The Brewer diet, developed by Dr. Tom Brewer, is designed to provide good nutrition during both normal and high-risk pregnancies. The Brewer diet is high in protein and whole grains and relatively high in fat. Advocates of the Brewer diet support its use to prevent toxemia, pregnancy-induced hypertension, as well as pre-eclampsia and eclampsia, which are also characterized by high blood pressure as well as fluid retention and protein in the urine, and premature birth. In severe cases, these prenatal complications can result in convulsions, coma or even death.
Dr. Tom Brewer’s work in the 1950s and 1960s noted a link between high rates of maternal toxemia in malnourished women, not understood by the mainstream medical establishment. By the 1960s, the standard protocols to treat and prevent toxemia included amphetamines, low-calorie and low-salt diets and diuretic medications. Dr. Brewer implemented a toxemia prevention program in Contra Costa County, California, encouraging nutritional counseling and avoiding medications. This project continued for over a dozen years, showing a dramatic reduction in toxemia, according to Gail Sforza Brewer and Tom Brewer’s 1977 book “What Every Pregnant Woman Should Know.”
The Brewer diet is high in protein, encouraging 80 to 120 grams of protein daily, according to BlueRibbonBaby.com. Milk, eggs and lean meat make up the majority of the protein in the diet, but vegetarian foods are an alternative to meat-based foods. Women should consume a quart of milk per day, along with two eggs. An additional six 1-ounce servings of lean meat round out the protein component of the diet. Five servings of whole grains, two servings of dark green vegetables, two servings of foods rich in vitamin C and three servings of fat complete the Brewer diet. Women are encouraged to drink adequate fluids, including milk, water and juice, and should salt food to taste.
In many ways, the Brewer diet meshes with modern recommendations for nutrition during pregnancy. Women are encouraged to consume whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and at least four servings of milk or dairy products, according to WebMD, in line with Brewer’s recommendation of a quart of milk daily. The Brewer diet is slightly higher in protein than the recommended daily allowance of 71 grams per day, according to Mayo Clinic.com, and may be somewhat higher in sodium.
Good nutrition is essential for a healthy pregnancy for you and your baby. The Brewer diet provides simple, concise guidelines to help you eat right from the first trimester through delivery. Brewer believed that adequate protein, fluids and sodium would prevent many common pregnancy complications caused by maternal malnutrition and inadequate maternal blood volume and produce larger, healthier babies. The diet is appropriate for women of a regular weight or those carrying extra weight, as long as they follow the guidelines. Regular activity, like walking, is encouraged throughout pregnancy to maintain energy levels and good health.
Cconsult your physician, midwife or healthcare provider before adopting any diet during pregnancy, including the Brewer diet. She can help you to create a diet plan that best meets your individual nutritional needs, and consider any complications that might make the Brewer diet inappropriate for you, including cardiovascular or kidney disease.