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Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong--and What You Really Need to Know Paperback – June 24, 2014
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"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, bestselling author of The Happiest Baby Guide to Sleep and The Happiest Baby on the Block
"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 and Bébé Day by Day
"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 co-author of Freakonomics
"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."
—Charles Wheelan, New York Times bestselling author of Naked Statistics
"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."
—Rachel Simmons, New York Times bestselling author of Curse of the Good Girl
About the Author
Emily Oster, the daughter of two economists and the wife of a third, is an associate professor of economics at the University of Chicago Booth School. She lives with her husband and daughter in Chicago.
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Top Customer Reviews
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. As she points out in the introduction, advice about pregnancy tends to be either black and white--don't have any drinks, ever--or vague--drink coffee in moderation. Instead of relying on the hearsay, she reviews the actual data and comes to her own conclusions. Oster doesn't demand that women drink during pregnancy despite their own reservations. Not at all! She just presents the evidence that light drinking has been shown to be not harmful, and lets the reader make her own choice.
The knee-jerk reactions to the book and Oster's approach are misguided because they don't realize that telling women what to do during pregnancy is exactly the opposite of Oster's intentions. Rather, she wants all the data laid out so women can make informed decisions during pregnancy based on their own assessment and comfort levels with varying amounts of risk. That is far more empowering and practical than a notarized list of what to do and not do. She gives examples in the text, citing instances where her review of the data prompted her to chose one path and a friend reviewing the same data to chose another path. That is fine. The goal is seeking knowledge to inform personal decisions.
Pregnancy in the U.S. is fraught with judgment from family, friends, and total strangers that add extra stress in an already anxious time. Expecting Better steps back from the hysteria and offers women up-to-date, relevant information about the choices they will need to make during pregnancy. I'll definitely be recommending this one to pregnant friends in the future.
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. But Emily Oster opened my eyes to the seriousness of this bacteria.
I am so thankful that this book came out during my 1st pregnancy. I felt very lost with all of the information that was provided to me and I kept wondering, "why is there such differing information out there?" This book is a god-send and every chapter is useful and to make it even better, she is HILARIOUS! This author is really funny and she adds personal touches throughout the book so you feel connected to her as well.
You cannot disagree with data and please do not be influenced by the negative reviews. Please get this book and make your own decision. I am so thankful that I bought the book and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!