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Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong—and What You Really Need to Know Hardcover – August 20, 2013


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Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong—and What You Really Need to Know + Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy: From Doctors Who Are Parents, Too! + What to Expect When You're Expecting, 4th Edition
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The (August 20, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594204756
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594204753
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (319 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,627 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

New York Times:
"Expecting Better will be a revelation for curious mothers-to-be whose doctors fail to lay out the pros and cons of that morning latte, let alone discuss real science. And it makes for valuable homework before those harried ob-gyn appointments, even for lucky patients whose doctors are able to talk about the rationale behind their advice."
 
New York Magazine:
"Emily Oster combs through hundreds of medical studies to debunk many widely followed dictates: no alcohol, no caffeine, no changing the kitty litter. Her conclusions are startling… Expecting Better walks women through medical literature surrounding every stage of pregnancy, giving them data to make informed decisions about their own pregnancy. "
 
New York Post:
"It seems that everyone—doctors, yoga teachers, mothers-in-law and checkout ladies at grocery stores—are members of the pregnancy police. Everyone has an opinion. But not everyone is Emily Oster, a Harvard-trained economics professor at the University of Chicago … To help the many women who reached out to Oster for advice, she compiled her conclusions in her new book, Expecting Better, which she describes as a kind of pregnancy 'by the numbers.'"
 
Associated Press:
"[Oster took] a deep dive into research covering everything from wine and weight gain to prenatal testing and epidurals. What she found was some of the mainstays of pregnancy advice are based on inconclusive or downright faulty science."
 
Daily Mail:
"Economist and author Emily Oster contradicts conventional wisdom and advocates a much more relaxed approach to pregnancy."

Parents.com:
“She’s such a brilliant researcher and wordsmith.”

The Times (UK)
"[Expecting Better] offers expectant mothers a new route to the delivery room."

Telegraph (UK) 
"A comprehensive and lively debunking of the myths surrounding pregnancy."

Harvey, Karp, MD, bestselling author of The Happiest Baby Guide to Sleep and The Happiest Baby on the Block:
"Expecting Better gives moms-to-be a big helping of peace of mind! Oster debunks many tired old myths and shines a light on issues that really matter."

Pamela Druckerman, New York Times bestselling author of Bringing Up Bébé and Bébé Day by Day:
"It took someone as smart as Emily Oster to make it all this simple. She cuts through the thicket of anxiety and received wisdom, and gives us the facts. Expecting Better is both enlightening and calming. It almost makes me want to get pregnant."

Charles Wheelan, New York Times bestselling author of Naked Statistics:
"Expecting Better is a fascinating and reassuring tour of pregnancy and childbirth, with data leading the way at every juncture.  From start to finish, Oster easily leads us through the key findings of the extant pregnancy-related research.  My only regret is that my wife and I had three children without the benefit of this insightful approach."
 
Rachel Simmons, New York Times bestselling author of Curse of the Good Girl:
"The only antidote to pregnancy anxiety is facts, and Emily Oster has them in spades. Disarmingly personal and easy to read, this book is guaranteed to cut your freaking out in half. Pregnancy studies has a new heroine. Every pregnant woman will cheer this book—and want to take Oster out for a shot of espresso."

Steven D. Levitt, New York Times bestselling co-author of Freakonomics:
"This is a fascinating—and reassuring—look at the most important numbers of your pregnancy. It will make parents-to-be rethink much of the conventional wisdom: think bed rest is a good idea? Think again. This may be the most important book about pregnancy you read."

About the Author

Emily Oster is an associate professor of economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. She was a speaker at the 2007 TED conference and her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Esquire. Oster is married to economist Jesse Shapiro and is the also the daughter of two economists. She has one child, Penelope.

 


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

321 of 346 people found the following review helpful By Caroline Niziol on August 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you asked me a couple of weeks ago if I was interested in reading Yet Another Pregnancy Book, I would have laughed. Hardly! I read a couple early on, then turned to the almighty Google when I had questions or curiosities. Then about a week ago, my mom clipped an excerpt from the Wall Street Journal called "Take Back Your Pregnancy." Well, I took the bait. Emily Oster's article intrigued me. Definitely one for any subsequent pregnancy, I thought!

Then the furor struck on the Interwebs. Because Oster draws the conclusion from a variety of studies and data that it's fine to indulge in the occasional alcoholic beverage during pregnancy, she has been excoriated in a variety of articles and in the responding comments. Current Amazon.com reviews are skewed by those who take issue with an economist (not a medical doctor) who will, in their minds, increase the number of children born with FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder). Several comments made nasty remarks about the author's 2-year-old daughter, Penelope, implying that it was only a matter of time before she would begin to fail IQ tests and demonstrate signs of FASD herself.

Was Oster truly that horrible and conniving? Did she write her book to cause birth defects and emotional trauma? I had to know the truth, and while 40 weeks and two days pregnant, I picked up Expecting Better and read it carefully.

Spoiler alert: it's really not that bad. I love authors who examine evidence, explain scientific studies and methodology, and draw logical conclusions about the data. Oster isn't an ob/gyn, but she's a well-trained economist whose job is interpreting data. Her analysis is thorough even as she keeps her writing accessible, humorous, and sympathetic.
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225 of 253 people found the following review helpful By Annie Y. on August 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My husband showed me an article on Emily Oster's book (published in the Wall Street Journal, August 9th) and once I read it, I could not wait to read her book. I am 12 weeks pregnant and could not understand the lack of data supporting all of the rules that pregnant women must adhere to. I saw 2 OB-GYN's and both doctors provided differing views, without providing sound data... was it just their opinion they were spouting off to me? That's what it seemed like to me. Women must make their own decisions, at the end of the day, and I am shocked with the negative reviews this book is receiving. This book is a MUST READ FOR ALL WOMEN!!

The negativity is around drinking --- Emily Oster is NOT supporting drinking while being pregnant. This book provides multiple studies on women who drink and shows us that if you have a drink or two, you are NOT HURTING YOUR BABY. But if you don't agree with this philosophy, then don't drink and mind your own business! There are plenty of women around the world who drink while carrying a child. I highly doubt that the reviewers who are so concerned with FAS have actually read the book!!

I loved the chapter on miscarrying since there is so much random information online. I too, like Emily's friend in the book, wondered the % of miscarrying at varying weeks. It is comforting to know that there are many reasons why women miscarry and you can't make a generalization as to your chances of miscarrying.

Another chapter I appreciated was foods you really should avoid. Even though I'm pregnant, I don't want to feel like I can't live and enjoy food! Knowing the foods I must avoid brings me a peace of mind. In addition, I always wondered about listeria and did not believe it would be harmful to me or my baby.
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250 of 287 people found the following review helpful By Melina on August 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The highly emotional reviews railing against Ms. Oster's book are exactly why this book was necessary. Too often, we rely on unbridled emotion to make really big decisions, when in reality our emotion needs to be tempered by factual data (so that we are not scared into doing something that may, in fact, be MORE dangerous). For what it's worth, I am incredibly conservative on the topic of alcohol. I myself do not drink. I am aware of and take seriously the damage alcohol can do to people. That being said, I hope that I NEVER, EVER come across as expounding the belief that alcohol is bad, hands down. While I certainly would not choose to drink during my pregnancy (for the reason that I live a sober life), I absolutely do NOT condemn those who choose to do so. I have a great appreciation for the numbers, and the numbers have clearly shown that small amounts in the 2nd and 3rd tri are unlikely to have any impact on the developing fetus. There is no arguing with that. It is fact, and it is public. Nowhere in Ms. Oster's book does she encourage ANYONE to drink. All Ms. Oster has done is collect the information that was already publicly available, and make it palatable for the average person. With all due respect to those representing NOFAS in the reviews here, this book is not going to change anything. People who are alcoholics and drink excessively during pregnancy have a problem that has probably never been influenced by medical data, not even when it was still believed by researchers that any amount of alcohol was hazardous to a developing fetus. As someone who has had to make very difficult decisions in my pregnancy, I have greatly appreciated having this book---a beacon of sanity in a period that is fraught with fear-mongering and false information.Read more ›
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