Emily Oster: Key Responses

Emily Oster’s Alcohol and Pregnancy Advice is Deeply Flawed and Harmful

  1. Emily Oster has no medical training or expertise and is unqualified to write a book which provides advice and guidance about alcohol use and pregnancy.
  2. She cherry picks studies and ignores the research showing light drinking to be associated with miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm delivery, spontaneous abortion, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
  3. If Emily Oster wants to tolerate the risk of alcohol on her own baby, that’s her choice, but she has no right to advise pregnant women to expose their unborn baby to even a small amount of a substance that can cause brain damage.
  4. She is clearly less concerned with protecting the health of newborns than she is with protecting expectant mothers from health messages she deems bothersome.
  5. Sadly, Oster’s statements will likely influence some pregnant women to drink alcohol, who then could tragically give birth to offspring with lifelong brain damage from the effects of prenatal exposure to alcohol, including Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
  6. Emily Oster thinks that the way to relieve women of the worry and guilt from having a few drinks during pregnancy is to tell them: Don’t worry, it’s fine. Enjoy a glass of wine.  In fact, the best way to relieve women of this worry is to encourage pregnant women to avoid alcohol, including wine, and therefore have no reason to worry whatsoever.
  7. Liberation for expectant mothers doesn’t come from drinking wine while pregnant.  Liberation comes from never having to worry that you might have done something to harm your child by drinking alcohol.
  8. Emily Oster claims that her 2-year old daughter is perfectly healthy, yet the full impact of the alcohol exposure on her child will not be evident until the adolescent years.
  9. What Oster calls the “pregnancy police” are in fact public health professionals, doctors, OB-GYNs, and researchers, dedicated to improving the health outcomes of women and their children.  NOFAS, and the overwhelming majority of people actively promoting the message that no amount of alcohol is safe during pregnancy, purposely avoid scare tactics so as not to alarm women who may have had a drink before they knew they were pregnant.