Emily Oster

2 min Read Emily Oster

Emily Oster

For Pregnant Women Who Are Scared of Hospitals Right Now, Is Switching to Home Birth Better?

From Slate: For Pregnant Women Who Are Scared of Hospitals Right Now, Is Switching to Home Birth Better?

Emily Oster

2 min Read

The world has changed in the last month, even in the last week, the last days. My husband was listening last night to a podcast from two weeks ago—“It’s almost quaint,” he remarked. These changes extend to, and perhaps are even worse for, those who are pregnant. People who got pregnant nine months ago presumably did not imagine they’d be delivering amid a pandemic. It’s scary; women are afraid for their own health and their babies’. On top of this, the landscape of giving birth has been transformed too.

Many hospitals across the country have begun to restrict who can be in attendance at births. For the most part, this has meant restrictions on doulas and outside visitors. But it has sometimes gotten more extreme. Last week, several hospitals in New York extended these restrictions to partners. For about a week, aside from the presence of doctors and nurses, some women who gave birth did so alone. Over the weekend, the state of New York issued an executive order canceling this restriction; partners are now allowed during labor and delivery.

But even with the rollback of this extreme measure, the circumstances of hospital birth have clearly changed, in New York and elsewhere. A woman who, say, envisioned giving birth with her partner and doula and mother alongside her finds herself in a very different situation. Moreover, hospitals in heavily affected areas have gotten scarier. Women worry about infection, either for themselves or their babies. Laboring women and their partners will often be asked to wear gloves and masks during delivery.

Perhaps not surprisingly, this has caused a lot of women close to delivery to reevaluate their plans. I’ve been writing a lot about pregnancy, delivery, and children in the context of COVID-19, and among the most common questions I’ve gotten is: Hospitals seem scary, unwelcoming, and generally not what I imagined. Should I switch to a home birth?

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SLEEP DATA 💤 PART 2: Let’s talk about naps. Comment “Link” for an article on what we learned about daytime sleep!

The first three months of life are a chaotic combination of irregular napping, many naps, and a few brave or lucky souls who appear to have already arrived at a two-to-three nap schedule. Over the next few months, the naps consolidate to three and then to two. By the 10-to-12-month period, a very large share of kids are napping a consistent two naps per day. Over the period between 12 and 18 months, this shifts toward one nap. And then sometime in the range of 3 to 5 years, naps are dropped. What I think is perhaps most useful about this graph is it gives a lot of color to the average napping ages that we often hear.

Note: Survey data came from the ParentData audience and users of the Nanit sleep monitor system. Both audiences skew higher-education and higher-income than the average, and mostly have younger children. The final sample is 14,919 children. For more insights on our respondents, read the full article.
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Head to the newsletter for more and stay tuned for part two next week on naps! 🌙

#parentdata #emilyoster #childsleep #babysleep #parentingcommunity

SLEEP DATA 💤 We asked you all about your kids’ sleep—and got nearly 15,000 survey responses to better understand kids’ sleep patterns. Comment “Link” for an article that breaks down our findings!

This graph shows sleeping location by age. You’ll notice that for the first three months, most kids are in their own sleeping location in a parent’s room. Then, over the first year, this switches toward their own room. As kids age, sharing a room with a sibling becomes more common.

Head to the newsletter for more and stay tuned for part two next week on naps! 🌙

#parentdata #emilyoster #childsleep #babysleep #parentingcommunity
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Prevention is key! I suggest:
⭐ Regular tick checks
⭐ Using bug sprays with DEET
⭐ Wearing long sleeves and pants in the woods

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👉Comment “Link” for a DM to an article that summarizes all of the best potty training advice we collected.

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Listen and subscribe to ParentData with Emily Oster in your favorite podcast app 🎧

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☀️ Keep them in the shade as much as possible when you’re out.
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☀️ If you want to add a little sunscreen on their hands and feet? Go for it! But be mindful as baby skin tends to more prone to irritation.

Comment “Link” for a DM to an article on the data around sun and heat exposure for babies.

#sunsafety #babysunscreen #babyhealth #parentdata #emilyoster

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☀️ Most importantly, limit their time out in hot weather. (They get hotter than you do!)
☀️ Keep them in the shade as much as possible when you’re out.
☀️ Long-sleeve but lightweight clothing is your friend, especially on the beach, where even in the shade you can get sunlight reflecting off different surfaces.
☀️ If you want to add a little sunscreen on their hands and feet? Go for it! But be mindful as baby skin tends to more prone to irritation.

Comment “Link” for a DM to an article on the data around sun and heat exposure for babies.

#sunsafety #babysunscreen #babyhealth #parentdata #emilyoster
...