Oster: Many of the OBs that I have spoken to and many of the women who I have talked to about the recommendations from their doctors have told me that the doctors say, 'Yeah, it's fine to have a couple glasses of wine.' This is a conversation which will continue to evolve.
AP: What were some of the surprises when you started digging into the research?
Oster: One thing that came up that I found quite surprising is that a number of women that I knew who have been pregnant were put on bed rest. When I started looking into that more I found the evidence doesn't really support any benefit from bed rest in terms of preventing preterm labor. I think that lately doctors have started moving away from that pretty extensively. It has some negative impact, particularly around issues of muscle atrophy and other medical reasons.
AP: Should women trust their doctors?
Oster: Absolutely. But women have a responsibility to learn things about this process for themselves so they can actively participate in this conversation with their doctors.
AP: What are your top five fallacies about pregnancy?
Oster: One is that much of the evidence suggested an occasional drink is OK. Bed rest is not a great idea. Gaining too much weight may in fact be less risky than gaining too little weight. Sushi is OK. And coffee in moderation is fine.
And in terms of toxoplasmosis, which is a parasitic infection that can cause birth defects, when I looked at the data on this, there's actually no evidence that women who clean the cat litter box or have cats are more likely to get this, but I do see some links between doing a lot of outdoor gardening and having this infection. There are all kinds of animals that might poop in your garden. Not just cats.