CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) _ A woman who killed one of her children, then conceived another while in jail, has been given her freedom three months early, officials said Saturday.

Kathleen Householder, 23, of Rippon was released on Christmas Eve from a Charleston work-release center where she had been sent in Octoober, Deputy Corrections Commissioner William Whyte said. Householder had been holding a job in Charleston but has returned to her Jefferson County home, authorities said.

In March, the state Probation and Parole Board denied Householder parole because of the seriousness of her offense, and the board said it would not again consider parole for her until March 1988.

In 1986, Householder claimed her 2-week-old daughter, Lindsey, had been kidnapped from the parking lot of a Winchester, Va., grocery store. Householder went on television and tearfully pleaded for the return of her daughter.

Three weeks later, Householder admitted that she struck the baby on the head with a rock, then wrapped the body in plastic and threw it in the Shenandoah River.

Householder pleaded guilty to voluntary manslughter in January 1987, and in March, she was sentenced to one-to-five years in prison.

Janet Rader, a member of the state Probation and Parole Board, said the board was unaware of the release until after it happened.

Householder was released early for good behavior as part of a Corrections Department effort to cut down on overcrowding in the state's prisons, Whyte said. She also had enough ''good time'' accumulated to be released early.

Gov. Arch Moore approves any early release, Whyte said.

In Septmeber, Householder gave birth to a daughter at the Federal Correctional Institution for women at Alderson. She said she became pregnant when a guard allowed four unauthorized conjugal visits with her husband, Daniel, at the Jefferson County Jail. The Householders also have a 4-year-old son, Dustin.

Householder was incarcerated at the federal prison because West Virginia does not have a state-run women's prison.

Her husband now is serving a one-year sentence at the Jefferson County Jail for driving under the influence of alcohol and causing a death.