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What To Expect From ‘Expecting Better’

(Rich Moffitt/Flickr Creative Commons)

(Rich Moffitt/Flickr Creative Commons)

In March 2011, CommonHealth published a post celebrating — or rather, marking — “What to Expect When You’re Expecting’s” 500th week on The New York Times bestseller list. It was headlined “What To Hate About What To Expect When You’re Expecting,” and garnered dozens of suggestions from unhappy readers of the “crazymaking pregnancy bible.”

Two years later, “What To Expect” still sits solidly on the bestseller list, but the buzz is building around a new alternative that was released Tuesday.

The book comes from Emily Oster, a health economist by trade. Titled “Expecting Better,” it focuses on teaching women to examine the commonly held “rules” of pregnancy and evaluate for themselves just how big each risk actually is.

Some of Oster’s key findings include taking cold lunch meat off the verboten list (fears of listeria are overblown, she found) and enjoying coffee without guilt (standard advice against caffeine consumption comes with all sorts of complicating factors).

She writes in The Wall Street Journal:

Pregnant women are clamoring for better information about everything from exercise to hair dye to bed rest and delivery. They don’t want categorical limits based on fuzzy science and half-baked research. They want to assess risks for themselves and make their own best decisions.

That’s what Oster herself did. One of the biggest controversies she has raised, though, is her treatment of alcohol. Continue reading