Monday, August 27, 2007

Law School Moms

Hello, faithful readers. I've been out of town and then busy getting my 1st grader back-to-school. I'm working on a legal update of things that happened while I was gone.

I see that there is now a carnival of Moms In Law School. MILS #8 is posted at PT-LawMom. I'm a fan! Personally, law school was difficult enough. I can't imagine doing it and being pregnant or a mom to young children. But I see I have some more bloggers to add to my "Lawyer Moms" list.

Speaking of Carnivals, yours truly is hosting Blawg Review on International Midwives' Day which is, oh, sometime next spring. Last time I hosted, I used a reality-tv theme. If anyone has a great idea for a theme, let me know. Obviously I'm going to talk about the legal status of midwives in the US, but I'll also have quite a few legal posts (ok, most of them) that don't have anything to do with midwifery or childbirth. I just need an organizing scheme to tie everything together...

Friday, August 03, 2007

Pregnant Inmates Need Doulas, Too

In honor of Nicole Richie's newly-announced pregnancy - and the fact that she may soon be spending time behind bars for a DUI conviction - I give you this wonderful article by Amie Newman, Pregnant Behind Bars: The Prison Doula Project. Amie interviews Christy Hall, the co-founder and Development Coordinator for The Birth Attendants, which started the project:
"A lot of the issues that are the general issues for pregnant women are magnified in prison. For instance, which provider will you choose for pregnancy and childbirth? In prison, you don't get to choose your provider - not being able to choose who attends your birth is a big deal. Up until recently, in the prison we work in, there was only a male doctor available for labor and delivery. But for many women in prison - a huge number of whom have experienced sexual and domestic violence - having a male provider between your legs is not exactly ideal. Another issue is lack of informed consent - the lack of information and resources around having a healthy pregnancy for these women is huge. They just aren't given any information on pregnancy, their health, their bodies. The lack of access to proper nutrition during pregnancy is a big problem - the pregnant women in the prison we work with get "extra canteen" which means they get like an extra pack of Fritos. Also, the lack of access to health care in prison means that, in general, a health issue is not dealt with until it turns into a huge problem. It's a high-risk population anyway because, for the most part, these women lacked proper health care before coming to prison and being pregnant in prison doesn't change that. Also, there is a much higher rate of cesarean sections for women in prison as compared to women on the outside - mostly for the convenience of medical and prison staff."
The article mentions another organization, The Rebecca Project, which aims to end the practice of shackling pregnant inmates, particularly during labor and delivery, through the enactment of federal legislation.

Also check out this 1997 article by Sheila Kitzinger on the state of pregnant women and mothers in Great Britain.