DiscoverParentData with Emily Oster
ParentData with Emily Oster
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ParentData with Emily Oster

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Parenting is full of decisions — starting the moment you learn you’re pregnant (sometimes before) and continuing indefinitely. For the past decade, Emily Oster has been a guide through the challenges of pregnancy and parenthood using data. She translates the latest scientific research into answers to the questions people have in their day-to-day lives. ParentData brings Emily together with other experts in areas of pregnancy and parenting to talk about some of the most complicated of these issues, from labor induction to food allergies to parenting through a divorce. Each conversation brings us closer to Emily’s mission: to create the most data-literate and informed generation of parents yet. Named a best podcast of 2023 by Time.
38 Episodes
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In January, ParentData launched a new newsletter — Hot Flash — authored by Dr. Gillian Goddard. Hot Flash covers women’s health in the post-reproductive years. Think perimenopause and menopause, but also the late reproductive years, when you’re done having children but still, technically, might be able to do so. This week in Hot Flash, Gillian wrote about birth control at this stage — how do you think about birth control when you know it’s forever? Today on ParentData, Gillian joins us to walk through it all: from hormones to IUDs to surgeries. We talk about risks, benefits, trade-offs, and more. Subscribe to ParentData.org for free access to new articles every week on data-driven pregnancy and parenting.
Invisible labor. It’s the work — in our households especially — that has to happen but that no one sees. It’s making the doctor’s appointment, ensuring the Valentine’s cards are purchased, remembering the milk. When we think about equity in household labor, we often find that there are already inequities in the visible work, and they can become insurmountable when the invisible work is added in. Today on ParentData, Eve Rodsky joins with some solutions to this seemingly endless task list of problems. Her book, “Fair Play: A Game-Changing Solution for When You Have Too Much to Do (and More Life to Live),” and the movement it’s inspired, aims to rebalance workloads and encourage hard conversations, saving time, sanity, and even marriages along the way. Subscribe to ParentData.org for free access to new articles every week on data-driven pregnancy and parenting.
Sex in long-term relationships, often after kids — it’s something many people struggle with. When we did a big ParentData survey on your sex lives, a lot of you expressed unhappiness, stress, and pressure about how much sex was the “right” amount, whether you were behind (or too far ahead!). Today on ParentData, Emily Nagoski — sex researcher and author of “Come Together: The Science (and Art!) of Creating Lasting Sexual Connections” —  is here to talk about taking that pressure off and redefining normal. We dive into the anxiety long-term couples face, how much sex everyone else is really having and how little that should matter for you and your partner, and how to evolve sexually… together. Subscribe to ParentData.org for free access to new articles every week on data-driven pregnancy and parenting.
Exercise. Whether you’re an athlete or just depend on activity for a little dose of sanity, the pregnancy and postpartum periods can knock you sideways and make you feel estranged from your own body. Today on ParentData, Megan Roche — researcher, podcaster, and trail runner machine — joins to discuss how to ease back into activity postpartum, why women’s health is understudied, and the value of carbohydrates. But the conversation goes beyond just sports. It’s also about how to return to the things you love to do after becoming a parent — and feel a little more like yourself. Subscribe to ParentData.org for free access to new articles every week on data-driven pregnancy and parenting.
Through coos and cries, babbles and thbbbbts, babies are learning how to communicate from the earliest days of life. Language development is a magical opportunity to watch a child learn to engage with both you and the world. It also feels highly consequential, and for so many parents, it’s an incredibly stressful milestone. Watching your kid learn to talk is at once neat and frustrating and harrowing, all the more so when we realize that even the experts are often scratching their heads about how it all works. Today on ParentData, Professor Michael Frank joins to explore the question of how children learn to speak. We talk about how language develops, the difference between receptive and expressive language, whether the pandemic had a significant impact, and which language is the hardest for kids to learn (spoiler alert: it’s Danish). Subscribe to ParentData.org for free access to new articles every week on data-driven pregnancy and parenting.
Earlier this year, Emily interviewed Majka Burhardt, a professional ice climber (seriously) and the author of “More: Life on the Edge of Adventure and Motherhood,” a raw, gripping book about the first years of parenthood. The book has recently been released as an audiobook, and in this bonus episode of ParentData, we’re thrilled to share some clips and re-run the interview. Majka tackles the uncertainties and fears of parenting with the same clear-eyed intensity and grace as she tackles mountains, and we hope she offers you some inspiration over the holidays. Subscribe to ParentData.org for free access to new articles every week on data-driven pregnancy and parenting.
Grief can mean a lot of different things, from the loss of a loved one to the loss of a much-wanted pregnancy or marriage. It’s a heavy topic for the holidays, but this can also be a tough time when you’re dealing with loss. Today on ParentData, writer Marisa Renee Lee gets into the heart of grief - which, from a data perspective, will affect approximately 100% of us - in her book "Grief Is Love." She discusses the need for parents to give, and to take, while weathering the waves of loss, and love. Subscribe to ParentData.org for free access to new articles every week on data-driven pregnancy and parenting.
Labor induction did not used to be the norm, but it increasingly is. A big reason for this change is something called the ARRIVE trial, which was designed to test whether routine induction would increase the risk of cesarean section - which, according to the results, it did not. In the wake of the trial, with that concern limited, many more doctors began recommending inductions as routine. (This refers to inductions that are not done by medical necessity; in many cases, it is necessary to induce, sometimes earlier than 39 weeks, to protect the health of the mother or baby.) But this doesn’t work for everyone: some people would rather not be induced, and some researchers have argued that the results from ARRIVE actually do not hold up in the real world. Today on ParentData, Dr. Nathan Fox, an OB/GYN and co-author of Emily's upcoming book, The Unexpected: Navigating Pregnancy During and After Complications joins to discuss the ARRIVE trial, its clinical aftershocks, and the risks and benefits of letting nature take its course... or grabbing the steering wheel. Subscribe to ParentData.org for free access to new articles every week on data-driven pregnancy and parenting.
Self-care is everywhere. Bubble baths, massages, Instagram encouraging you to “take time for yourself.” Get up early to have coffee and meditate, or take a forest walk. It can get to the point where self-care itself is yet another thing to check off the to-do list. Send emails. Make lunches. Clean Cheerios off floor. Take forest walk. Today on ParentData, psychiatrist Dr. Pooja Lakshmin wants to push back on this performative, box-checking, crystals-and-baths form of self-care. Her book Real Self-Care: A Transformative Program for Redefining Wellness is about what it actually takes to create wellness for ourselves. She talks about setting boundaries, tuning out the critics, and what true self-care can mean to each of us. Subscribe to ParentData.org for free access to new articles every week on data-driven pregnancy and parenting.
Earlier this year, Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy issued a new advisory about the effects of social media on the mental health of young people. These advisories are rare; we're used to seeing them on the sides of cigarette packs, where the negative health risks are indisputable. But social media and smartphones are more complicated. Today on ParentData, Dr. Murthy discusses the individual and systemic issues that led him to issue the advisory, and what he hopes, as both the nation's doctor and his kids’ father, it will accomplish. Subscribe to ParentData.org for free access to new articles every week on data-driven pregnancy and parenting.
It’s time to make things awkward! Our journey through puberty is mercifully over, but we’ve still got to help our kids through it… and it may not be what we remember. Pediatrician Dr. Cara Natterson and journalist Vanessa Kroll Bennett, authors of “This is So Awkward: Modern Puberty Explained,” are here to dive headfirst into the surprising complexities of the endocrine system and how to stay close to our kids as they navigate today’s journey of adolescence. Subscribe to ParentData.org for free access to new articles every week on data-driven pregnancy and parenting. We need your stories! Click on this form for our upcoming episode themes and instructions on how to contribute your voice. We can’t wait to hear from you.
Even under the best of circumstances, the decision to end a marriage is often painful and always complicated - and even more so when kids are involved. Today on ParentData, writer and social worker Miranda Featherstone delves into the endless choices that accompany divorce, including making the initial decision, what it means to share your kids, what (and how much) to tell them, and other ways of thinking about the emotional and logistical aftershocks of making the right choice for yourself. Please look into support from the Domestic Violence Support Hotline, if it applies to your situation. Subscribe to ParentData.org for ad-free podcast episodes, hundreds of articles on pregnancy and parenting, and more. We need your stories! Click on this form for our upcoming episode themes and instructions on how to contribute your voice. We can’t wait to hear from you.
You probably remember peanut butter being everywhere when you were a kid: commercials, birthday parties, packed in your school lunchbox. Now peanuts are notable for their absence. What accounts for such a dramatic change in such a short amount of time? When did something so commonplace become so high-risk? Dr. Gideon Lack led the study that aimed to understand what happened. Today on ParentData, he explains the precipitous rise in peanut allergies over the last twenty years, our own unfortunate role in the rise of allergies, and the best ways to safely introduce allergens to your babies. Read Dr. Lack’s randomized LEAP trial paper in the NEJM and the American Academy of Pediatrics’ subsequent revised recommendations. Subscribe to ParentData.org for ad-free podcast episodes, hundreds of articles on pregnancy and parenting, and more. We need your stories! Click on this form for our upcoming episode themes and instructions on how to contribute your voice. We can’t wait to hear from you.
Kids today face an unprecedented pressure to succeed, and it's pushing their mental health, and their families, to a breaking point. Today on ParentData, journalist Jennifer Breheny Wallace explains her research in her bestselling book, "Never Enough," how we got here, how these problems exist across both class and culture, and how we can combat this pressure by simply allowing our kids to matter as much as we already know they do. Subscribe to ParentData.org for ad-free podcast episodes, hundreds of articles on pregnancy and parenting, and more. We need your stories! Click on this form for our upcoming episode themes and instructions on how to contribute your voice. Or you can record a voice memo on your phone and email it to us at podcast@parentdata.org. We can’t wait to hear from you.
Becoming a parent is transformative. It is also terrifying. From conception and pregnancy onwards, you’re handed a new set of rules to follow with little explanation of the reasons or risks. For each decision, you want to do the “right” thing — but how, with conflicting advice from all directions? For the past decade, Emily Oster has been a guide through the biggest decisions and most challenging moments of pregnancy and parenthood by translating the latest scientific research. ParentData brings Emily and other experts together to debunk myths with data and navigate understudied areas of pregnancy and parenting, from the impact of social media on teens to navigating a complicated birth. Each conversation brings us closer to Emily’s mission: to create the most data-literate and informed generation of parents.
I’m thrilled to share the audio from an event we held earlier this month to mark the 10-year anniversary of my first book, Expecting Better. It was hosted by Dr. Sara Readon (also known as The Vagina Whisperer) and we were joined by Amy Schumer, who helped put the book on the map. We also announced my new book, The Unexpected, which is coming out next spring! ParentData relaunched in September 2023. Please enjoy this episode of the earlier version of the podcast from our archives. You can read transcripts and listen to all of our episodes at parentdata.org/podcast. Want more on data, pregnancy, and parenting? Subscribe to the ParentData newsletter for free at parentdata.org.
I spoke with Dr. Anupam Jena, known as Bapu, who hosts the podcast Freakonomics, MD, about his new book, Random Acts of Medicine, written jointly with Dr. Christopher Worsham. The book is out this week, and after you listen here, I highly recommend you pick it up. ParentData relaunched in September 2023. Please enjoy this episode of the earlier version of the podcast from our archives. You can read transcripts and listen to all of our episodes at parentdata.org/podcast. Want more on data, pregnancy, and parenting? Subscribe to the ParentData newsletter for free at parentdata.org.
Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman is a PhD student at Harvard in economics and public policy. Last year, she edited The Black Agenda: Bold Solutions for a Broken System, which features Black scholars and experts across economics, education, health, climate, criminal justice, and technology. This week, the book is out in paperback. In honor of this, she and I connected to chat about two of the chapters — on education for Black girls and representation in children’s books. ParentData relaunched in September 2023. Please enjoy this episode of the earlier version of the podcast from our archives. You can read transcripts and listen to all of our episodes at parentdata.org/podcast. Want more on data, pregnancy, and parenting? Subscribe to the ParentData newsletter for free atparentdata.org.
When I do my weekly Q&A on Instagram (@profemilyoster), I get a lot of questions about running. Rather than interrupt the parenting content, we thought we’d collect those separately and put them in podcast form. And then I convinced Laura Green to ask the questions. If you do not follow Laura on Instagram, she puts out very funny running comedy; it is seriously the best. So: if you like running and parenting and discussions of the pelvic floor, please give this one a listen. ParentData relaunched in September 2023. Please enjoy this episode of the earlier version of the podcast from our archives. You can read transcripts and listen to all of our episodes at parentdata.org/podcast. Want more on data, pregnancy, and parenting? Subscribe to the ParentData newsletter for free at parentdata.org.
I heard about Virginia Sole-Smith’s new book, Fat Talk: Parenting in the Age of Diet Culture, a few months ago and was so excited I immediately insisted on reading it and interviewing her. I’m a big fan of Virginia’s — she is a journalist, an author, a podcaster, the writer of the excellent Substack newsletter Burnt Toast, and a mom. Her new book is about kids and weight and food, and I think it is an absolute must-read for all parents, especially for that moment when your child asks, “Does this shirt make me look fat?” and you know there is a right thing to say, but in the moment you don’t know what it is and instead you melt into a floor puddle, never to be seen again. ParentData relaunched in September 2023. Please enjoy this episode of the earlier version of the podcast from our archives. You can read transcripts and listen to all of our episodes at parentdata.org/podcast. Want more on data, pregnancy, and parenting? Subscribe to the ParentData newsletter for free at parentdata.org.
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Comments (2)

Ecere Seluk

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Jan 18th
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Katie McFaddin

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Dec 10th
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