Incarcerated women face unique barriers to health care, and those who are pregnant and postpartum are at increased risk of negative health outcomes.

Our Position

ACOG advocates for access to high-quality, comprehensive care, limits on the use of restrains on pregnant and postpartum women, and humane treatment of those in immigration detention facilities.

Improve Access to Comprehensive, Quality Care

ACOG advocates for: 

  • Comprehensive, quality, and gender- and trauma-informed care for women who are detained or incarcerated
  • Preventive, behavioral health, and pregnancy-related care, reentry services, and access to necessities such as menstrual products
  • Breastfeeding support and adequate contact visits with children

Limiting the Use of Restraints on Pregnant and Postpartum Women

ACOG supports policies limiting the use of shackling during pregnancy, labor and delivery, transport to-and-from medical facilities, and during postpartum recovery.

Optimal policies also give physicians the authority to:

  • Remove restraints
  • Protect patient privacy
  • Require documentation of instances of shackling for both juveniles and adults

Shackling is demeaning and is rarely necessary. It compromises a physician’s ability to provide compassionate health care. If restraint is needed, it should be the least restrictive possible and should never interfere with leg movement or the woman’s ability to break a fall. Access a list of state laws limiting the use of restraints for pregnant and postpartum individuals, for more information.