What Happens After Giving Birth? 4 Recommendations

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform summary of "Expecting Better" by Emily Oster. Shortform has the world's best summaries of books you should be reading.

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Congratulations! You’ve gone through labor, and the baby’s out!

After giving birth, there are just 4 more things to know about to keep your baby healthy and free of issues.

After Birth #1: Delayed Cord Clamping

  • Waiting a few minutes to cut the cord allows the baby to reabsorb some blood from the placenta. 
  • This is useful for premature birth, halving the need for blood transfusions for anemia and hypotension.
  • The risks are mixed for full-term babies, as they get higher iron levels but also risk jaundice jaundice.

After Birth #2: Vitamin K Shots

  • They’re meant to reduce bleeding disorders. 
  • These have been standard since the 1960s.
  • Some controversy has arisen about its linkage to childhood cancer, but these findings were not replicated. Common sense suggests that if vitamin K did cause cancer, cancer rates should have increased in the 1960s when they became standard.

After Birth #3: Antibiotics in the Eye

  • Gonorrhea or chlamydia exposure to the baby during birth can lead to blindness.
  • It’s mandatory in most states even if you don’t have STDs. But there’s no real downside to them.

After Birth #4: Cord-Blood Storage

  • The idea is stem cells from cord blood can be useful for treatment.
  • Families with severe rare blood disorders may find this useful.
  • Putatively this is useful for bone marrow transplants for leukemia. However, keep in mind a child cannot use her own cord blood; she must use a sibling’s. The chance of using banked cord blood is 1 in 20,000.
  • Another sales pitch is that cord blood could be used for regenerative medicine in the future. Oster argues that by that point, we’ll probably have better stem cell technologies in general, including techniques to derive stem cells from ordinary cells.
  • Consider banking in a public blood bank instead to help a stranger out.
What Happens After Giving Birth? 4 Recommendations

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best summary of "Expecting Better" at Shortform . Learn the book's critical concepts in 20 minutes or less .

Here's what you'll find in our full Expecting Better summary :

  • Why much parenting advice you hear is confusing or nonsense
  • The most reliable way to conceive successfully
  • How much alcohol research shows you can drink safely while pregnant (it's more than zero)
  • The best foods to eat, and what foods you really should avoid

Allen Cheng

Allen Cheng is the founder of Shortform. He has a passion for non-fiction books (having read 200+ and counting) and is on a mission to make the world's best ideas more accessible to everyone. He reads broadly, covering a wide range of subjects including finance, management, health, and society. Allen graduated from Harvard University summa cum laude and attended medical training at the MD/PhD program at Harvard and MIT. Before Shortform, he co-founded PrepScholar, an online education company.

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