Pregnancy outcomes in US prisons, 2016-2017

Carolyn Sufrin, Lauren Beal, Jennifer Clarke, Rachel Jones, William D. Mosher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Objectives. To collect national data on pregnancy frequencies and outcomes among women in US state and federal prisons. Methods. From 2016 to 2017, we prospectively collected 12 months of pregnancy statistics from a geographically diverse sample of 22 state prison systems and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Prisons reported numbers of pregnant women, births, miscarriages, abortions, and other outcomes. Results. Overall, 1396 pregnant women were admitted to prisons; 3.8% of newly admitted women and 0.6% of all women were pregnant in December 2016. There were 753 live births (92% of outcomes), 46 miscarriages (6%), 11 abortions (1%), 4 stillbirths (0.5%), 3 newborn deaths, and no maternal deaths. Six percent of live births were preterm and 30% were cesarean deliveries. Distributions of outcomes varied by state. Conclusions. Our study showed that the majority of prison pregnancies ended in live births or miscarriages. Our findings can enable policymakers, researchers, and public health practitioners to optimize health outcomes for incarcerated pregnant women and their newborns, whose health has broad sociopolitical implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)799-805
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Pregnancy outcomes in US prisons, 2016-2017'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this