The Brewer Diet: What Every Pregnant Woman Should Know

June 13, 2011

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If you are pregnant, you need to know about the Brewer Diet. The backbone of holistic pregnancy nutrition, in my opinion, comes from the Brewer Diet. There are several resources online where you may read in detail about Dr. Brewer and his diet. I will give you the basic here, because it is crucial that you understand the CONCEPT upon which this “diet” is based. Without understanding that, this way of eating will not make sense and will likely be a tiresome chore.

First of all, Tom Brewer was an OB, a doctor. As you may already know, the average Western medicine obstetrician is not all that concerned with nutrition. For years and years, even to this day, a prenatal appointment with an OB consists of your vitals, baby’s heartbeat, and little to nothing else in the way of education or information. The simple explanation is that they see NO CONNECTION between what we put into our bodies and our state of health (or lack thereof). There is proof of this in the pharmaceutical industry–every ailment, disease, issue needs a band-aid, a “fix”–there is no acknowledgment that healing and balance can come from within and from paying attention to what is PUT in.

So, for these reasons, Dr. Brewer was somewhat of an oddball because he realized (now hold onto your hats, here!) that when pregnant women were asked about what they were eating, when attention was shown to them and when nutritional counseling was provided, they did not experience some of these “unpreventable” horrors of pregnancy (again, toxemia, gestational diabetes, preterm birth, etc.) Dr. Brewer came up with this nutritional regimen in order to prevent (and almost completely obliterate) these problems in his high-risk pregnancy clinic. The crux of the Brewer Diet is about ensuring BLOOD VOLUME EXPANSION.

That sounds a bit clinical, medical, I know. But here’s a fact; a well-nourished pregnant mama will make 50% more plasma (blood) by the time she is about 30 weeks pregnant. Wow!!! This is the intelligence of the human body when creating and sustaining a pregnancy. The body knows that it needs to make this blood in order to make a baby, make a placenta, keep a mom healthy and keep blood flowing to all the organs and especially the placenta. This optimum increase in blood is vital to the health of the pregnancy and the mama and baby in every imaginable way.

I can not overstate the importance of this fact. Along the same lines, the blood vessels and arteries of the mama’s body anticipate this increase in amount of blood and the vessels actually dilate (open up)to accommodate this extra blood. So, to put it simply, if the blood volume expansion does NOT occur (poor nutrition, resulting in a blood volume CONSTRICTION), then the body actually thinks it is hemorrhaging (because there is not enough blood to fill up these bigger blood vessels.) A pregnant body that has a constricted blood volume and thinks there is a hemorrhage going on is obviously not an ideal scenario. In fact, it is the exact opposite. The body begins to panic, and little by little, shuts down and/or may expel the baby because of the less than ideal conditions inside. The result of that can be anything from metabolic toxemia of pregnancy to death for mom and baby. That sounds horrific, and it is! But again, the good news is, with attention and care to what and how you eat, the likelihood of any major problem in pregnancy is very, very low. This won’t be the last time that I remind you; YOU hold the keys to the high likelihood of a great, healthy pregnancy just by being aware of what you put into your body.

Here is a quote from Dr. Brewer’s book, What Every Pregnant Woman Should Know About Nutrition, Bedrest and Drugs in Normal and High Risk Pregnancy:

”Research conducted and reported in the medical literature over the past century provides conclusive evidence that toxemia of pregnancy is a disease of incorrect nutrition and that incorrect nutrition is also associated with the vast majority of cases of preterm labor”.

If you want to get more information about nutritional ideas based on the Brewer Diet, including sample eating plans etc. take a look at this video called, “You Are What You Eat.”

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  1. Jennifer S. says:

    Great article – very informative!  Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. […] 50% of plasma (blood) by about 30 weeks gestation. This increase in blood volume is crucial for the health and nutrient supply of the growing […]

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We are mamas and midwives who decided to do birth differently– and bring others along with us. We are radical, fun to work with, and great at (lovingly) calling people on their bullshit to help move us all towards a new more beautiful world. With 12 children and over two decades of midwifery between us, we’ve learned a thing or two along the way, and Indie Birth is our space to share it all with you.

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