Having a birth companion made a difference to how I felt approaching labour because I knew someone was going to be there for me.

Going to prison while pregnant

If you have a family member or friend who is pregnant Bronzefield or Peterborough Prison or if you are awaiting sentencing and expecting a baby, Birth Companions may be able to offer you support. We run a weekly groups inside both prisons offering support to all women during pregnancy, and after the birth. 

Several prisons including Peterborough and Bronzefield have a Mother and Baby Unit for women who enter prison pregnant and give birth whilst on remand or serving their sentence. This is a separate part of the prison where mothers can keep their baby with them for up to the first 18 months. A woman can apply for a space in a Mother and Baby Unit, but a place is not automatic and a decision is made about what will be in the best interests of the baby. In all of the prisons housing pregnant women, arrangements are made for women to give birth in the maternity hospital nearest to the prison and women continue to receive antenatal care while in prison. Midwives from the local hospital also visit the prisons regularly and run clinics to provide care for pregnant women.

A woman who already has a child under 18 months old when they enter prison can apply to bring their child with them into prison. For women with long sentences, arrangements will normally need to be made for the child to be cared for outside of prison. Women and families may need to get advice from a family solicitor.

The following prisons have mother and baby units:

HMP Bronzefield

HMP Eastwood Park

HMP Styal

HMP New Hall

HMP Peterborough

HMP Askham Grange

Staff in each prison will be able to provide information about the local arrangements.

If you are collecting expressed breastmilk from a mother in prison and would like advice on storage, please see the information and advice line on this link to The Breastfeeding Network.

Below are links to other organisations which support women in prison and their family and friends.

Women in Prison supports and campaigns for women affected by the Criminal Justice System (CJS). Women in Prison assist women with advice on housing, education, mental health, legal rights, work, benefits, debt, domestic violence, and more. 0800 953 0125 http://www.womeninprison.org.uk/.

Offenders Families Help Line 0808 808 2003 is a good source of  of information for families who have come into contact with the Criminal Justice System as a result of a family member’s offending behaviour.  Offenders Families Help Line offer information and support from arrest through to release and beyond. http://www.offendersfamilieshelpline.org/

Action for Prisoners’ Families feature useful information about keeping in touch with someone in prison and how to speak with children about imprisonment. Booklets are free for family members. http://www.prisonersfamilies.org.uk

Hibiscus provides emotional and practical support to Foreign National, EU National and BMER women (Black and Minority Ethnic and/or Refugee Women, including women seeking asylum). They help women contact and maintain contacts with their families and children. http://fpwphibiscus.org.uk/

You can also visit the Government website for information about Prisons.

Links to other organisations which may be able to help can be found here.