Reliable information about pregnancy
March 10, 2014 12:41 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for sources of reliable, science-based information about food / exercise / medication / etc during pregnancy.

I loved Emily Oster's article (via metafilter), which looked at the actual studies that examine drinking alcohol & eating deli meat during pregnancy. (She also wrote a book that I will be buying).

I am looking for websites, articles, books, or anything else. My ideal source is not an actual study - it's an article that discusses multiple studies, the results, possible flaws, limitations, etc in the study.

I would also be interested in a website where I can look up a food or medication and find out whether it is generally considered safe for pregnancy. Ideally, the website would also include information on why that conclusion was reached - e.g., it would distinguish between something that is known to be unsafe, something thought to be unsafe, and something that we don't have data about.
posted by insectosaurus to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 39 users marked this as a favorite is a leading evidence-based source for breastfeeding mothers and they often recommend breastfeeding mothers to consult InfantRisk with any medication questions. It looks like they also have a Pregnancy page.
posted by jillithd at 1:11 PM on March 10, 2014 [4 favorites]

The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto runs a site called Motherrisk which covers medications and probably other things too.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 1:22 PM on March 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

The Panic-Free Pregnancy is perfect for this. The "is it safe?" section of Pregnant Chicken is pretty good, too.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:22 PM on March 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Seconding motherrisk for medications.

For foods, this website is nice and clear.
posted by lafemma at 1:24 PM on March 10, 2014

I really liked the book put out by the Motherrisk people - The Complete Guide to Everyday Risks in Pregnancy & Breastfeeding.
posted by machine at 1:25 PM on March 10, 2014

So, systematic reviews might be too close to a "study" for you, but the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group are in the business of interpreting and assembling data from all kinds of different research on reproductive health, and they produce a Pregnancy and Childbirth handbook. I don't know this book specifically, and the series is generally more aimed at health professionals than healthcare consumers, but you could check out the "Look Inside" part and see if it seems helpful.

Also, when you're looking at the information, it's helpful to consider whether the data that's being cited it "patient-oriented" - like, is this about an actual thing that has happened to real human pregnant women or fetuses, or is it about something that could, theoretically, happen, based on our knowledge of chemistry or the way things work in animals? There are lots of great studies out there that are perfectly sound and very well executed and have VERY LITTLE to do with actual human health.
posted by mskyle at 1:26 PM on March 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

It looks like the World Health Organization's Reproductive Health Library also references the Cochrane reviews mentioned by mskyle above. Here is the main pregnancy page for the WHO.
posted by jillithd at 1:38 PM on March 10, 2014

Expecting Better by Emily Oster is excellent. She's an economist by training, and seems to do a great job do stilling the studies and statistics. I read it casually, so I'm not sure how thorough the citations are, but I'd guess decent. ETA: sorry, totally missed that you've already got her on your radar.
posted by Kriesa at 1:50 PM on March 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Seconding Cochrane. They do meta-analyses of contemporary research and are well-trusted in the medical community. Each meta-analysis has a "short version" of a couple of pages that is patient-friendly.

Also, the NHS has excellent obstetric/maternity/infant care info on their website. If you decide that you do want more scientific/study-y info, you can check out their NICE guidelines. I also like the Mayo Clinic site in the US and find their info to be objective and evidence-based.

Finally, you can check out up-to-date. You may need an institutional subscription (if you have access), but UTD has patient info that is well-summarized from current research.
posted by stillmoving at 2:37 PM on March 10, 2014

I want to add another vote for The Panic-Free Pregnancy.
posted by aabbbiee at 2:39 PM on March 10, 2014

The Science of Parenting - pregnancy search Is a good blog discussing research on multiple aspects, mostly from an anthropology view.

And seconding Kellymom, I had piles of breast feeding books and her site was succinct and balanced and more up to date than anything I found.

Cochrane is good for understanding where your doctors are coming from.
posted by viggorlijah at 5:50 PM on March 10, 2014

I came in to excitedly tell you about Expecting Better. Looks like you don't need that advice.

Exercising Through Your Pregnancy is written by a doctor who did research studies on exercise during pregnancy. It summarizes lots of studies very clearly. I thought it was great for explaining the physiological changes that occur during pregnancy and how they affect your body in addition to the exercise part.
posted by medusa at 8:20 PM on March 10, 2014

Response by poster: Thank you all so much for suggestions! I am excited to start reading everything.
posted by insectosaurus at 11:38 AM on March 13, 2014

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