Even Economists Can't Tell Us What to Expect When We're Expecting
Furthermore, it was doctors who prescribed drugs like thalidomide and DES to pregnant women—the former caused severe birth defects and the latter continues to cause cancers of the reproductive system of the daughters of women who took it. There's no question that the advice given by doctors to patients on any given day may not be supported by the newest and best research, and that's why being a thoughtful consumer of health care matters. That's also why a book like Oster's is attractive: it seems to promise that we can take control of a process that's ultimately so uncontrollable.
Yet the irony is that most, if not all, of the people who will buy Oster's book will likely to be getting good healthcare already and will have the education and financial means to take care of themselves during pregnancy. Some of the issues she raises (Can I dye my hair? I've got gray! Do I really have to give up sushi?) are worse than trivial considered alongside the USA's comparatively dismal maternal health outcomes, especially among women who are poor or who are racial minorities.
Fretting over whether you really have to give up that Starbucks grande latte or glass of wine and sushi while women in my country of residence, Malawi, die from ridiculously preventable causes like anemia or suffer the lifelong horrors of obstetric fistula seems, frankly, selfish and silly. Pregnancy is the most direct way to love your little unborn neighbor as yourself, to suffer for the sake of another's life. And at-risk pregnant women and their babies—in developing countries, but in the U.S., too—are certainly in the category of the least of these.
I think Jesus would expect better.
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