currently gaps in the guidelines in many aspects including maternal and fetal health assessments, mental health care, and also ethical and communication issues. It is essential to upgrade the guidelines provided for imprisoned women to promote their health.


Guideline, health promotion, pregnant women, prenatal care, prisoners

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