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

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR6 min readSociety
Do You Need That Surgery? How To Decide, And How To Pick A Surgeon If You Do
When you have a serious health problem that calls for surgery, the last thing you need is the stress of navigating the health care system to find a skilled surgeon. We have tips to make it easier.
NPR1 min read
Kris Delmhorst On Mountain Stage
Kris Delmhorst headed to Vermont to record the 2017 record The Wild with bassist Jeremy Moses Curtis and drummer Billy Conway.
NPR2 min read
Hayley Kiyoko Works Magic With New Song And Video 'I Wish'
In her first release since 2018's Expectations, Hayley Kiyoko casts a sonic and visual spell to work through the hurt of a dismissive partner.