What to Expect When You're Expecting meets Freakonomics: an award-winning economist disproves standard recommendations聽about pregnancy to empower women while they're expecting 聽 Pregnancy聴unquestionably one of the most pro颅found, meaningful experiences of adulthood聴can reduce otherwise intelligent women to, well, babies. We鈥檙e told to avoid cold cuts, sushi, alcohol, and coffee, but aren鈥檛 told聽why聽these are forbidden. Rules for prenatal testing are hard and fast聴and unexplained. Are these recommendations even correct? Are all of them right for every mom-to-be? In聽Expecting Better,聽award-winning economist Emily Oster proves that pregnancy rules are often misguided and sometimes flat-out wrong. 聽 A mom-to-be herself, Oster debunks the myths of pregnancy using her particular mode of critical thinking: economics, the study of how we get what we want. Oster knows that the value of anything聴a home, an amniocentesis聴is in the eyes of the informed beholder, and like any compli颅cated endeavor, pregnancy is not a one-size-fits-all affair. And yet medicine often treats it as such. Are doctors working from bad data? Are well-meaning friends and family perpetuating false myths and raising unfounded concerns? Oster鈥檚 answer is yes, and often. 聽 Pregnant women face an endless stream of decisions, from the casual (Can I eat this?) to the frightening (Is it worth risking a miscarriage to test for genetic defects?).聽Expecting Better聽presents the hard facts and real-world advice you鈥檒l never get at the doctor鈥檚 office or in the existing literature. Oster鈥檚 revelatory work identifies everything from the real effects of caffeine and tobacco to the surprising dangers of gardening. 聽 Any expectant mother knows that the health of her baby is paramount, but she will be less anxious and better able to enjoy a healthy pregnancy if she is informed . . . and can have the occasional glass of wine. 聽 * * * 聽 Numbers are not subject to someone else鈥檚 interpretation聴math doesn鈥檛 lie. Expectant economist Emily Oster set out to inform parents-to-be about the truth of pregnancy using the most up-to-date data so that they can make the best decisions for their pregnancies. The results she found were often very surprising聟 聽 聽 路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 It鈥檚 fine to have the occasional glass of wine 聳 even one every day 聳 in the second and third trimesters. 聽 路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 There is nothing to fear from sushi, but do stay away from raw milk cheese. 聽 路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Sardines and herring are the fish of choice to give your child those few extra IQ points. 聽 路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 There is no evidence that bed rest is helpful in preventing or treating聽any聽complications of pregnancy. 聽 路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Many unnecessary labor inductions could be avoided by simply staying hydrated. 聽 路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Epidurals are great for pain relief and fine for your baby, but they do carry some risks for mom. 聽 路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Limiting women to ice chips during labor is an antiquated practice; you should at least be able to sneak in some Gatorade. 聽 路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 You shouldn鈥檛 worry about dyeing your hair or cleaning the cat鈥檚 litter box, but gardening while pregnant can actually be risky. 聽 路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Hot tubs, hot baths, hot yoga: avoid (at least during the first trimester). 聽 路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 You should be more worried about gaining too little weight during pregnancy than gaining too much. 聽 路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Most exercise during pregnancy is fine (no rock climbing!), but there isn鈥檛 much evidence that it has benefits.聽 Except for exercising your pelvic floor with Kegels: that you should be doing. 聽 路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Your eggs do not have a 35-year-old sell-by date: plenty of women get pregnant after 35 and there is no sudden drop in fertility on your birthday. 聽 路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Miscarriage risks from tests like the CVS and Amniocentesis are far lower than cited by most doctors. 聽 路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Pregnancy nausea may be unpleasant, but it鈥檚 a good sign: women who are sick are less likely to miscarry.
Health, Mind & Body, Personal Health, Women's Health, Pregnancy & Childbirth,