If you’ve ever been pregnant, or been close to someone who is pregnant, you know how many prohibitions there are. You can’t smoke or drink. Shellfish are to be avoided. In my house, conveniently (for the pregnant woman), scooping the cat litter was absolutely out of the question. Of course, there are also a large number of things you have to do when you are pregnant or are thinking of getting pregnant, like take folic acid.
Is there any evidence to support all these pregnancy rules? My good friend and colleague Emily Oster (whose research has been featured in SuperFreakonomics and many times on the blog), has just written the definitive book on the subject, entitled Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong-and What You Really Need to Know. She has generously agreed to answer blog reader questions, so fire away in the comments section below and, as always, we’ll post her answers in good time!
Here’s the Table of Contents to get you started:
Part 1: In the Beginning: Conception
1. Prep Work
2. Data-Driven Conception
3. The Two-Week Wait
Part 2: The First Trimester
4. The Vices: Caffeine, Alcohol, and Tobacco
5. Miscarriage Fears
6. Beware of Deli Meats!
7. Nausea and My Mother-in-law
8. Prenatal Screening and Testing
9. The Surprising Perils of Gardening
Part 3: The Second Trimester
10. Eating for Two? You Wish
11. Pink and Blue
12. Working Out and Resting Up
13. Drug Safety
Part 4: The Third Trimester
14. Premature Birth (and the Dangers of Bed Rest)
15. High-Risk Pregnancy
16. I’m Going to Be Pregnant Forever, Right?
17. Labor Induction
Part 5: Labor and Delivery
18. The Labor Numbers
19. To Epidural or Not to Epidural?
20. Beyond Pain Relief
21. The Aftermath
22. Home Birth: Progressive or Regressive? And Who Cleans the Tub?
This post is no longer accepting comments. The answers to the Q&A can be found here.