Final Research Summary

My summer research at the Healthy Beginnings Lab has been an enriching, engaging, and incredibly educational experience. During the 10 weeks that I spent at the lab, I constantly gained a new perspective on the difficult conditions of incarcerated pregnant mothers. While I started out in a different area of research, I was lead to a highly suitable research topic for myself, especially considering the fact that I have a profound interest in maternal health. The background research that I conducted on the negative outcomes of maternal depression in the general context of pregnant women, and later on incarcerated pregnant women truly opened my mind to the challenges and dangers that depression during pregnancy can result in.

Moreover, a unique aspect of the Healthy Beginnings Lab is that a majority of the work is hands on, so I truly developed a realistic image and perception of my research. For example, I had the opportunity to input data from the Anthem project, in which I looked through the nutrition and depression files of pregnant incarcerated mothers throughout the course of their pregnancy in prison. Moreover, a clinical psychologist of the lab would attend the lab meetings to report back on her recent interviews of pregnant incarcerated mothers, and I had the opportunity to listen in and ask questions in order to further my research and gain valuable insight on this topic. I also had many of the resources that the lead professors of the project use to interview the pregnant incarcerated women sample. Most notably, a lab member and I were assigned the task of editing a nutrition booklet which the pregnant incarcerated mothers are given to become informed of proper nutrition in their circumstances. This experience brought my research further to life and truly gave me a realistic perspective on my summer work.

Ultimately, partaking in summer research at the Healthy Beginnings lab has truly been a fulfilling and captivating experience. I have learned quite a lot regarding the experiences that pregnant incarcerated mothers undergo as well as the incredibly impact that the Healthy Beginnings project has on the women that it works with. It has been an honor to take part in this meaningful effort which integrates public health and psychology to help the future children of pregnant incarcerated mothers to truly have a healthy beginning.

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