Perinatal health service use by women released from jail

Janice F Bell, Frederick J. Zimmerman, Colleen E. Huebner, Mary Lawrence Cawthon, Deborah Ward, Carole A. Schroeder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Few studies have examined health care access for the growing population of pregnant women who cycle in and out of urban jails. The present study compared use of Medicaid-funded perinatal services for births to women who were in jail during pregnancy and births to women who had been in jail, but not while pregnant. Jail contact during pregnancy increased the likelihood women would receive prenatal care (odds ratio [OR] = 5.95; 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.18-16.23) and maternity support services (OR = 1.80; 95% CI 1.12-2.88), but was associated with fewer total prenatal and support visits. Jail contact during a previous pregnancy was associated with fewer prenatal care visits, more support service visits, and longer time receiving case management. Jail settings can become a place of coordination between public health and criminal justice professionals to ensure that pregnant women receive essential services following release. Service coordination may increase women's engagement in health services during future pregnancies, with or without subsequent incarceration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)426-442
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Health services accessibility
  • Jails
  • Maternal health services
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal care utilization
  • Prisoners
  • Prisons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health Policy
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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