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Publisher's Summary

What to Expect When You're Expecting meets Freakonomics: an award-winning economist disproves standard recommendations about pregnancy to empower women while they're expecting. From the author of Cribsheet, a data-driven decision making guide to the early years of parenting

Pregnancy - unquestionably one of the most pro­found, meaningful experiences of adulthood - can reduce otherwise intelligent women to, well, babies. Pregnant women are told to avoid cold cuts, sushi, alcohol, and coffee without ever being told why these are forbidden. Rules for prenatal testing are similarly unexplained. Moms-to-be desperately want a resource that empowers them to make their own right choices.

When award-winning economist Emily Oster was a mom-to-be herself, she evaluated the data behind the accepted rules of pregnancy, and discovered that most are often misguided and some are just flat-out wrong. Debunking myths and explaining everything from the real effects of caffeine to the surprising dangers of gardening, Expecting Better is the book for every pregnant woman who wants to enjoy a healthy and relaxed pregnancy - and the occasional glass of wine.

* This audiobook includes a downloadable PDf of charts, graphs and an Appendix from the book.

©2019 Emily Oster (P)2021 Penguin Audio

What the critics say

"A revelation for curious mothers-to-be whose doctors fail to lay out the pros and cons of that morning latte, let alone discuss real science. And it makes for valuable homework before those harried ob-gyn appointments, even for lucky patients whose doctors are able to talk about the rationale behind their advice." (New York Times)

"A book...that pregnant women won't want to miss." (Parents Magazine)

"Oster's advice cuts through the emotion, myth, fear of malpractice litigation and looks at the numbers. A mother herself, Oster's interest isn't just curiosity, it's the same thing that motivates every new mom...and Oster's ability to break down the data into informed analysis is a refreshing break from the hysterical hearsay that often dominates the conversation." (Babyzone

"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 best-selling author of Bringing Up Bébé)  

What listeners say about Expecting Better

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Very interesting information

Makes you really question some of the traditional recommendations and leaves you with lots to think about.

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Lots of information that helped my fears!

I wasn't sure if I would like this book but it turns out this was pretty good. it was so nice to learn about the actual stats behind the "recommendation" and to know whether or not it had to be followed or just old rules.

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if you're into statistics...

It's phenomenal in the use of evidence based studies and clinical research. Doesn't give you hard yes or hard no for anything but encouraging you to makes up your own mind about certain aspects of pregnancy and childbirth. I've learned a bunch and will use it going forward in my pregnancy.

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Not for Me

I found the reader hard to listen to and a lot of what was being said just ended up making me super anxious, ie. the stuff about "if you don't experience nausea you are likely to miscarry." I couldn't get past chapter 5.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2022-01-19

I wish I hadn't read this book first!

LOVED this book. I related to the author immensely. She researched so much and answered most of my questions in a great way that wasn't boring. Unfortunately I read this book first the weekend I fond out I was expecting, and all of the books I've attempted to read so far have either been super annoying, boring, or seem like a copy of Emily's book. I recommend this book for anyone expecting and give you warning that you may not enjoy other books as much.

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  • Camila Skubala
  • 2021-08-24

Waste of time.

First of, yes like many other reviews say the authors voice is very annoying. She should not have read her own book. And although there are a few good tips and info on the book, most of it was a complete waste of my time.

Also I highly disagree with some info like saying that women that throw up / have nausea are more likely to have healthier pregnancies. This is ridiculous.

Many other books out there!

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  • Laura B.
  • 2021-04-14

Perfect for new moms - critics, are you even reading the whole paragraphs?

When I became pregnant, I was so overwhelmed with all of the information out there. I got this book because I was encouraged by her reliance on actual data. I could not have been more pleased and will probably not read another pregnancy book. The reviews of with their pitchforks over some of her conclusions that fly against normal recommendations reminds me of those who rely on Facebook posts to decide vaccines aren’t safe. If all they have is the American Association of whatever says this isn’t safe and doesn’t have the data to prove it, they are not as informed as a Emily Oster is. And also probably don’t realize that America is not even talk to him and infect health in mortality. It would be one thing if she were conclusory, but she has hard data, does her homework, and attaches PDFs. In fact, I have decided for the remainder of my pregnancy, I’m not hanging my hat until I can read a pure reviewed journal with an abstract and methodology. At the end of the day, this book is about providing the actual evidence, but still to each their own, and you can decide what you want to do - just based on reliable information. Thank you so much, Emily!

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  • Jerrica Loera
  • 2021-08-03

Content is good but she shouldn’t have narrated it herself

The content is good, however, it’s hard to stay focused because the author has an extremely shrill voice and inflection that can be very distracting. I like to wind down with my audiobooks, but I had to make sure I was in the right frame of mind every time I went through chapters because her tone is very grating.

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  • Catleah
  • 2021-04-25

Content is brilliant

Not every author should narrate their own books. Ms. Oster’s tone and performance was at times distracting and hard to listen to.

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  • Mia
  • 2022-03-05

look up FASD before drinking while pregnant!

It is NOT safe to consume Any alcohol during pregnancy. Look up 'fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.' Seriously, it's 10 frickin months-- I think it's not so hard to wait.

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  • Tee
  • 2022-02-02

Excellent book for anyone that is data driven

Loved this book. Was a bit hesitant based on some reviews but my curiosity about actual data that's been properly evaluated and analyzed thankfully won. The flow of the book was great, covered enough details for me to either make a decision or know where to start if I still had questions. I'll be reading the authors next book shortly.

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  • Abigail Womack
  • 2022-01-10

Love that I didn't have to do the research!

This was a great book! Didn't have to do a ton of research and most of what she xsays was confirmed in other article I read before or after.

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  • SandyMyDarlin
  • 2022-05-26

facts!

I am currently 6 months pregnant 🤰 and work 65 hours a week. I was happy to find something that is narrated well and includes lots of credible information. No I did not fact check any of it but this is my first pregnancy and it did make me aware of many things that I had to beware of and gave me a sense of calm in other areas where I needed it 😁

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  • Kelly H
  • 2022-05-22

Gives women the tools to start a conversation

The thesis of empowering women into decision making in pregnancy is a good one. As a scientist in another field (biomedical engineering), I sometimes disagree with Oster’s specific conclusions (her discussion of cord blood stem cells having a similar timeline to clinical use as adult derived stem cells is in my view incorrect) but she does a fantastic job laying out the process of decision making. I will be the type to look into the medical literature and annoy my doctor, but not everyone wants to do so. This book at least gives those women the confidence to ask their doctors about the data underlying the dogma. I’m a big believer that people are owed an honest explanation of the size of risks.