Posted by: Karen | January 3, 2014

EXPECTING BETTER by Emily Oster

Available now at Blackstone Audio.7785-square-240

From the Publisher:

An award-winning social scientist uses the tools of economics to debunk myths about pregnancy and to empower women to make better decisions while they’re expecting.

Pregnancy is full of rules. Pregnant women are often treated as if they were children, given long lists of items to avoid—alcohol, caffeine, sushi—without any real explanation from their doctors about why. They hear frightening and contradictory myths from friends and pregnancy books about everything from weight gain to sleeping on your back to bed rest. Economist Emily Oster believes there is a better way. In Expecting Better, she shows that the information given to pregnant women is sometimes wrong and almost always oversimplified, and she debunks a host of standard recommendations on everything from drinking to fetal testing.

Expecting Better overturns standard recommendations for alcohol, caffeine, sushi, bed rest, and induction while putting in context the blanket guidelines for fetal testing, weight gain, risks of pregnancy over the age of thirty-five, nausea, and more. Oster offers the real-world advice one would never get at the doctor’s office. The health of your baby is paramount, and with this practical guide readers can know more and worry less. Having the numbers is a tremendous relief—and so is the occasional glass of wine.

My recording experience:

As I read and re-read this book, I couldn’t help but think over and over again, “Dang! I wish this book were around when I was pregnant!”  I understand that Oster’s book has been somewhat controversial, as she challenges a great deal of conventional wisdom about pregnancy and, shudder to think, encourages women to think for themselves.  But having been one of those women whose husband’s literally threw away the ubiquitous What to Expect When You’re Expecting because it was freaking me out so much, the balance of Oster’s commonsense and logical approach would have been welcome in my household.  While I patted myself on the back for many of the decisions I made during my pregnancy, reading the book made me feel sad for my friend who may have endured seemingly endless bedrest for no good reason.  And I found that had I known that flying cross country in the 8th month of pregnancy was not as dangerous as I thought it was , I may have been able to attend my brother’s wedding, which I’ve often regretted missing.

Listen to a sample here:  

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