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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.
When Oster was expecting her first child, she felt powerless to make the right decisions. How doctors think and what patients need are two very different things. So Oster drew on her own experience and went in search of the real facts about pregnancy using an economist’s tools. Economics is not just a study of finance. It’s the science of determining value and making informed decisions. To make a good decision, you need to understand the information available to you and to know what it means to you as an individual.
Take alcohol. We all know that Americans are cautious about drinking during pregnancy. Official recommendations call for abstinence. But Oster argues that the medical research doesn’t support this; the vast majority of studies show no impact from an occasional drink. The few studies that do condemn light drinking are deeply flawed, including one in which the light drinkers were also heavy cocaine users.
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.
“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
About the Author - Emily Oster
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.
About the Narrator - Karen White
Karen White is a classically trained actress who has been recording and directing audiobooks for more than ten years. An Audie Award finalist and Best Audiobook of the Year 2009 winner for The Hemingses of Monticello by Annette Gordon Reed, she has earned many AudioFile Earphones Awards, including for Too Good to Be True by Erin Arvedlund and Inside of a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz. Of Karen's narration of Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick, Publishers Weekly says, "Karen White delivers a stunning reading, her character interpretations are confident and well-rounded, and she forges a strong bond with the audience."