Women’s Health FAQs   QA.JPG

Q. How do I get a pap smear or breast check in prison?

A: Submit a Patient Self-referral form. If you need help, ask to speak with a nurse.


Q. What happens if I’m pregnant?

A: You will be referred to a Network midwife for any ongoing care and monitoring if you are pregnant in custody.


Q. Can I terminate a pregnancy after a positive urine pregnancy test?

A: In NSW, women can request an abortion up until 22 weeks of pregnancy. You will first have an ultrasound to check how far you are into the pregnancy, then a GP or midwife will help with this process. However, the decision and consent to have an abortion relies on you. Speak to a nurse in your local health centre if you are considering an abortion.


Q. Where will I give birth if I’m in custody when my baby is due?

A: The Network will arrange for your labour and baby’s birth to take place in a local public hospital.  The hospital you birth at depends on which correctional centre you are in at the time.


Q. Can mothers express breastmilk in custody?

A: The Network promotes and supports breastfeeding or expressing breastmilk depending on the individual woman’s circumstances.


Q. How can women breastfeed or express breastmilk in custody?

A: Women who choose to express breastmilk in custody are provided with a breast pump and instruction on expressing and storing breastmilk. Transport of expressed breastmilk must be arranged by the woman with her family or significant others.

Women who have their babies with them in the Mother and Children’s Program are encouraged and supported to breastfeed and/or express.  

Q. What other services are available to pregnant or postnatal women in custody?

A: There are a range of other services available to you while you are in custody, including:

  • Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Service (PIMHS): This service coordinates the mental health care of pregnant women in custody and looks after continuity of care, support, counselling, therapeutic interventions and referral as required.
  • Substance Use in Pregnancy Care Coordinator (SUPCC): This clinician works in the Network’s Drug and Alcohol team, and is available to all pregnant women in custody with current substance use issues. They assist pregnant women with information and education about the best ways to reduce the harms associated with alcohol and drug use in pregnancy. 
  • Aboriginal Health Worker: The women’s Aboriginal Health Worker provides information and support to women in metropolitan Sydney centres, and health workers in regional and remote centres via telehealth. Tell the nurse in centre if you would like to speak to the Aboriginal Health Worker.
  • Mother and Children’s Program: This prison nursery unit operates in the Jacaranda Cottages alongside Emu Plains Correctional Centre. Children from birth to six years can live with their mother or primary carer in full or part-time residence. The program offers a range of flexible options for women to take an active parenting role while serving their custodial sentence. This arrangement is subject to a very detailed assessment. Women should not rely on the program as a childcare option and consider alternative arrangements.