Emily Oster’s newly launched book on pregnancy, “Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong-and What You Really Need to Know”, is making headlines with its controversial take on pregnancy – controversial because it challenges the status quo.
Oster is a mum-to-be and currently works as an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. She is also an award-winning economist.
The aim of ‘Expecting Better’ is to disprove standard recommendations about pregnancy to empower women while they’re expecting.
Sounds interesting, right!?
‘Expecting Better’ covers all the stages of pregnancy in five parts: Part 1-Conception, Part 2-The First Trimester, Part 3-The Second Trimester, Part 4-The third Trimester, Part 5-Labour and Delivery. Topics covered include alcohol, caffeine, deli meats, nausea, prenatal screening and testing, pain relief… all of the things that a pregnancy woman (couple) will have to decide on during pregnancy and after.
The point Oster makes is that women are given a bunch of rules during pregnancy – don’t drink coffee or alcohol, don’t eat fish… or the baby will be harmed – and women obey without fully understanding. She questions whether the recommendations are correct and whether they are right for every expecting mum. Using the most up-to-date data, Emily Oster proves that pregnancy rules are often misguided and sometimes flat-out wrong.
Here are some of the things that data proves according to Oster, who operates according to the theory that numbers are not subject to someone else’s interpretation—math doesn’t lie:
· It’s fine to have the occasional glass of wine – even one every day – in the second and third trimesters.
· There is nothing to fear from sushi, but do stay away from raw milk cheese.
· Sardines and herring are the fish of choice to give your child those few extra IQ points.
· There is no evidence that bed rest is helpful in preventing or treating any complications of pregnancy.
· Many unnecessary labour inductions could be avoided by simply staying hydrated.
· Epidurals are great for pain relief and fine for your baby, but they do carry some risks for mom.
· Limiting women to ice chips during labour is an antiquated practice; you should at least be able to sneak in some Gatorade.
· You shouldn’t worry about dyeing your hair or cleaning the cat’s litter box, but gardening while pregnant can actually be risky.
· Hot tubs, hot baths, hot yoga: avoid (at least during the first trimester).
· You should be more worried about gaining too little weight during pregnancy than gaining too much.
· Most exercise during pregnancy is fine (no rock climbing!), but there isn’t much evidence that it has benefits. Except for exercising your pelvic floor with Kegels: that you should be doing.
· 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.
· Miscarriage risks from tests like the CVS and Amniocentesis are far lower than cited by most doctors.
· Pregnancy nausea may be unpleasant, but it’s a good sign: women who are sick are less likely to miscarry.
I’ll bet you’re surprised about some things and other things you’re saying “I knew it!”
Oster’s book looks like an interesting and informative read and whether you agree or disagree with her points or method it’s good to think about what we’re told about our pregnancy and QUESTION doctors and midwives by asking for EXPLANATIONS! We are entitled to make informed decisions.
What do you think?
CLICK HERE to get a copy of “Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong-and What You Really Need to Know”.