Meet Lauren | Capital District Moms

Where are you originally from and what brought you to the Capital District?

I’m originally from California but have lived on the east coast for the past 10 years. I came to Albany a few years ago to get my degree in clinical psychology at SUNY Albany. 



What is your favorite thing about living in the Capital District?

I love the Capital District’s proximity to mountains, lakes, and walking trails. When the weather permits, I take my dog and picnic at Thatcher Park or hike near Lake George. In Albany, Washington Dog Park has been our go-to spot for many years now. My favorite time in the Capital District is late summer/ early fall, when the weather is still warm but the leaves are just starting to change.



What is your dissertation about?

My research interest is in health behaviors during pregnancy. Pregnancy is a time when women experience a lot of physical and emotional changes – some exciting, some more challenging. Pregnant women I have spoken to in my research often report noticing a lot of pretty drastic changes in their eating patterns and many have expressed to me that they would specifically like help managing their food cravings. I am not a nutritionist or dietician and I come from a Body Positive perspective, so I really want to steer clear of simply telling women what to eat and not eat or how they should manage their weight in pregnancy. I think women hear a lot of that from their providers and often consider it a source of stress, rather than something that is actually useful to them. Instead, I wanted to find a way to help women change their perspective and perhaps learn new skills to help them deal more effectively with unpleasant or difficult experiences like cravings in pregnancy. My dissertation is piloting a workshop to teach women mindfulness and acceptance-based skills to help them navigate the many stressors that come with the perinatal period- and food cravings is one area where these skills may be helpful to them. Mindfulness-based practices have been used for centuries by people from all backgrounds and have been shown to be effective for stress reduction, improving health behaviors, and enhancing overall mental well-being. We want to see whether these skills can be useful to women in pregnancy (and beyond) and whether and how group workshops like ours should be integrated in regular prenatal care.



You are looking for pregnant women in the Capital District to participate in a workshop. Could you tell me more about the workshop?

I am looking for pregnant women who would like to learn mindfulness and acceptance-based skills in a one-time in-person group workshop. I welcome women who are totally new to mindfulness practices as well as those who already have some level of familiarity with it. Women will be asked to sign a consent form, fill out a brief and confidential questionnaire about their food cravings and related experiences in pregnancy, and attend a one-hour interactive, skills-focused group workshop. After they attend a workhop women will have the option to fill out two more confidential questionnaires (via online surveys that can be completed from their phone or personal computer) before they give birth. Women will be compensated $10 for their participation in the group workshop, and another $10 if they complete the follow-up questionnaires.



Other requirements to attend the workshop:

Any woman who is currently having a singleton pregnancy, is over 18 years of age, can speak/read English, and is struggling with managing food cravings.



You would need to attend ONE of the following workshops:

Guilderland YMCA on March 6, 2020 at 10 am or March 8, 2020 at 10 am
Albany JCC February 24, 2020 at 9 am or February 28, 2020 at 9 am or March 4, 2020 at 6 pm

Also, more workshops will be added so email Lauren if you are interested and she can send you additional dates/times once they are available.



How do you sign up?

Please contact me, Lauren Blau, at [email protected] to sign up or if you have any questions. Have friends who want to participate as well? Women are encouraged to bring them along! The more the merrier.

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