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Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong--and What You Really Need to Know [Kindle Edition]

Emily Oster
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (346 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $17.00
Kindle Price: $7.99
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Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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Book Description

“Gives moms-to-be a big helping of peace of mind!” —Harvey Karp M.D., bestselling author of The Happiest Baby on the Block

Pregnancy—unquestionably one of the most pro­found, meaningful experiences of adulthood—can reduce otherwise intelligent women to, well, babies. Pregnant women are told to avoid cold cuts, sushi, alcohol, and coffee without ever being told why these are forbidden. Rules for prenatal testing are similarly unexplained. Moms-to-be desperately want a resource that empowers them to make their own right choices.

When award-winning economist Emily Oster was a mom-to-be herself, she evaluated the data behind the accepted rules of pregnancy, and discovered that most are often misguided and some are just flat-out wrong. Debunking myths and explaining everything from the real effects of caffeine to the surprising dangers of gardening, Expecting Bettering is the book for every pregnant woman who wants to enjoy a healthy and relaxed pregnancy—and the occasional glass of wine.


Editorial Reviews

Review

''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.'' --Steven D. Levitt, New York Times bestselling coauthor of Freakonomics

''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.'' --Harvey Karp, MD, New York Times bestselling author of The Happiest Baby Guide to Sleep

''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.'' --Pamela Druckerman, New York Times bestselling author of Bringing Up Bébé

''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.'' --Harvey Karp, MD, New York Times bestselling author of The Happiest Baby Guide to Sleep

''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.'' --Pamela Druckerman, New York Times bestselling author of Bringing Up Bébé

''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.'' --Harvey Karp, MD, New York Times bestselling author of The Happiest Baby Guide to Sleep

''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.'' --Pamela Druckerman, New York Times bestselling author of Bringing Up Bébé

About the Author

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

Product Details

  • File Size: 932 KB
  • Print Length: 335 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1594204756
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; 1 edition (August 20, 2013)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00AEBEQUK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,220 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
(346)
3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
347 of 373 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fact-based book for empowered pregnancy choices 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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233 of 261 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars YES! A data driven book on pregnancy-- a MUST READ! 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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261 of 298 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Case In Point August 20, 2013
By Melina
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars For expecting moms who want data-driven advice
Emily does a great job in raising all the right questions of pregnancy. What foods should I avoid? What are the chances of miscarriage at every week? Can I have wine? Read more
Published 4 days ago by Marina452
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
Most of this book was great, but the author seems to fall victim to what she was railing against towards the end, which was making assumptions about how things "should" be... Read more
Published 4 days ago by CarlaMcW
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great book, easy to understand and it's really nice to have someone else do tthe research for ya!
Published 6 days ago by amy gruber
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for mums who ask "why"
Oster has done a great job at looking at what recommendations are being made to pregnant women in the US, and trying to figure out the answer to why these recommendations are being... Read more
Published 17 days ago by DM
5.0 out of 5 stars loved this book!
It's the best pregnancy book I've read so far. At the end of the day, Emily Oster is right, we need to make choices based on available data. Read more
Published 20 days ago by Cecilia de Leon
5.0 out of 5 stars great, practical, quick read!
14 weeks pregnant and can relate so much to the panicked googling stage of pregnancy described in this book. Really appreciate this no-nonsense practical primer (esp. Read more
Published 20 days ago by Anna
5.0 out of 5 stars Adding some facts to the fiction
Along with Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, this book has been the most helpful throughout my pregnancy! Read more
Published 23 days ago by Kimberly
5.0 out of 5 stars great information!
I wish I read this book for my first pregnancy! I would have stressed a lot less. She has a great viewpoint on "natural" childbirth and really puts into perspective what... Read more
Published 1 month ago by sommer pino
5.0 out of 5 stars It was great to see actual numbers
For my second pregnancy, I was looking for a refresher on "the rules" of pregnancy when I came across this book. Read more
Published 1 month ago by TaraJae
5.0 out of 5 stars A breath of fresh air in the world of pregnancy guidebooks
I recommend this book to all my pregnant friends (and even random women I meet who tell me they're pregnant! Read more
Published 1 month ago by JG17
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