Emily Oster’s New Book Deciphers Pregnancy Complications

by Ella

Emily Oster, a renowned 44-year-old economics professor at Brown University, has released a new book, “The Unexpected,” hoping that readers won’t need it. Known for her bestsellers on childbearing and child-rearing, Oster’s latest work delves into the complexities of pregnancies with complications and the risks associated with subsequent pregnancies. Unlike her previous books, which drew from personal experiences, this installment addresses questions posed by others.


Pregnancy complications are prevalent, affecting approximately 50% of pregnancies, as outlined by Oster. Teaming up with New York-based maternal fetal medicine specialist Dr. Nathan Fox, Oster navigates through a plethora of data on various conditions relevant to pregnancy, including pre-eclampsia, miscarriages, C-sections, and gestational diabetes. Through clear exposition, she elucidates the causes of these scenarios and their likelihood of recurrence in subsequent pregnancies.


Oster, a mother of two with a substantial online following, including celebrities like Mandy Moore and Amy Schumer, is renowned for her pragmatic analysis of conflicting maternal health data. While her insights often provoke debate, she aims to provide value and meaning to her audience through her work.


In an interview with the Guardian, Oster emphasizes empowering patients to make the most of their limited time with medical professionals. She encourages readers to take an active role in their medical appointments, offering practical scripts for productive discussions.


Addressing potential controversies in her book, Oster remains pragmatic, acknowledging that her conclusions may surprise some but are grounded in data-driven analysis.

The discussion extends beyond individual health concerns to broader societal issues, such as the impact of restrictive abortion laws on prenatal care access. Oster highlights the challenges faced by individuals seeking pregnancy care in states with stringent abortion regulations.

Reflecting on the complexity of pregnancy-related research, Oster raises questions about the role of sexism and commercial interests in shaping the available data. Despite her previous focus on personal narratives, Oster’s decision to tackle pregnancy complications stems from the need to address inquiries from her audience and provide a resource for those facing similar challenges.

Oster’s book sheds light on often-overlooked pregnancy complications, advocating for more research and awareness. She underscores the importance of open dialogue around discomforting topics like vaginal tearing and postpartum anxiety, aiming to destigmatize these experiences and facilitate informed discussions between patients and healthcare providers.

As Oster continues her academic pursuits in health economics and statistical methods, readers eagerly anticipate her future endeavors. Despite her reputation as an advocate for moderate alcohol consumption during pregnancy, Oster’s personal preference leans towards a refreshing Australian or New Zealand sauvignon blanc.


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