Expecting Better at Ten

Emily Oster

46 min Read Emily Oster

Emily Oster

Expecting Better at Ten

With Amy Schumer and Dr. Sara Reardon

Emily Oster

46 min Read

I’m thrilled to share the audio from an event we held earlier this month to mark the 10-year anniversary of my first book, Expecting Better. It was hosted by the Vagina Whisperer herself, Sarah Reardon, and we were joined by a very special guest, the one and only Amy Schumer, who helped put the book on the map. We announced my new book, which is coming out next spring. It was an amazing evening, and I hope you’ll enjoy listening to it as much as we enjoyed hosting it. Here’s Sarah to start us off.

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Sarah Reardon:

Good evening, everyone. Thank you so much for joining us today. I am so excited to be joining you as the host for this event to celebrate Emily Oster in 10 years of her book Expecting Better. We are going to be talking tonight about how to move conversations and our culture forward when we talk about what to expect during pregnancy. To introduce myself, I’m Sarah Reardon, a pelvic floor physical therapist. I’m also known on Instagram as the Vagina Whisperer, where I created a space to have pelvic floor conversations, and I often do it in a vulva suit. So to get started, I also am curious as to how many of you all have read Expecting Better. I know a lot of folks here are pregnant and have a baby on the way.

Sarah Reardon:

So if you haven’t yet checked into the poll, please do so. So over 82% of y’all, so lots of you have read the book. I remember reading this book when I was pregnant with my son over eight years ago, and one of the biggest takeaways was I remember feeling very grateful. I felt like I had a guide during my pregnancy that made me feel less of a porcelain do and more of an empowered and informed mom to be. I am so grateful that Emily has put so much into this resource that I think has helped so many of us during that pregnancy period. We have thousands of people who registered and are here for this event tonight, and folks are still coming in.

Sarah Reardon:

So as we’re waiting for them to join us, I’d love to do another poll so we can get to know who is here in the community tonight. All of you here, I would love to know who is pregnant or trying to conceive, and I’ll wait a second for that to come on in. As we wait for those results, I am going to talk a little bit about what you can expect for tonight. Oh, look at that. Almost 50% of y’all are currently pregnant. I love this. So this is going to be such a special opportunity for us to get to chat with Emily about why she created this book so long ago and just learn more about her process in writing it. So tonight’s going to be really special for a number of reasons.

Sarah Reardon:

First, we’re going to get to hear from Emily about why this moment means a lot to her 10 years later of Expecting Better. Then Amy Schumer is going to join us to have a conversation with Emily to talk about pregnancy and why these conversations are so important, and you’re going to want to make sure you stay until the very end because Emily has a really big announcement that you’re not going to want to miss. So don’t tune off early, you’re going to want to stay till the very end to hear that. Finally, some of you in this community are going to get to ask your pregnancy questions live to Emily. So at the end of this, you’re going to get to ask your questions and you won’t want to miss that. Make sure to stick around to the end. Before I go any further, I think it’s time to bring on our guest of the evening, Emily Oster. Yay!

Emily Oster:

Sarah, it’s so nice to see you.

Sarah Reardon:

Hi, Emily. I am so grateful for you to be here. I also just want to say before we get started, I’m a little overwhelmed and a little nervous, but also just incredibly grateful to everybody for coming to this and for all the things that came before. I’m grateful to you guys for reading the book and for sharing the book and for telling me what you liked and telling me what you didn’t like, and all of those pieces, this community, this experience, it really changed my life. I feel like now I’m doing the thing I’m supposed to do and I don’t know. I’m just really grateful. So thank you. Thank you, and let’s talk about vaginas. Let’s do our favorite topic.

Emily Oster:

Our favorite topic. We love it. I’m sorry you’re not wearing the suit. Where’s the suit?

Sarah Reardon:

So, well, this night is about you. So let’s talk about Expecting Better and just take us back. What made you a decade ago decide to write this book?

Emily Oster:

So I’ll tell you the short answer that I often give people, which is true, which is I got pregnant and I had the experience that I think it turns out many people had, which is I was given a set of instructions. I was given a little piece of paper, list of rules. I was given a lot of one-size-fits-all advice and it wasn’t working for me, and my training is as an economist is in data. I started using that data in the service of my own pregnancy and spending a lot of time in the medical literature trying to figure out the answers to these questions. So that’s really an answer to why I did the research that informed the book.

Emily Oster:

It’s actually not totally an answer to why I wrote the book because there was a long way between messing around with spreadsheets on your computer and actually writing a book. In some ways, the answer to why I turned this into a book is just that I felt like I had to. It’s like it had to come out like when you’re motion sick or something. I felt that so frustrated and overwhelmed by this, it was just like, “I have to put this out because it can’t be that I’m the only one like this. I can’t be the only person who doesn’t think this is the way this should go.” The book flowed really from that feeling of, “I have to do it.” Yeah. So that’s the answer. That’s why I did it, motion sickness, a form of motion sickness.

Sarah Reardon:

Well, we are grateful for it, ’cause as you can see. Tens and thousands and so many other expecting moms have read this. I think that the fact that 10 years later this book is still so relevant and so popular just says so much about how much we need this information and we continue to need it, that you’re still moving the needle forward with the information that you’re providing. So I know that we are just as grateful for you and having taken the time to do that and help so many other moms along the way. So too, again, 80% of the folks who are here tonight have read this book. What do you want to say to them or anyone who’s here or who’s read the book or shared the book, is there anything that you would want to say to them?

Emily Oster:

I think that sometimes when I talk about this book with people, I want them to understand that I think of it as a tool. So there is a lot in the book about, “Here is the evidence on this, here are the facts, here is the data, and you should be using this. You can use this to make some decisions about your own pregnancy,” which is different from, “This is how you should do it.” So there’s a moment sometimes when I talk to people and they say, “Well, what did you do for that? Did you eat sushi when you were pregnant?” I’m happy to tell you that I ate sushi when I’m pregnant. I’ll tell people anything. I’m talking about vaginas all the time. I’m an open book, but actually, it shouldn’t matter if I ate sushi during pregnancy.

Emily Oster:

What I’m trying to do with the book is say, “Here is the evidence, here is why you might want to think about avoiding it. Here’s why you’re told to avoid it. Here’s what the data says about that,” and then you make the choice for yourself. That’s a really important distinction that goes across Expecting Better, and everything else that I do is this idea that we should be empowered to make the choices for ourself. That was the frustrating piece for me, and maybe that’s a way to say it. I was frustrated by not being able to make the choice, not that I was frustrated because I couldn’t eat sushi. That distinction’s pretty important, and that’s what I’m trying to help people with in the book more than giving them permission for their deli sandwiches or tuna subs or whatever. That was it for me, tuna sub.

Sarah Reardon:

Yeah. Well, it’s coffee for me, so I thank you.

Emily Oster:

I also like coffee.

Sarah Reardon:

I think a lot of us say thank you for that. We can have coffee still. I think that that’s the thing, is that I think what you’re really doing is you’re giving us options. It’s not this one way to do things. It’s giving us all of the information and helping us feel, I think the word that sticks out is really empowered during this process. So I think more than anything, that’s something that we often feel like we are a passenger in the process versus the driver. I think that this book has really allowed us to feel like we are leading our own way. So did you ever think that when you wrote this 10 years ago, that 10 years later this book would still resonate with so many people?

Emily Oster:

I had no expectations. I had never done this before, and so I didn’t know what would happen. But I think one of the things that is true, and this gets at what you were saying is, the experience of being pregnant is very consistent, is very shared. It is a very shared and hard to explain experience of what it is like to make another person. Some of it is a feeling of being lost a little bit, and some of it is a feeling of being scared, but it’s shared. I think in some way, that’s why maybe why some of the book has resonated, just that this is an experience that’s something we all… I don’t know, everybody’s pregnancy is different, but the broad experience of being pregnant, I think, I don’t know, has a lot of similarities.

Sarah Reardon:

Well, and you’re helping us feel less scared, which is pretty powerful during that experience.

Emily Oster:

Yeah, I think anxiety for me, so much of what I write comes out of my own anxiety. So there was this moment at some point where, I was talking to someone. My husband was there, and she was like, “You must be the most relaxed pregnant person,” and my husband just lost it. He was just like, “Are you kidding? This is the least relaxed. This person’s so not relaxed, she wrote an entire book about how to try to relax more. This could not be less relaxed.” So I’m not relaxed, but I’m trying to help you relax.

Sarah Reardon:

I know. Well, and we’re all trying to be a little bit more relaxed, and it does help. I think that these resources really do help. Again, it wasn’t so much a prescription of, “Hey, this is what you should do.” It was, “Hey, these are your options and do what works for you.”

Emily Oster:

Yeah. I also think there’s a piece of this which is about empowering people to have conversations, particularly when we talk about some of these harder and even more medical parts of pregnancy. I’m not a doctor, we all know that. Some of these conversations do really end up have to be with your provider. They can’t just be something you decide on your own. But coming into that conversation prepared to have it prepared, to think about what are the things that you want or what are the things you’re worried about, giving people the language to have that has seemed, to me, to be an important part of what this delivers for at least some patients, because those visits can be scary and feel like there’s so much information and you don’t know what it is and you’re not ready to hear it.

Sarah Reardon:

Yeah. I also think that it’s helped. I’ve been on both sides as a medical provider and as a patient, but you’re pushing medical providers to step up their game a little bit.

Emily Oster:

I went to talk to some doctors, and one of them started their question with, “You must be the worst patient.” It was a nice question, but it started to get… Like, “Yeah, that sounds right.

Sarah Reardon:

I know.

Emily Oster:

… I wouldn’t want to treat me.”

Sarah Reardon:

“Let me come up with my list of questions as I [inaudible]

Emily Oster:

“I’ve brought some up-to-date materials for you to review with me. Thank you.”

Sarah Reardon:

Well, so let’s talk a little bit more about one of yours and my favorite topics, which is vagina. So this is just opening up to it, ’cause I think what your book did and continues to do is it really does help us have conversations. But one of the reasons I think about a lot, and as you and I have worked together over some time is like, why don’t people talk about, I would say, vaginas more? Why don’t we talk about some of these things that people experience more often, and how do we bring these conversations up more often? Is that, do we need more research? Do we need more books mean What is it that really helps continue to elevate this conversation and push it forward?

Emily Oster:

Yeah, I think the biggest thing for me is just people being willing to share their experiences and to not always make it so serious. I think in some sense, what I love most about what you do in the public is, and I joked, I wish you were wearing the vulva suit, but it adds an amount of levity to have something where it’s like, “Hey, we can talk about what’s the right way to pee,” or, “What’s the right way to give birth?” We can do it without saying, “Let me draw you a diagram, and this is something to be ashamed about, or this is something to only talk about with your doctor,” that we can have these conversations and make them fun. That takes away some of the stigma and some of the fear. But I also think people are so uncomfortable about… there’s so much shame. People don’t want to say, “I pee on myself when I run.” They just don’t want to say that. Even though it happens to so many people, they just like, you don’t want to say that out loud ’cause it’s like, “Who pees on themselves?” Almost everybody.

Sarah Reardon:

A lot of people.

Emily Oster:

A lot of people. A lot of people do that.

Sarah Reardon:

Yeah. Yeah.

Emily Oster:

Yeah.

Sarah Reardon:

So I think that you’re totally right, and I want to continue to have more of these conversations with you, but we have a very special guest here who is going to jump in and ask you more questions. So let’s bring Amy Schumer on stage.

Amy Schumer:

Hi, how are you?

Emily Oster:

Hi, Amy, how are you?

Amy Schumer:

Good. Hi, Sarah.

Sarah Reardon:

Hey, Amy.

Amy Schumer:

Dr. Sarah.

Sarah Reardon:

Sarah’s good.

Amy Schumer:

Thank you so much. You win for the most minimalist background.

Emily Oster:

Sarah, no, she’s got a plant. Look at the plant we put there.

Amy Schumer:

Look at that plant thriving like all of us. It’s like your plant is one upping her plant.

Sarah Reardon:

[inaudible] light switch, so yeah.

Amy Schumer:

I’m so honored to have the opportunity to be on here with both of you. Thank you for having me. I came into Emily’s work as an expectant mother, and it was just, to me, it was like the holy grail. It was like this economist has the facts, the real studies. It was just what you were… just that somebody would sift through all of those stormy waters for you and be real. It was just such a gift, and I pass that gift on to every mother I can. I say, “I read one book, and I still…” Yes, and then I read Cribsheet, of course.

Emily Oster:

So I have to say, the reason I asked Amy, the reason I asked you to be on here is, of course, you’re a mom and you talk about your vagina a lot, and that’s so great and you’re funny. So those are some things I like. But also, you played actually a pretty big role in getting Expecting Better into the hands of a lot of people because when you were pregnant with Gene, you posted on Instagram, and I remember this moment of scrolling through my Instagram in the car with my kids. I was like, “Oh, that’s so nice. Someone posted the book.” Then I was like, “Oh, it’s Amy Schumer,” and people were like, “Amy Schumer! Oh, my God!” It was great. Actually we can see there’s in the data on who bought the book, there’s what we call the Amy Schumer bump. It’s-

Amy Schumer:

Come on.

Emily Oster:

Yeah, no, that’s what we call it. It’s the Amy Schumer bump.

Amy Schumer:

That’s cool.

Emily Oster:

So it’s [inaudible]

Amy Schumer:

Well, then I guess I returned the favor of you single-handedly getting me through my pregnancy.

Emily Oster:

We’re going to kick Sarah off for a little bit.

Sarah Reardon:

I was going to say [inaudible]

Amy Schumer:

Get out of here.

Sarah Reardon:

Keep chatting, and I will jump back in later, but have fun.

Amy Schumer:

Okay.

Emily Oster:

Take your plant with you.

Amy Schumer:

Yeah. What if the plant gets significantly bigger throughout the night?

Emily Oster:

That would be amazing if you would have came back… Okay.

Amy Schumer:

So yeah, I was trying to remember at what moment I… But you did just say, I was listening to you two, and you said that most people’s pregnancies go through the same stuff. I was like, “Girl.”

Emily Oster:

Yours is not, okay.

Amy Schumer:

Yeah, I know. As you know, I had hyperemesis gravidarum, which is extreme nausea and vomiting. So just anyone listening who has extreme nausea and vomiting and it’s not getting better in the second trimester, you might have that, and don’t be afraid of edible marijuana. So now what I want to ask you is, why do you think talking openly about people’s pregnancy and their choices is so important?

Emily Oster:

I think that a big part of this is not feeling alone. And so even the thing you just said about hyperemesis, there are a lot of people who have that. When I’ve talked to people with that experience, they will say things like, “I had this condition,” and hyperemesis, I don’t have to tell you this, but forever, it’s really debilitating. It can be extremely medically dangerous, and it is a place where often people’s friends will be like, “Why don’t you have some saltines?” So somebody at some point told me, “My friend was like, ‘Did you try saltines and ginger ale?'” She was like, “I got that text while I was getting IV fluids in the hospital.”

Amy Schumer:

Right.

Emily Oster:

So I think there’s an aloneness of even when the pregnancy is going well, there’s an aloneness, and when things are complicated, there’s even more. So I think the more we can surface the good parts, but also the not good parts and normalize that, the better it is for people being able to figure out when they need help, understanding that that’s not a thing you treat with-

Amy Schumer:

I know, but as you know, there’s-

Emily Oster:

… saltines.

Amy Schumer:

… the medical studies on pregnant women all right not-

Emily Oster:

They’re so bad.

Amy Schumer:

Yeah.

Emily Oster:

Yeah.

Amy Schumer:

But really, I just want to take the opportunity to, again, thank you, because there’s feeling alone and then there’s pregnancy feeling alone, and you just have these expectations from everyone to just be this holy temple. People really forget about taking care of the vessel that the baby is coming in, as you know. Your work really reminds us that we’re also human beings who need to be taken care of and within reason. I remember texting you at all hours just being like, “Can I have sushi?” “You’re like, “Here are the stats,” and I’m like, “Okay. Okay. Sorry.” So how do you think society’s views on pregnancies have changed since you wrote the book?

Emily Oster:

I do think we’ve gotten a little bit better about talking particularly about postpartum stuff. So I think there’s been some more acknowledgement of both physical and especially emotional postpartum issues. Not that we’ve fixed them, but I think there’s been some movement there in the last decade, which is good. It’s different from having a lot of good research that fixes it, but talking about it, hey, that’s a first step.

Amy Schumer:

We’ll take it. Well, it’s a slow climb, isn’t it?

Emily Oster:

We’re going up.

Amy Schumer:

We really have to take our own space, don’t we?

Emily Oster:

We do have over-the-counter birth control.

Amy Schumer:

That’s cool.

Emily Oster:

That was a big win.

Amy Schumer:

That’s big news today.

Emily Oster:

Yeah.

Amy Schumer:

Opill.

Emily Oster:

That’s like a big win.

Amy Schumer:

Yes. It’ll be out by the new year and over-the-counter right next to the condoms. It’s almost like people are acknowledging that there are two sexual partners that make a baby.

Emily Oster:

It’s almost like that.

Amy Schumer:

Where do you think we need to go next in terms of research focused on pregnancy?

Emily Oster:

One pretty basic issue is that there’s not a lot of funding for research on pregnancy and postpartum, and it’s not clear who should fund that. I think we’ve talked about this before, but when you make Viagra, it’s like you can see who funds that. The pharmaceutical companies who want to sell a lot of medications to people who want their penis to work, that’s a very easy… that’s a good sell. It’s a good sell.

Amy Schumer:

It’s tough to beat that marketing.

Emily Oster:

It’s tough to beat that marketing. Agreed. But I do feel like there’s just almost nothing about some of the more… really, almost of the most basic questions in pregnancy and postpartum. Those are places where I think we could do more. I’m not always sure exactly how. Then there’s more basic questions like, we exclude pregnant women from all of our trials. So questions like are SSRIs safe during pregnancy, and how should I evaluate that? We don’t really have good enough data on that, and some of it’s for ethical reasons, but I think you make the other ethical argument. It’s not ethical to not know the answer to this question.

Amy Schumer:

Agreed. I was on Lexapro throughout my whole pregnancy, and that was psychopharmacology… As someone a privilege, I had the means and the resources to get some answers, and that’s so rare.

Emily Oster:

I think we also… the messaging we give people has so much almost shame in it.

Amy Schumer:

Oh, yeah.

Emily Oster:

You tell people, “Well, you can do this if you have to, if you feel like you need it.” It’s like, “Well, I do need it.”

Amy Schumer:

Yeah.

Emily Oster:

“Yes, I do feel like that.”

Amy Schumer:

Right.

Emily Oster:

But that messaging is just being like, “Well, if you’re a bad parent who doesn’t love your baby, just do this selfish thing for your own to not be depressed.” Just [inaudible]

Amy Schumer:

Yeah, that narrative is so tired and harmful and you just spelling it out and giving the actual facts and the strength of the studies, I just am so grateful for you.

Emily Oster:

So do you like graphs, generally>

Amy Schumer:

Graphs?

Emily Oster:

Do you find the graphs, like the data? I’m just curious.

Amy Schumer:

No. No.

Emily Oster:

No?

Amy Schumer:

My brain shuts right on down, which is why I am sure I’ve frantically texted you late night with some information that you probably have spelled out there, but I just couldn’t… Yeah. If you wake up and you’re like, “I just had the best dream,” is it just a series of graphs?

Emily Oster:

They’re just really well-designed graphs with a great color scheme?

Amy Schumer:

Yeah. You’re like, “Oh, God, I have to tell you about my dream.”

Emily Oster:

Fortunately, my husband’s also an economist, so he’s like, “Oh, yeah, I’m also good with those pie charts.”

Amy Schumer:

Yeah, you too. Your dates, you’re just like… I mean dates. What am I talking about? I guess some people go out with their husband.

Emily Oster:

No, my kids are old. We go out on dates, and we do talk almost exclusively about econometric methodology.

Amy Schumer:

I’m so happy for both of you.

Emily Oster:

Thank you. Thank you.

Amy Schumer:

Yeah. I would love to be a fly on the wall for some of your conversations when one of you gets something wrong. Now I’m really excited to cue you up for a little bit of an announcement that you’re going to make tonight. Can I guess what it is?

Emily Oster:

Yeah, why don’t you give [inaudible]

Amy Schumer:

You’re pregnant.

Emily Oster:

No, it’s-

Amy Schumer:

Okay. Well, then you say what the announcement is.

Emily Oster:

It’s not that. That would be the store is closed, it’s closed.

Amy Schumer:

Am I pregnant? I don’t have a uterus anymore, so-

Emily Oster:

Probably not.

Amy Schumer:

… you’re going to have to take the news.

Emily Oster:

I’m going to do okay. The news is that I am publishing another book. My fourth book is coming out in the spring. It is called The Unexpected, and it is about navigating pregnancy after complications. My first three books were basically motivated by my own experience, and this is motivated by the people who I’ve talked to over the past decade. It is trying to answer this question that people come to me with, which is, “I had this complication, something happened in my first pregnancy. How do I navigate the next one? What does the data say about recurrence? What are the treatments I need, and how do I navigate a conversation with my provider?” I actually wrote it together with a maternal fetal medicine specialist named Nate Fox at Mount Sinai. It’s just a labor of love between the two of us about trying to make this experience that a lot of people have better and more productive. I think one of [inaudible]

Amy Schumer:

This is incredible news. Please continue. Sorry, thank you for writing this book. Everybody right now I’m sure is thinking about all of the women in their lives who need this book, who have needed this book, and the future generations who will have this book as a resource. So please continue, but this is [inaudible] news.

Emily Oster:

Usually when you write a book, you’re like, “I hope everyone reads this.” I’m like, “I hope no one reads this. I hope you are not reading this book, but I hope that everybody reads it so they can see what the experience other people are having or that they have it. If you need this, I want you to have it.” Actually, some of our conversations about your hyperemesis were a part of this for me, thinking about, I don’t know, what would’ve been helpful? What would you want to know in thinking about, “Do I want to do this again? Is there anything I can do that’s better? How would I want to make that decision?” We talk about complications that range from hyperemesis, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, miscarriage, stillbirth. We’re trying to talk about just all of this stuff and what’s the help people need and what does the data say?

Amy Schumer:

That is so noble, so dope of you, I don’t really have the words, but just with how we were talking about how alone people can feel and not understanding. So you might hear that your friend just went through that, had one of those conditions and you don’t really know, and they don’t want to burden you. Hyperemesis, I didn’t really try to convey to everyone in the moment what it was like, but then we were already shooting this documentary and it was like, “Well, I’m going to show you.” So I’m sure that this book will help so many people, and everybody will just have it in their library and right away, just to have a resource to give your friends with all these questions. That’s amazing. Can you tell us a little bit more about the book, and about how you’ve been writing it?

Emily Oster:

Yeah. So it’s interesting because I like to write alone ’cause I’m a control freak. So writing with someone else has been amazing because Nate is awesome. But also it’s really quite interesting to see someone else’s perspective and think about how you move these things, fit these things together. Particularly, when we talk about these complicated pregnancy issues, there isn’t an answer. A lot of times with the data, when I talked about first pregnancies, you’d be like, “Here’s the data. Here’s the probability you’ll get listeria from turkey. It’s almost zero.” But this is like, “You had preeclampsia. What is going to happen in the next pregnancy depends a lot on how serious it was, exactly what the conditions were.”

Emily Oster:

So we’re trying to give people the language to process what happened, to think about it and to engage with their doctor and think about what’s next, rather than saying, “Okay, this is exactly what’s going to happen,” or, “This is the exact data.” I think that language piece and navigation piece and just recognizing also the emotional cost that this takes, and particularly after pregnancy, after any of these things, but after pregnancy loss came up the most, like, how do you know if you’re ready to move forward? How would you think about that? I think that’s just, I don’t know, that’s what we’re trying to… and then we talk about some of the post-birth stuff, vaginal tearing. I don’t know.

Amy Schumer:

The fun stuff.

Emily Oster:

The fun stuff.

Amy Schumer:

You covered all the fun stuff.

Emily Oster:

Long before I got pregnant, the first friends that we had had a kid. When I went over to their house four weeks after the baby was born. I rang the doorbell and she opened the door, I said, “How are things going?” She was like, “I have a tear from my vagina all the way to my anus,” a first thing she said. I was just like-

Amy Schumer:

Oh, what else are you supposed to say?

Emily Oster:

I was like, “Oh, I brought a baguette.” It’s like-

Amy Schumer:

“Bone broth?” Yeah.

Emily Oster:

What are you going to say? But I think it was the recognition of that and seeing like, “Okay, that’s the thing that happens. How do you think about another pregnancy after that? How do you navigate those kinds of serious complications is…” Anyway, I’m very excited.

Amy Schumer:

Well, I want to ask you, I have a friend who’s my age, she’s 42, and her daughter has spina bifida. But there are studies like that that is… Do you know? Am I wrong? So it’s like if you could be armed with information, you’re making it really accessible and easy for people. I’m so grateful, and I think I texted you because I love how much you’ve become a household name. Yeah, people will just name-drop you, and I’m like, yeah, this is amazing because… Oh, I want to promote Every Mother Counts.

Emily Oster:

Nice. Please do.

Amy Schumer:

Which, yeah, really great charity. I had a good experience having a doula, even though I wound up having a C-section.

Emily Oster:

I loved having a doula. So you found the doula helpful even with the C-section?

Amy Schumer:

Yeah. Yeah, because it’s like you can’t be in the OR, sadly, you’re with us in our brains, but you aren’t there to ask questions in the heat of the moment and-

Emily Oster:

They don’t want me in the OR. I’m not-

Amy Schumer:

Yeah. No, no, we’re good.

Emily Oster:

… welcome there. No.

Amy Schumer:

How can people get a copy of this book? When is it coming out?

Emily Oster:

It’s coming out April 30, 2024. We will send out a pre-order link to people who are signed up for this. I’m sure that in the newsletter it will be around. So you have a little-

Amy Schumer:

Can I get one for free?

Emily Oster:

Yes, you can get one for free. We’ll send you a free one. Yeah.

Amy Schumer:

Thank you.

Emily Oster:

We’ll send it to you early if you want. You can get-

Amy Schumer:

Yeah, you know I do. Yeah. I just have so many friends who have been through so many of the conditions and almost all my friends have had pregnancy loss, and all of them felt alone. I think statistics are so helpful in these moments because it doesn’t matter how much everybody’s telling you… trying to comfort you, it’s numbers. Emily’s got the numbers, y’all.

Emily Oster:

Numbers are relaxing.

Amy Schumer:

Come here for the numbers. Come here for the charts. Yeah.

Emily Oster:

Thank you, Amy.

Amy Schumer:

Well, I’m just so grateful to get to talk to you and for you to be getting my back all these years. I’ve got yours, and oh, here comes… Oh, Sarah’s rocking the new merch.

Emily Oster:

We got to put Sarah on.

Amy Schumer:

Get her on.

Emily Oster:

There we go. We got some Expecting Better merch. I like the shirt, Sarah.

Sarah Reardon:

Thanks, y’all.

Amy Schumer:

I am so grateful to you-

Emily Oster:

We’re going to get you that too, Amy. I’m going to send you the book and I’m going to send you a nice sweatshirt with this.

Amy Schumer:

I want all of the merch. I want a full warmup outfit.

Emily Oster:

Full jogging suit.

Amy Schumer:

Yes, and you actually empowered me to help curate a bunch of essays called Arrival Stories, where we-

Emily Oster:

Which I have. Where do I have it? Oh, wait, I have it here.

Amy Schumer:

Oh, my gosh, you do not. Really?

Emily Oster:

I do. I have it right here.

Amy Schumer:

That’s awesome. Yeah, you definitely [inaudible] empowered me to do that, just women sharing their stories and finding out especially about women of colors’ really unnecessary, preventable maternal death. Thank you so much-

Emily Oster:

Thank you, Amy. Thank you for being here.

Amy Schumer:

… and I’m so excited. I can’t wait.

Emily Oster:

All right. We’re going to get you a book. We’re going to you get a sweatshirt. Thank you for being here.

Amy Schumer:

Thank you so much.

Emily Oster:

All right.

Sarah Reardon:

Thank you.

Emily Oster:

Bye.

Sarah Reardon:

So I feel I want to talk about this merch, but I also want to talk about-

Emily Oster:

You want to talk about your shirt.

Sarah Reardon:

I also want to talk about how exciting this new book is. I feel like we are all here to celebrate 10 years of an amazing book that you have that is still so helpful to so many. But then also this new book, even just hearing y’all talk about it, these are stories that I hear day in and day out. I think the fact that you have written a book about this gives so many people just the awareness that they are not alone. You just writing about this helps people know that they are seen. I think that that’s just what a lot of people want and then giving them the resources to make decisions, so I’m super excited.

Emily Oster:

Yeah, I’m excited too. When we started this project, I went out to people and I said, “Can you tell us about your pregnancy, your experience of having complicated pregnancy?” We used some of those quotes, small number of those quotes in the book, but just the number of things that came back and the feeling of people feeling alone, feeling unable to navigate, struggling with what to do with a second, with deciding about having a second pregnancy or having one. It’s just like there is so much, I think, so much need for these honest and open conversations that we are just not having. We’re just not having enough, so I’m hoping we’ll have them more now. I’m hoping this will make people have them more with this platform.

Sarah Reardon:

It is. I can assure you that it will be such an amazing resource. I can think of patients who come in every day and it’s they hit a prolapse, they hit a tear, they had a traumatic birth. It is unfortunate. It’s more people than we’d like it to be, but I think that this is… people want to stop having babies because it’s traumatic. So I think that this is a huge resource that is going to help so many people.

Emily Oster:

This is a little bit tangential, but I hope this is something some doctors will read because we do have a bunch of stuff from women in there. I think, of course, not always, but there are times in which people feel like they aren’t really… their experiences aren’t being listened to or they’re not quite able to engage with the decision-making in the way that they would like. I hope this we can bring people together a little bit between the experiences people are having and the data. That’s the goal.

Sarah Reardon:

I’m excited to read it, so sign me up for a copy as well.

Emily Oster:

I will also, yes, and you already have some of the merch. We sent you more merch. We’ll send you a copy of the book. It’s great.

Sarah Reardon:

I love merch, clearly. So if everybody else also loves merch, I will let y’all know who are here that there is a link below if you want to get some Expecting Better goodies. We have stuff for kiddos and babies and mamas and everywhere in between. Then you’ll also be getting an email tomorrow in your inbox with the link to order as well. So super excited to rep you tonight, Emily.

Emily Oster:

Thank you, Sarah.

Sarah Reardon:

But let’s go on into our next section, which is super exciting because we’ve got some folks here who want to chat with you live, and they want to ask you some questions about their pregnancy. It’s a really awesome opportunity that they get to chat with you. So let’s go right into that. So first we have a question from Zena in California, so we’ll wait for Zena to jump on in. There we are. Hey, Zena.

Emily Oster:

Hi, Zena.

Zena:

Hi. How’s it going?

Emily Oster:

It looks so nice behind you. It looks like such a nice… I don’t know. Looks like it’s warm.

Zena:

It is warm. It’s actually in the 80s here, which is nice.

Sarah Reardon:

That’s why-

Emily Oster:

It’s 97 degrees in my office right now, and so I’m sweating. Anyway, I’m excited [inaudible]

Sarah Reardon:

You’re glowing, Emily, you’re glowing. Well, Zena, go ahead, and go ahead with your question for Emily.

Zena:

Yeah, thank you for everything, first of all. I’m an expecting parent, and so my question to you is, what is your number one piece of advice for new expecting parents?

Emily Oster:

Okay, so I think I have two things. So it’s not number one, it’s my top two. Okay. So the first is that there are some things that are important and many things that will occupy your brain that are not, and it is very hard with your first kid to not think about all of those things that are not important, but you should try. So trying when you’re obsessed about, “Should my kid wear mittens?” That was my thing, or, “Is it okay for the room to be 69 degrees because somebody told me it should be 68 degrees?” Just taking a deep breath and being like, “Is it possibly important that it be 68 degrees?” No. Okay, move on to the things that are important. I think that’s very easy with a second kid. With a first kid, it takes over.

Emily Oster:

The second thing is that if you have a partner, I would plan to check in about how things are going. At two weeks and at four weeks I would literally put on the calendar, “This is the 20-minute period when we’re going to talk about how things are going,” because it’s very easy to never take a step back and say, “Is there a problem we’re having that we could fix? Is there something that I’m really struggling with? Is one of us feeling depressed? Is there something going wrong that we need to fix?” Those things can get worse and worse and worse. If you have those moments pre-planned, sometimes that can help get over some of those humps. So those are the things I wish I had done.

Zena:

Well, thank you so much. I will definitely be scheduling Google Calendar advice with my husband [inaudible]

Emily Oster:

Yeah, just invite your partner to Google Calendar invite. That’s all you need to do. She was like, “Love it.” That’s how I told my husband I was expecting our second kid. I sent him a Google Calendar invite for the due date and he just accepted it and didn’t say anything. Then later I called him and I was like, “Did you get that?” He was like, “Oh, yeah. Was that what that was?”

Sarah Reardon:

That’s great. Thank you so much-

Emily Oster:

Congratulations, Zena.

Sarah Reardon:

Congratulations.

Zena:

Thank you. Thank you.

Sarah Reardon:

Emily, it’s such an important point before we go into the next question, is that I don’t think anybody told us that there will be shifts in dynamics in your relationship with your partner. It’s just focused on baby and mom and all the logistics. But I think that that was a really surprising piece, so that was great advice. I totally second that.

Emily Oster:

It’s hard, and we know in the data that people have a hard time… that having a baby is hard on your relationship. But yeah, it’s good to know it in advance.

Sarah Reardon:

Yeah, agreed.

Emily Oster:

Good to know in advance.

Sarah Reardon:

Agreed. Okay, so next we have Priscilla from New Jersey. So Priscilla welcome. Hi, Priscilla.

Emily Oster:

Hi.

Priscilla:

Hi, Sarah. Nice to meet you both.

Sarah Reardon:

Go for it, Priscilla.

Priscilla:

I don’t have a question about pregnancy. I have two kids already. I have a five-year-old daughter and an 18-month-old daughter. So my question is for after pregnancy, and it’s not about data, I’m just wondering, Emily, if you can share with us personal experience. I know you like running a lot, and so I’ve been trying to get back into a workout routine. So I’m wondering if you could share how did you get back into your workout routine? Was it different from your first pregnancy versus your second pregnancy or…

Emily Oster:

Yeah. So first of all, somebody’s going to be like, “How do you find time to run so much? How do you get back to that?” It’s like, my kids are big. I just go, I’m just like, “Watch TV. I’m leaving.” So I think it did take a very long time to get from where I was before into where I am now. I think when people asked me, there’s two pieces. One is figuring out, “Where can I be at this stage? What is realistic given the ages of my kids and the time that I have and the energy I have and the physical capacity I have for this?” That’s not going to be necessarily the same as it was before you had a kid, and it’s not necessarily the same as it is in a decade.

Emily Oster:

So just a little bit of grace or asking yourself, “What’s the purpose of this workout? What am I trying to get out of this?” The second piece of it is there’s a huge physical piece in this, and your kids are a little bit older. But for the people who are expecting, if you are hoping to get back to exercising in the period after you have a baby, please make an appointment with a pelvic floor therapist before you have your baby. Sarah, this is a place where, can you say a little bit more about what that is?

Sarah Reardon:

Yeah, it’s a great question. I think it’s one that a lot of us have. I think of it in two ways is that there’s a mental component and there’s a physical component. I think for probably Emily and people like myself, exercise is a stress relief. It’s a piece of me that helps me feel like me. I think after you have a baby that feels totally lost when you don’t have that. So that’s hard because you just want to get back, but your body’s still treading water, trying to keep its head above water, but then you’re like, “I can’t even swim yet.” So I think that a lot of it is just recognizing you’re in a different season. But as Emily said, and I echo this with older kids too, those seasons will come back. You will get pieces of yourself back as your kids get older, so patience and grace go a really long way. I think the other thing obviously is that there’s a very physical aspect to this.

Sarah Reardon:

Your body went through 10 months of pregnancy and during that pregnancy, your core, your pelvic floor, your pelvis, your stability all change, and then you go through birth, which as Emily mentioned, can end up for some folks with a Cesarean birth or a tear from your vagina to your anus. So I think we want to give our bodies time to do some real healing and checking in with a pelvic floor, physical therapist is a great first step at six weeks is what I recommend for folks immediately after birth, but it’s never too late. We see people months and years later, but you really want to think of it like building your foundation first. So before Emily went back to running, she could have maybe started some core work or some hip strengthening and things like that to get you prepared to do the things that you want to do. So it’s such trite advice, but I say take it slow. You will get those pieces of yourself back as your babies get older, but I think that there is a physical component that can definitely be addressed as well.

Priscilla:

Okay. Thank you both so much.

Sarah Reardon:

No, thank you all so much. Thank you, Priscilla. Wow, what a night, what great questions, what great conversation. Just thank you everyone for joining us. Thank you, Emily, for this exciting announcement and for putting out this amazing piece of work 10 years ago that is still so helpful and so relevant to so many people. It’s really exciting. I feel like my cheeks are hurting from smiling so much [inaudible]

Emily Oster:

Yeah, thank you again for doing this, Sarah. It’s very special for me to get to recognize this and be able to say thank you and to see everybody, not physically see them, but see you in… This is very nice. It’s so nice that I can’t formulate a sentence, but it’s just…

Sarah Reardon:

Oh. Well, that’s okay. You formulated a lot of sentences tonight.

Emily Oster:

I do. I’m so good in writing. In writing.

Sarah Reardon:

I know, but you’re also great on Instagram, so I know that every Wednesday you do Q&As on Instagram, and I love it. I tune in every week and I’m like, “What are people asking about?” I always am so amazed that you’re answering questions about everything from head lice to prolapse to prenatal vitamins. I’m like, “Wow, I know one thing really well.” I’m like, “Emily knows a lot of stuff.” But I know every Wednesday, so for folks of you who didn’t get your question answered tonight but want to ask Emily a question, if you jump onto her Instagram, which is @ProfEmilyOster, so @ProfEmilyOster on Instagram. She has a Q&A, a question box she posts where you can ask her questions and then she’ll pop on usually after one of her runs in the morning. She’ll answer your questions-

Emily Oster:

And a sweaty answer.

Sarah Reardon:

But I’m amazed. I’m like, “Here she is. She just did her run,” and so that’s motivating to me as well. So everybody, make sure that you tune in for that. Then I know that you’re on Instagram, Emily. I know that there’s so many people here who subscribe to your newsletter, but where else can people find you? I know so many of us want to stay tuned for more information about your new book. Where can we find you after this or get in touch with you?

Emily Oster:

I think the best place is ParentData, which is our newsletter and it’s now a website. My goal with ParentData is to take people who wrote Expecting Better and then say when you are pregnant, when you have a kid, there’s a lot of Googling. This book is pretty long, but I couldn’t get everything in. Through the work in ParentData, I’ve been writing this newsletter now for I guess three years, and there’s 503 posts and they answer a lot of questions that are more detailed than what we can talk about in the book. So my life goal is that when people are up at 3:00in the morning panicking, instead of asking Google and getting a lot of even more panicky results, they can go to parentdata.org and they can ask their question and they can get a non-panicky related answer from us. So that is the best place to find me, that and Instagram, and hopefully we can get everybody to be more relaxed and happier and confident in their parenting. Empowered.

Sarah Reardon:

Yes.

Emily Oster:

Empowered.

Sarah Reardon:

So ParentData, the website is parentdata.org, and they can go and sign up there. That’s what I thought. Okay. I know I get the emails every week and I love them. Again, I’m just always amazed at the breadth of things that are on there. I have to also say, we’ve talked about two of your books, but I can’t go without saying that your book, The Family Firm. I was so stressed about making a decision about my kiddo last year for where to send them to school. I read your book and I was like, “Neil, we’re doing this all wrong. Emily says we’ve got to talk about our family like we talk about a business. We need to have a business plan about how we make these decisions,” and it gave me a guide. So my kids are older, but I still feel like you are just helping so many of us navigate this wild journey, that it can feel alone and confusing and overwhelming, and you’re just, you’re giving us guidance. And I am grateful as I think so many of us are tonight.

Emily Oster:

Well, I’m grateful because it has been a crazy decade, and I can’t believe that this is my job. It’s just like, it’s wild, but it’s fun.

Sarah Reardon:

Well, keep doing it. Keep doing it.

Emily Oster:

Thank you, Sarah.

Sarah Reardon:

So I think that that’s all that we have for tonight. Is there anything more you want to say, Emily, before we wrap up?

Emily Oster:

No, just thank you, everybody, and I’ll see you on the internet.

Sarah Reardon:

Okay. Thank you everyone for the time that you have. Thank you all for coming. What an amazing evening. Congratulations, again, Emily.

Emily Oster:

Thanks for listening. If you like what you heard, subscribe to ParentData in your favorite podcast app, and rate and review the show in Apple Podcasts. You can subscribe to the whole newsletter for free at www.parentdata.org. Talk to you soon.

Pregnant woman reads her phone while sitting on a couch

4 min read

The Best of 2023

Here we go again … 2023 is coming to an end. It’s a quiet week over here, but we’ve got Read more

Emily Oster

Instagram

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Exciting news! We have new, high-quality data that says it’s safe to take Tylenol during pregnancy and there is no link between Tylenol exposure and neurodevelopmental issues in kids. Comment “Link” for a DM to an article exploring this groundbreaking study.

While doctors have long said Tylenol was safe, confusing studies, panic headlines, and even a lawsuit have continually stoked fears in parents. As a result, many pregnant women have chosen not to take it, even if it would help them.

This is why good data is so important! When we can trust the data, we can trust our choices. And this study shows there is no blame to be placed on pregnant women here. So if you have a migraine or fever, please take your Tylenol.

#tylenol #pregnancy #pregnancyhealth #pregnancytips #parentdata #emilyoster

Exciting news! We have new, high-quality data that says it’s safe to take Tylenol during pregnancy and there is no link between Tylenol exposure and neurodevelopmental issues in kids. Comment “Link” for a DM to an article exploring this groundbreaking study.

While doctors have long said Tylenol was safe, confusing studies, panic headlines, and even a lawsuit have continually stoked fears in parents. As a result, many pregnant women have chosen not to take it, even if it would help them.

This is why good data is so important! When we can trust the data, we can trust our choices. And this study shows there is no blame to be placed on pregnant women here. So if you have a migraine or fever, please take your Tylenol.

#tylenol #pregnancy #pregnancyhealth #pregnancytips #parentdata #emilyoster
...

How many words should kids say — and when? Comment “Link” for a DM to an article about language development!

For this graph, researchers used a standardized measure of vocabulary size. Parents were given a survey and checked off all the words and sentences they have heard their child say.

They found that the average child—the 50th percentile line—at 24 months has about 300 words. A child at the 10th percentile—near the bottom of the distribution—has only about 50 words. On the other end, a child at the 90th percentile has close to 600 words. One main takeaway from these graphs is the explosion of language after fourteen or sixteen months. 

What’s valuable about this data is it can give us something beyond a general guideline about when to consider early intervention, and also provide reassurance that there is a significant range in this distribution at all young ages. 

#cribsheet #emilyoster #parentdata #languagedevelopment #firstwords

How many words should kids say — and when? Comment “Link” for a DM to an article about language development!

For this graph, researchers used a standardized measure of vocabulary size. Parents were given a survey and checked off all the words and sentences they have heard their child say.

They found that the average child—the 50th percentile line—at 24 months has about 300 words. A child at the 10th percentile—near the bottom of the distribution—has only about 50 words. On the other end, a child at the 90th percentile has close to 600 words. One main takeaway from these graphs is the explosion of language after fourteen or sixteen months.

What’s valuable about this data is it can give us something beyond a general guideline about when to consider early intervention, and also provide reassurance that there is a significant range in this distribution at all young ages.

#cribsheet #emilyoster #parentdata #languagedevelopment #firstwords
...

I saw this and literally laughed out loud 😂 Thank you @adamgrant for sharing this gem! Someone let me know who originally created this masterpiece so I can give them the proper credit.

I saw this and literally laughed out loud 😂 Thank you @adamgrant for sharing this gem! Someone let me know who originally created this masterpiece so I can give them the proper credit. ...

Perimenopause comes with a whole host of symptoms, like brain fog, low sex drive, poor energy, and loss of muscle mass. These symptoms can be extremely bothersome and hard to treat. Could testosterone help? Comment “Link” for a DM to an article about the data on testosterone treatment for women in perimenopause.

#perimenopause #perimenopausehealth #womenshealth #hormoneimbalance #emilyoster #parentdata

Perimenopause comes with a whole host of symptoms, like brain fog, low sex drive, poor energy, and loss of muscle mass. These symptoms can be extremely bothersome and hard to treat. Could testosterone help? Comment “Link” for a DM to an article about the data on testosterone treatment for women in perimenopause.

#perimenopause #perimenopausehealth #womenshealth #hormoneimbalance #emilyoster #parentdata
...

What age is best to start swim lessons? Comment “Link” for a DM to an article about water safety for children 💦

Summer is quickly approaching! You might be wondering if it’s the right time to have your kid start swim lessons. The AAP recommends starting between 1 and 4 years old. This is largely based on a randomized trial where young children were put into 8 or 12 weeks of swim lessons. They found that swimming ability and water safety reactions improve in both groups, and more so in the 12 weeks group.

Below this age range though, they are too young to actually learn how to swim. It’s fine to bring your baby into the pool (if you’re holding them) and they might like the water. But starting formal safety-oriented swim lessons before this age isn’t likely to be very helpful.

Most importantly, no matter how old your kid is or how good of a swimmer they are, adult supervision is always necessary!

#swimlessons #watersafety #kidsswimminglessons #poolsafety #emilyoster #parentdata

What age is best to start swim lessons? Comment “Link” for a DM to an article about water safety for children 💦

Summer is quickly approaching! You might be wondering if it’s the right time to have your kid start swim lessons. The AAP recommends starting between 1 and 4 years old. This is largely based on a randomized trial where young children were put into 8 or 12 weeks of swim lessons. They found that swimming ability and water safety reactions improve in both groups, and more so in the 12 weeks group.

Below this age range though, they are too young to actually learn how to swim. It’s fine to bring your baby into the pool (if you’re holding them) and they might like the water. But starting formal safety-oriented swim lessons before this age isn’t likely to be very helpful.

Most importantly, no matter how old your kid is or how good of a swimmer they are, adult supervision is always necessary!

#swimlessons #watersafety #kidsswimminglessons #poolsafety #emilyoster #parentdata
...

Can babies have salt? 🧂 While babies don’t need extra salt beyond what’s in breast milk or formula, the risks of salt toxicity from normal foods are minimal. There are concerns about higher blood pressure in the long term due to a higher salt diet in the first year, but the data on these is not super compelling and the differences are small.

Like with most things, moderation is key! Avoid very salty chips or olives or saltines with your infant. But if you’re doing baby-led weaning, it’s okay for them to share your lightly salted meals. Your baby does not need their own, unsalted, chicken if you’re making yourself a roast. Just skip the super salty stuff.

 #emilyoster #parentdata #childnutrition #babynutrition #foodforkids

Can babies have salt? 🧂 While babies don’t need extra salt beyond what’s in breast milk or formula, the risks of salt toxicity from normal foods are minimal. There are concerns about higher blood pressure in the long term due to a higher salt diet in the first year, but the data on these is not super compelling and the differences are small.

Like with most things, moderation is key! Avoid very salty chips or olives or saltines with your infant. But if you’re doing baby-led weaning, it’s okay for them to share your lightly salted meals. Your baby does not need their own, unsalted, chicken if you’re making yourself a roast. Just skip the super salty stuff.

#emilyoster #parentdata #childnutrition #babynutrition #foodforkids
...

Is sleep training bad? Comment “Link” for a DM to an article breaking down the data on sleep training 😴

Among parenting topics, sleep training is one of the most divisive. Ultimately, it’s important to know that studies looking at the short- and long-term effects of sleep training show no evidence of harm. The data actually shows it can improve infant sleep and lower parental depression.

Even so, while sleep training can be a great option, it will not be for everyone. Just as people can feel judged for sleep training, they can feel judged for not doing it. Engaging in any parenting behavior because it’s what’s expected of you is not a good idea. You have to do what works best for your family! If that’s sleep training, make a plan and implement it. If not, that’s okay too.

What’s your experience with sleep training? Did you feel judged for your decision to do (or not do) it?

#sleeptraining #newparents #babysleep #emilyoster #parentdata

Is sleep training bad? Comment “Link” for a DM to an article breaking down the data on sleep training 😴

Among parenting topics, sleep training is one of the most divisive. Ultimately, it’s important to know that studies looking at the short- and long-term effects of sleep training show no evidence of harm. The data actually shows it can improve infant sleep and lower parental depression.

Even so, while sleep training can be a great option, it will not be for everyone. Just as people can feel judged for sleep training, they can feel judged for not doing it. Engaging in any parenting behavior because it’s what’s expected of you is not a good idea. You have to do what works best for your family! If that’s sleep training, make a plan and implement it. If not, that’s okay too.

What’s your experience with sleep training? Did you feel judged for your decision to do (or not do) it?

#sleeptraining #newparents #babysleep #emilyoster #parentdata
...

Does your kid love to stall right before bedtime? 💤 Tell me more about their tactics in the comments below!

#funnytweets #bedtime #nightimeroutine #parentinghumor #parentingmemes

Does your kid love to stall right before bedtime? 💤 Tell me more about their tactics in the comments below!

#funnytweets #bedtime #nightimeroutine #parentinghumor #parentingmemes
...

Got a big decision to make? 🤔 Comment “Link” for a DM to read about my easy mantra for making hard choices. 

When we face a complicated problem in pregnancy or parenting, and don’t like either option A or B, we often wait around for a secret third option to reveal itself. This magical thinking, as appealing as it is, gets in the way. We need a way to remind ourselves that we need to make an active choice, even if it is hard. The mantra I use for this: “There is no secret option C.”

Having this realization, accepting it, reminding ourselves of it, can help us make the hard decisions and accurately weigh the risks and benefits of our choices.

#parentingquotes #decisionmaking #nosecretoptionc #parentingadvice #emilyoster #parentdata

Got a big decision to make? 🤔 Comment “Link” for a DM to read about my easy mantra for making hard choices.

When we face a complicated problem in pregnancy or parenting, and don’t like either option A or B, we often wait around for a secret third option to reveal itself. This magical thinking, as appealing as it is, gets in the way. We need a way to remind ourselves that we need to make an active choice, even if it is hard. The mantra I use for this: “There is no secret option C.”

Having this realization, accepting it, reminding ourselves of it, can help us make the hard decisions and accurately weigh the risks and benefits of our choices.

#parentingquotes #decisionmaking #nosecretoptionc #parentingadvice #emilyoster #parentdata
...

Excuse the language, but I have such strong feelings about this subject! Sometimes, it feels like there’s no winning as a mother. People pressure you to breastfeed and, in the same breath, shame you for doing it in public. Which is it?!

So yes, they’re being completely unreasonable. You should be able to feed your baby in peace. What are some responses you can give to someone who tells you to cover up? Share in the comments below ⬇️

#breastfeeding #breastfeedinginpublic #breastfeedingmom #motherhood #emilyoster

Excuse the language, but I have such strong feelings about this subject! Sometimes, it feels like there’s no winning as a mother. People pressure you to breastfeed and, in the same breath, shame you for doing it in public. Which is it?!

So yes, they’re being completely unreasonable. You should be able to feed your baby in peace. What are some responses you can give to someone who tells you to cover up? Share in the comments below ⬇️

#breastfeeding #breastfeedinginpublic #breastfeedingmom #motherhood #emilyoster
...

Potty training can feel like a Mount Everest-size challenge, and sadly, our evidence-based guidance is poor. So, I created a survey to collate advice and feedback on success from about 6,000 participants.

How long does potty training take? We found that there is a strong basic pattern here: the later you wait to start, the shorter time it takes to potty train. On average, people who start at under 18 months report it takes them about 12 weeks for their child to be fully trained (using the toilet consistently for both peeing and pooping). For those who start between 3 and 3.5, it’s more like nine days. Keep in mind that for all of these age groups, there is a range of length of time from a few days to over a year. Sometimes parents are told that if you do it right, it only takes a few days. While that is true for some people, it is definitely not the norm.

If you’re in the throes of potty training, hang in there! 

#emilyoster #parentdata #pottytraining #pottytrainingtips #toddlerlife

Potty training can feel like a Mount Everest-size challenge, and sadly, our evidence-based guidance is poor. So, I created a survey to collate advice and feedback on success from about 6,000 participants.

How long does potty training take? We found that there is a strong basic pattern here: the later you wait to start, the shorter time it takes to potty train. On average, people who start at under 18 months report it takes them about 12 weeks for their child to be fully trained (using the toilet consistently for both peeing and pooping). For those who start between 3 and 3.5, it’s more like nine days. Keep in mind that for all of these age groups, there is a range of length of time from a few days to over a year. Sometimes parents are told that if you do it right, it only takes a few days. While that is true for some people, it is definitely not the norm.

If you’re in the throes of potty training, hang in there!

#emilyoster #parentdata #pottytraining #pottytrainingtips #toddlerlife
...

For children or adults with severe food allergies, they can be incredibly scary and restrictive. We may imagine that it’s easy to deal with a peanut allergy by, say, not eating peanut butter sandwiches. But for someone with a severe version of this allergy, they may never be able to go to a restaurant, for fear of a severe reaction to something in the air. Right now, there’s only one approved treatment for severe allergies like this and it’s limited to peanuts.

This is why the new medication Xolair is very exciting. It promises a second possible treatment avenue and one that works for other allergens. A new trail analyzed data from 177 children with severe food allergies. Two-thirds of the treatment group were able to tolerate the specified endpoint, versus just 7% of the placebo group. This is a very large treatment effect, and the authors found similarly large impacts on other allergens. 

There are some caveats: This treatment won’t work for everyone. (One-third of participants did not respond to it.) Additionally, this treatment is an injection given every two to four weeks, indefinitely. This may make it less palatable to children. 

Overall, even with caveats, this is life-changing news for many families!

#xolair #foodallergies #allergies #peanutallergy #emilyoster #parentdata

For children or adults with severe food allergies, they can be incredibly scary and restrictive. We may imagine that it’s easy to deal with a peanut allergy by, say, not eating peanut butter sandwiches. But for someone with a severe version of this allergy, they may never be able to go to a restaurant, for fear of a severe reaction to something in the air. Right now, there’s only one approved treatment for severe allergies like this and it’s limited to peanuts.

This is why the new medication Xolair is very exciting. It promises a second possible treatment avenue and one that works for other allergens. A new trail analyzed data from 177 children with severe food allergies. Two-thirds of the treatment group were able to tolerate the specified endpoint, versus just 7% of the placebo group. This is a very large treatment effect, and the authors found similarly large impacts on other allergens.

There are some caveats: This treatment won’t work for everyone. (One-third of participants did not respond to it.) Additionally, this treatment is an injection given every two to four weeks, indefinitely. This may make it less palatable to children.

Overall, even with caveats, this is life-changing news for many families!

#xolair #foodallergies #allergies #peanutallergy #emilyoster #parentdata
...

If you have a fever during pregnancy, you should take Tylenol, both because it will make you feel better and because of concerns about fever in pregnancy (although these are also overstated).

The evidence that suggests risks to Tylenol focuses largely on more extensive exposure — say, taking it for more than 28 days during pregnancy. There is no credible evidence, even correlational, to suggest that taking it occasionally for a fever or headache would be an issue.

People take Tylenol for a reason. For many people, the choice may be between debilitating weekly migraines and regular Tylenol usage. The impacts studies suggest are very small. In making this decision, we should weigh the real, known benefit against the suggestion of this possible risk. Perhaps not everyone will come out at the same place on this, but it is crucial we give people the tools to make the choice for themselves.

#emilyoster #parentdata #tylenol #pregnancy #pregnancytips

If you have a fever during pregnancy, you should take Tylenol, both because it will make you feel better and because of concerns about fever in pregnancy (although these are also overstated).

The evidence that suggests risks to Tylenol focuses largely on more extensive exposure — say, taking it for more than 28 days during pregnancy. There is no credible evidence, even correlational, to suggest that taking it occasionally for a fever or headache would be an issue.

People take Tylenol for a reason. For many people, the choice may be between debilitating weekly migraines and regular Tylenol usage. The impacts studies suggest are very small. In making this decision, we should weigh the real, known benefit against the suggestion of this possible risk. Perhaps not everyone will come out at the same place on this, but it is crucial we give people the tools to make the choice for themselves.

#emilyoster #parentdata #tylenol #pregnancy #pregnancytips
...

Parenting trends are like Cabbage Patch Kids: they’re usually only popular because a bunch of people are using them! Most of the time, these trends are not based on new scientific research, and even if they are, that new research doesn’t reflect all of what we’ve studied before.

In the future, before hopping onto the latest trend, check the data first. Unlike Cabbage Patch Kids, parenting trends can add a lot of unnecessary stress and challenges to your plate. What’s a recent trend that you’ve been wondering about?

#parentdata #emilyoster #parentingtips #parentingadvice #parentinghacks

Parenting trends are like Cabbage Patch Kids: they’re usually only popular because a bunch of people are using them! Most of the time, these trends are not based on new scientific research, and even if they are, that new research doesn’t reflect all of what we’ve studied before.

In the future, before hopping onto the latest trend, check the data first. Unlike Cabbage Patch Kids, parenting trends can add a lot of unnecessary stress and challenges to your plate. What’s a recent trend that you’ve been wondering about?

#parentdata #emilyoster #parentingtips #parentingadvice #parentinghacks
...

As of this week, 1 million copies of my books have been sold. This feels humbling and, frankly, unbelievable. I’m so thankful to those of you who’ve read and passed along your recommendations of the books.

When I wrote Expecting Better, I had no plan for all of this — I wrote that book because I felt compelled to write it, because it was the book I wanted to read. As I’ve come out with more books, and now ParentData, I am closer to seeing what I hope we can all create. That is: a world where everyone has access to reliable data, based on causal evidence, to make informed, confident decisions that work for their families.

I’m so grateful you’re all here as a part of this, and I want to thank you! If you’ve been waiting for the right moment to sign up for full access to ParentData, this is it. ⭐️ Comment “Link” for a DM with a discount code for 20% off of a new monthly or annual subscription to ParentData! 

Thank you again for being the best community of readers and internet-friends on the planet. I am so lucky to have you all here.

#parentdata #emilyoster #expectingbetter #cribsheet #familyfirm #parentingcommunity

As of this week, 1 million copies of my books have been sold. This feels humbling and, frankly, unbelievable. I’m so thankful to those of you who’ve read and passed along your recommendations of the books.

When I wrote Expecting Better, I had no plan for all of this — I wrote that book because I felt compelled to write it, because it was the book I wanted to read. As I’ve come out with more books, and now ParentData, I am closer to seeing what I hope we can all create. That is: a world where everyone has access to reliable data, based on causal evidence, to make informed, confident decisions that work for their families.

I’m so grateful you’re all here as a part of this, and I want to thank you! If you’ve been waiting for the right moment to sign up for full access to ParentData, this is it. ⭐️ Comment “Link” for a DM with a discount code for 20% off of a new monthly or annual subscription to ParentData!

Thank you again for being the best community of readers and internet-friends on the planet. I am so lucky to have you all here.

#parentdata #emilyoster #expectingbetter #cribsheet #familyfirm #parentingcommunity
...

Just eat your Cheerios and move on.

Just eat your Cheerios and move on. ...

The AAP’s guidelines recommend sleeping in the same room as your baby “ideally for the first six months.” However, the risk of SIDS is dramatically lower after four months, and the evidence in favor of the protective effect of room sharing is quite weak (both overall and even more so after four months). There is also growing evidence that infants who sleep in their own room by four months sleep better at four months, better at nine months, and even better at 30 months.

With this in mind, it’s worth asking why this recommendation continues at all — or at least why the AAP doesn’t push it back to four months. They say decreased arousals from sleep are linked to SIDS, which could mean that babies sleeping in their own room is risky. But this link is extremely indirect, and they do not show direct evidence to support it.

According to the data we have, parents should sleep in the same room as a baby for as long as it works for them! Sharing a room with a child may have negative impacts on both child and adult sleep. We should give families more help in navigating these trade-offs and making the decisions that work best for them.

#emilyoster #parentdata #roomsharing #sids #parentingguide

The AAP’s guidelines recommend sleeping in the same room as your baby “ideally for the first six months.” However, the risk of SIDS is dramatically lower after four months, and the evidence in favor of the protective effect of room sharing is quite weak (both overall and even more so after four months). There is also growing evidence that infants who sleep in their own room by four months sleep better at four months, better at nine months, and even better at 30 months.

With this in mind, it’s worth asking why this recommendation continues at all — or at least why the AAP doesn’t push it back to four months. They say decreased arousals from sleep are linked to SIDS, which could mean that babies sleeping in their own room is risky. But this link is extremely indirect, and they do not show direct evidence to support it.

According to the data we have, parents should sleep in the same room as a baby for as long as it works for them! Sharing a room with a child may have negative impacts on both child and adult sleep. We should give families more help in navigating these trade-offs and making the decisions that work best for them.

#emilyoster #parentdata #roomsharing #sids #parentingguide
...

It was an absolute pleasure to be featured on the @tamronhallshow! We talked about all things data-driven parenting and, in this clip, what I call the plague of secret parenting. To balance having a career and having a family, we can’t hide the fact that we’re parents. If mothers and fathers at the top can speak more openly about child-care obligations, it will help us all set a new precedent.

Watch the full segment at the link in my bio 🔗

#tamronhall #tamronhallshow #emilyoster #parentingsupport #workingparents

It was an absolute pleasure to be featured on the @tamronhallshow! We talked about all things data-driven parenting and, in this clip, what I call the plague of secret parenting. To balance having a career and having a family, we can’t hide the fact that we’re parents. If mothers and fathers at the top can speak more openly about child-care obligations, it will help us all set a new precedent.

Watch the full segment at the link in my bio 🔗

#tamronhall #tamronhallshow #emilyoster #parentingsupport #workingparents
...