Pregnant women told to relax, drink wine and eat sushi

A new book claims pregnant women should set aside many of the rules of pregnancy such as no drinking, no eating sushi and minimal coffee.

Author Emily Oster is the Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago and she conducted extensive research into the most popular pregnancy myths while carrying her first child and wrote about them in her book Expecting Better.

"I actually think pregnant women are really well-informed but I think that there's a tremendous amount of confusing and conflicting information out there," she explains. "You could read every pregnancy book and every pregnancy website and come away thinking on some topics I have no idea what the real facts are."

She says there's no real evidence that light drinking during pregnancy will harm the baby and the same goes for tobacco and caffeine.

Oster says its rare meat and poultry pregnant women need to avoid, as well as unwashed fruits and vegetables, raw-milk cheese and deli turkey. That's it. Many other foods are fine, according to the author.

Rest assured that Oster trawled through hundreds of medical studies to come to her conclusions. Her main point is that when it comes to pregnancy it isn't one size fits all.

Emily Oster

Oster's worry list ...

* Raw milk cheese

* Gardening, as there's a risk of contracting toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection that can cause birth defects which is caused by contact with animal fecal matter.

* Gaining too little weight as opposed to gaining too much weight

* Hot baths, spas and hot yoga, especially during the first trimester

Oster's list of things not to worry about ...

* Sushi

* Moderate alcohol

* Sardines and herrings, which can lead to smarter babies

* Dying your hair, cleaning the cat litter box

* Gatorade or similar drinks during labour instead of ice chips.

What did you most miss doing or eating while pregnant?