Agencies | Governor
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Corrections
State Board of Local and Regional Jails
Minimum Standards for Jails and Lockups [6 VAC 15 ‑ 40]
Action Amend Minimum Standards for Jails and Lockups to add requirements on restraint of pregnant offenders
Stage Proposed
Comment Period Ends 9/27/2013
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7/29/13  2:26 pm
Commenter: Karen Fedorov

No pregnant woman should be restrained during labor and delivery

To Whom It May Concern:

  I used to be a labor and delivery nurse and was appalled to learn of the practice of restraining women during labor and delivery.  For that reason:

  • I commend the Board of Corrections’ approval of proposed regulations limiting the use of restraints on pregnant inmates. I thank the Board for implementing a compassionate and commonsense policy, and urge the Board to make these proposed regulations final.
  • Restraining a pregnant woman can pose undue health risks to the woman and her pregnancy. Restraining pregnant women is dangerous and inhumane.  Restraining pregnant inmates increases their chances of accidentally tripping or falling, and harming their pregnancies.  During labor and postpartum recovery, restraints can interfere with appropriate medical care and can be detrimental to the health of the woman and her newborn child.
  • Freedom from physical restraints is especially critical during labor, delivery, and during postpartum recovery.  Women often need to move around during labor and recovery, including moving their legs as part of the birthing process.  Restraints on a pregnant woman can interfere with the medical staff’s ability to appropriately assist in childbirth or to conduct emergency procedures. Following birth, it is critical for a woman to remain unrestrained to prevent postpartum hemorrhage. Freedom from restraints after delivery also fosters postpartum bonding between a mother and her newborn, which is essential to the healthy development of the child.
  • The vast majority of female prisoners are non-violent offenders who pose a low security risk—particularly during labor and postpartum recovery.  In the states that have outlawed restraint of pregnant inmates, there have been no documented instances of a woman in labor or delivery escaping or causing harm to themselves, security guards, or medical staff.


Karen Fedorov


CommentID: 28664