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In prison, women who are pregnant experience a different kind of pregnancy than they would normally. Oftentimes, there are limited resources for inmates, which can cause discomfort and risk for pregnant women. These women are also cut off from their support groups when they become incarcerated. This lack of support can cause depression and feelings of helplessness for an incarcerated, pregnant woman.

However, a way for incarcerated mothers to find hope in the process of having a child is by weighing their options and creating a plan on how they will care for their children’s needs. While sometimes the results of these plans aren’t entirely full of joy, they are a big part of helping an incarcerated woman take control of her life and future.

There are many options for pregnant inmates when it comes to planning the future of their unborn child. Below are three major ones:

1. Adoption

Because of the limited resources pregnant women receive while in prison, sometimes they don’t have the means to take care of their child. So they place their child for adoption, which is a great way to make sure the child’s needs are met and other people are able to start families. This option can cause a lot of heartache for mothers in prison but incarcerated women can choose an open adoption with the adoptive family she chooses. Adoption Choices of Texas has resources for choosing adoption here:

How to choose adoption in jail

Incarceration and Adoption

Choosing an adoption plan while in jail or prison; FAQ

2. Foster Care

While the foster care system has a lot of problems, with youth in the system being 2.5 times more likely to end up in the justice system in the U.S., it is still an option for expecting mothers in prison. Foster care provides support and care for a child with nowhere else to turn, which makes it a viable option for pregnant inmates. The system also works towards creating a sense of family and stability for children. 

3. Choosing a Caregiver

Most prisons require incarcerated women to choose a caregiver for their child, especially if the mother doesn’t want to place their child in foster care or to go through the adoption process. The caregiver can be the pregnant inmate’s spouse, grandparents and any other close relatives. This option will most likely allow for greater interaction between mother and child, but the mother may feel in debt to her child’s caregiver(s).

Choose a plan that works best

Each mother has different circumstances, which is why there isn’t a plan that is better than the rest. Expecting mothers, whether incarcerated or not, should take the time to look into making a plan on how they will take care of their child’s needs. Adoption Choices of Texas can help you create a unique adoption plan that is best for you.





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