Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Prison is a barrier to high-quality, comprehensive midwifery care
  1. Martha Jane Paynter
  1. Nursing, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Martha Jane Paynter, Nursing, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB E3B 5A3, Canada; martha.paynter{at}

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Commentary on: Abbott L, Scott T, Thomas H. Experiences of midwifery care in English prisons. Birth. 2023 Mar;50(1):244-251. doi: 10.1111/birt.12692. Epub 2022 Nov 12.

Implications for practice and research

  • Incarceration presents barriers to best midwifery practices, restricting patient choice in care provider and place of birth. Midwives play an important role advocating for incarcerated patients.

  • Prison staff misunderstand midwifery and conceptualise access to care as a reward for good behaviour. Future research should assess outcomes of alternatives to incarceration.


Women continue to be one of the fastest growing populations experiencing incarceration, with significant consequences for their newborns and children. Despite international and national requirements for equivalent care to what is available in community, existing research in the field of prison perinatal health has found delays and gaps in care and poor neonatal outcomes associated with pregnancy in prison.1 This study by Abbott et al …

View Full Text


  • Twitter @marthpaynter

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.