Alabama Prison Birth Project Provides Support for mothers who are facing the added challenge of being incarcerated while expecting a baby, the Alabama Prison Birth Project (APBP) is making life better. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation’s mission is to improve the health of newborns birthed by women in custody while strengthening maternal bonds and maternal self-efficacy.
The organization currently offers a variety of services for expectant mothers. For improved maternal nutrition, they provide healthy meals featuring fruits, vegetables, proteins, Omega-3s, and calcium. They also facilitate a learning and support group once a month at Julia Tutwiler Prison For Women in Wetumpka. Expectant moms can learn about and discuss subjects such as healthy eating, healthy birth practices, and stress reduction. The APBP also stocks the prison library with pregnancy and parenting books and offers moms a notebook for journaling.
In the future, the APBP anticipates expanding the program to hands-on birth doula support as well as a mother’s milk initiative courtesy of a donation of five hospital-grade breast pumps from the Mother’s Milk Bank of Alabama. When women give birth behind bars, they are separated from their babies shortly after birth, which impacts bonding and breastfeeding time. These women deal with stress and anxiety and are at greater risk for physical and mental health concerns, which in turn can impact fetal health.
The ABPB cites the positive results of similar programs in other states: These have resulted in decreases in cesarean rate and postpartum depression. They’ve also prompted improved health of mothers and babies and increased bonding time. Among the other benefits, these outcomes cut the maternity and childcare costs for taxpayers.
To learn more or donate to the Alabama Prison Birth Project, visit www.prisonbirth.org.