Book Review: Expecting Better by Emily Oster

I had high hopes for _Expecting Better_ when I read Emily Oster's article in Slate, here, about the myths of bedrest.   The article is a terrific read, so much so that I sent it onto my post-partum doula pal, Victoria Facelli, who specializes in dealing with mom's who have been put on bed rest.  And, forgive the pun, but this book, economist Oster's first, really delivers.

When Oster first discovered she was pregnant, she set out to learn the facts about what she should and should not do,  What she fast discovered (and what you might have learned already, as I did) is that many "rules" are arbitrary (like the idea of bedrest), and not backed up by real science and actual research.  _Expecting Better_tackles a lot of what's regarded as "the usual" advice to follow when you're pregnant (avoid caffeine, don't eat sushi, NO drinking and hair dying, etc.) and debunks most of it.  The full title of the book is _Expecting Better: Why the conventional pregnant wisdom is wrong-and what you really need to know_.  This is one book that actually gives you what is promises: exactly what you do need to know if you are pregnant.


Being pregnant is HARD.  And one of the least discussed reasons that it's hard is that hard and fast rules aren't really rules at all.  So, what do you do?  Who do you listen to?  What advice can you follow?  Oster makes this piece of pregnancy, at least, easy.  She tackles every issue that you could possibly come up against (and a few that I hadn't even heard of!), chapter by chapter starting with "conception" and ending with "labor and delivery".  Honestly, you don't even need to read every single word.  Just skip to her neat, 3-4 bulleted point summary at the end of each section which gives you "The Bottom Line." Easy, easy!

Emily Oster is an engaging writer who tackles complex subjects in a manageable, approachable way.  She's a trained economist who teaches at The University of Chicago but even that background doesn't get in her way of authoring an honest, easy to understand book that every pregnant woman can relate to and SHOULD read. 

Outside The Mom Box rating:  5 stars out of 5