Introducing Expecting Better, a New Blog About Pregnancy By the Numbers

Pregnancy by the Numbers
Aug. 19 2013 5:30 AM

Introducing Expecting Better

pregnant_coffee
Caffeinated, but thanks for asking

Photo by Zurijeta/Shutterstock

You’re pregnant. You’re at Starbucks, minding your own business, waiting for your iced skinny vanilla latte. “I hope that’s decaf!” says the lady behind you. Resisting the urge to pour the drink all over her head, you stare at her, stone-faced, and leave the store. 

Emily Oster Emily Oster

Emily Oster is an associate professor of economics at the University of Chicago Booth School. Her book is Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong. Follow her on Twitter.

Now imagine another scenario. Same store, same latte, same lady. But this time you’re ready. Rather than just staring and leaving, you calmly explain to her the many, many studies that show that caffeine, in moderation, is fine for your baby. She apologizes profusely, and you leave triumphant.

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If that sounds good, this is the blog for you. 

My new book—Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom is Wrong, and What You Really Need to Know—is out tomorrow. It’s about pregnancy, but doesn’t include any sections on how big your baby is each week (or what fruit size it compares to) or what emotions you’ll be feeling. Instead, you’ll find information you can use to make better decisions.  

Can I have a glass of wine? Coffee? How much weight can I gain? Should I get an epidural? When is the baby coming out, anyway?

The book is decidedly not about recommendations. It’s about information. You can find plenty of books that tell you, “Go ahead, have a glass of wine.” I do say that, but I also explain why I came to that conclusion, with citations to the medical literature, providing you with ammunition for the nosy Starbucks ladies.

I’m an economist; my business is decision-making and data. When I got pregnant, I used the tools from my job to think about my pregnancy. It didn’t occur to me to do it any other way.

So what’s going to be on this blog? For the next month or so, I’ll give you a few tidbits from the book, and a few things that didn’t make it in. I’d also like to hear from you. Got a burning question about pregnancy? Send it along to expectingbetter@gmail.com. (I’ll use your name unless you specify otherwise, and please check out Slate's submission guidelines before you write in.) I’ll pick some favorites, do the research for you, and post the answer. Think of me as your own personal pregnancy concierge.

So, sit back, enjoy that caffeinated latte, and get ready to expect better.