• Expecting Better

  • Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong - and What You Really Need to Know
  • By: Emily Oster
  • Narrated by: Emily Oster, Jonathan Todd Ross
  • Length: 9 hrs and 32 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (546 ratings)
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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

Critic Reviews

"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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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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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!

3 people found this helpful

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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!

3 people found this helpful

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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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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.

2 people found this helpful

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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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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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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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Really Helpful and Worth listening!

I found this audiobook to be super helpful as I think about and try to conceive. Other books have given me anxiety while this one relieved it in many ways, simply by virtue of hearing the facts of randomized control trials. Re: Oster’s voice, sure, doesn’t sound like a yoga instructor or jazz singer, but she’s 1000x better than the robotic readings of several books I’ve tried to listen to lately. She sounds like a normal human reading a book and has much better intonation and interest while reading than so many other non-fiction books I’ve listened to. I enjoyed this and will likely buy the physical book as well to use as a reference!

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Fabulous digestible data analysis

As a scientist, researcher, and extremely fatigued woman in my 1st trimester, I found this extremely helpful. The author has a remarkable ability to evaluate the reliability of scientific studies without bias, while still somehow maintaining a charismatic tone and sense of humor.

I also actually loved how the author narrated her own book, and disagree with complaints from other audible listeners (and I am SUPER picky about narrators). If you enjoy podcasts, you'll probably enjoy listening to Oster as well. I'm currently listening to her next book, Crib Sheet, which is narrated by someone else (I guess Oster took those negative comments to heart). This professional narrator does a fine job and sounds more like a typical quality audio book narrator, but I think her softer voice detracts somewhat from the humor found between the lines in Oster's writing style which made the data-heavy text much easier to digest and hold my [pregnancy fogged] attention.

Even if your particular questions aren't addressed in this book (e.g., studies on the safety of a particular medication in pregnancy), you can use Oster's same methods to help you understand the quality of studies that you find in your own research. For anyone without a science background, this is invaluable; for those of us with experience in peer reviewed research, her reminders are still very helpful in maintaining perspective during such a mentally overwhelming time.