Labor support for incarcerated pregnant women: The doula project

Carole Schroeder, Janice F Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Women of childbearing age are the fastest growing segment of the incarcerated population, but few resources exist for women who deliver an infant while in jail. This article presents data from a multiagency, collaborative study providing trained labor and birth support (doulas) to pregnant women who delivered while in jail custody. Satisfaction surveys and qualitative interviews showed high program feasibility and satisfaction and low program costs. The most compelling findings of the study were the interviews with the inmate mothers that outlined a grim and repetitive trajectory of childhood abuse, violence, and neglect that led to school failure, problematic relationships with men, early drug use, arrest, incarceration, and eventual loss of children. Policy recommendations centered around early intervention, harm reduction, and reunification conclude the article.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-328
Number of pages18
JournalPrison Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Doula support
  • High risk pregnancy
  • Incarcerated pregnant women
  • Intervention research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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