NPR

Pregnant, Locked Up, And Alone

Natalie Lynch spent the last two weeks of her pregnancy in a prison cell, mostly alone. As female incarceration rates rise, some states are banning solitary confinement of pregnant women.
Natalie Lynch at home with her youngest child, Maycen. In 2014, when Lynch was pregnant with her older child, she spent two weeks before giving birth in a prison cell, mostly alone. Source: Sarah McCammon

For many expectant moms, the tedious final days before the due date are spent going to baby showers, stocking the refrigerator, or getting the nursery ready.

Natalie Lynch spent the last two weeks of her pregnancy in a prison cell, mostly alone.

"It's eerie. It's quiet, cold ..." Lynch said. "It's enough to drive a person crazy."

With female incarceration rates rising in the United States, prisons and jails across the country are contending with new challenges, including caring for pregnant women. Sometimes, those inmates are being housed alone — in medical units and other types of isolation — for days or weeks at a time.

Now, a handful of states, including , , , and , are beginning to move away from incarcerating pregnant

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