Placenta, Uterus, Membranes, Fluid, Maternal Blood Volume, Baby. These are the 6 elements that rely on you to nourish them during pregnancy. Every single cell is formed from protein. That’s why The Dr. Brewer Pregnancy Diet, backed by 100 years of medical research, recommends 80-100 grams of protein daily during pregnancy.
THE BREWER DIET
The Bradley Method recommends the Brewer Diet. In the past 100 years, research has shown that eating 80-100 grams of protein daily can prevent many pregnancy complications. Some of these pregnancy complications can lead to the baby needing to be in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and even the death of mother or baby or both. Poor nutrition or inadequate nutrition can cause many complications of pregnancy including:
- Pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH)
- Preeclampsia, toxemia, HELLP syndrome
- Placental abruption
- Intra-Uterine Growth Retardation (IUGR)
- Preterm labor and bed rest
- Drugs to reduce blood pressure and halt preterm labor
- Small for Gestational Age (SGA) babies
- Premature babies
The Mayo clinic says pregnant women need 71 grams of protein daily during pregnancy. The American Pregnancy Association says pregnant women need 75-100 grams of protein. The Brewer Pregnancy Diet recommends 80-100 grams of protein daily, and 2100-2600 calories daily. Dr. Brewer also recommends that women increase their salt intake or salt their food to taste to aid in increasing blood volume, metabolizing hormones, liver function, and overall good health in pregnancy.
“Dr. Brewer” Pregnancy Nutrition requires Daily Minimums of these categories of food
- Protein: 6-8 servings – Daily protein from all protein sources should total 80-100 grams
- Milk/Milk Substitutes: 4 servings – Extra Calcium (if using a substitute): 2 servings/ substitute
- Eggs: 2
- Dark Leafy Greens: 2 servings
- Whole Grains/Starchy Veggies/Fruit: 4 servings
- Foods High in Vitamin C: 2 servings 18-30mg per serving
- Fats: 3 servings
- Yellow or Orange fruit or vegetable (“vitamin A foods”): 1 serving
- Extra liquids to stay hydrated
- SALT TO TASTE!
Here’s a checklist so you can make sure you are eating right:
|EGGS||EGGS||DARK LEAFY GREENS||DARK LEAFY GREENS||WATER||NUTRITIOUS FLUIDS (ie; bone broth)|
|VITAMIN C FOOD||VITAMIN C FOOD||FATS/OILS||FATS/OIL||FATS/OIL||ANYTHING EXTRA YOU WANT|
LOOK AT SERVING SIZES DIFFERENTLY
People automatically think about 3 meals a day plus snacks. But you’ll need to change your approach to serving sizes or you’ll never get in enough calories. We normally think about a protein serving of meat being 3 oz. A “Brewer” serving is only 1 oz. 1 oz. of meat is only about the size of your thumb! A 1 oz. serving of meat is approximately 6-8 grams of protein. 1oz. of almonds is 6 grams of protein and about 23 almonds. 1 egg has 6 grams of protein. There are many ways to eat 6-8 servings of protein a day and not feel over-stuffed. How can you do that?
I tell my students to set the alarm on their phone to go off every 2 hours. The alarm is meant to remind them to eat. Sometimes you can get so busy you don’t even think about eating until you are ravenous! Here is what eating every 2 hours looks like:
Breakfast – one egg, salt to taste, ¼ cup baked sweet potato
Snack – 1 TBS Nut butter, ½ apple, 1 cup milk
Lunch – 1oz chicken, broccoli, whole grain bread, 1 cup milk
Snack – Red peppers and hummus, orange
Dinner – 1 oz, Fish, spinach, tomatoes, cheese, avocado, 1 cup milk
Snack – Chia pudding
Before bed – Greek Yogurt, fresh fruit, raisins
Drink half your numeric body weight in water. So, if you weigh 120 lbs., drink 60 oz of water throughout the day.
CALORIES ARE IMPORTANT
If you eat enough protein but not enough calories, your body will use the calories from protein to fuel your body. Your baby will not get the benefit of those calories. For some eating 2100-2600 calories a day may seem like a daunting task. But if you break it down into very small meals, you’ll be amazed at what you can eat.
ADD SALT??? BUT I THOUGHT SALT RAISED BLOOD PRESSURE…
A pregnant body is accomplishing something the non-pregnant body isn’t – growing a baby and supplying nutrients through the blood.
- Salt helps blood expansion – the pregnant body’s goal is to increase blood volume 50-60% more by the end of a full-term pregnancy.
- High blood pressure in the non-pregnant body is FROM expanded blood volume. If blood volume doesn’t increase as it should, the mother’s body panics as if it’s hemorrhaging, constricting blood vessels which raises blood pressure.
Without enough salt, the fluid moves outside the blood vessels and the heart must work harder to keep the same amount of blood flowing.
- If this happens, mom’s blood pressure can rise, and complications ensue.
- If blood volume doesn’t increase as it should, the mother’s body panics as if it’s hemorrhaging, constricting blood vessels which raises blood pressure.
HOW DO I KNOW THE BREWER DIET IS DOING THE JOB?
- No swelling (some in the feet is ok starting at 38 weeks)
- Steady blood pressure readings based on YOUR normal taken correctly
- Serum albumin (a protein made by the liver) levels of 3.5-5.5 –urine test indicates kidney function
- HGB/HCT drops around 28 weeks
I craved chocolate during my pregnancy and this can be a sign you are low in magnesium. To this day, I need to take a lot of extra magnesium. So, it might just be my body tends to be low in magnesium. Or I just LOVE chocolate! Provided you’re meeting your daily requirement (use the checklist) go ahead and indulge. You only need 300 extra calories daily, during pregnancy, so make those 300 calories nutritious ones. Below, is a table to give you some ideas of how to get rid of those cravings by eating better food choices.
|I’m craving…||My Body is Telling Me I Need…||Get Rid of Cravings by Eating…|
|CHOCOLATE||MAGNESIUM||Eat raw almonds, cashews, seeds, dates, amaranth grains, kelp, Dulse sea vegetables, beans, legumes|
|SWEETS, SUGARY TREATS||CHROMIUM, PHOSPHOROUS, SULFUR, TRYPTOPHAN||Sea vegetables like kelp or dulse, mushrooms, beets, nutritional yeast, grapes, dried beans, calves liver, chicken, beef liver, pultry, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, legumes, grains, chia seeds, garlic, onions, horseradish, cruciferous vegetables, kael, cabbage, chees, liver, lamb, raising, sweet potatoes, spinach.|
|BREAD, TOAST, SIMPLE CARBOHYDRATES||NITROGEN||High protein fish, meat, nuts, beans|
|OILY SNACKS, FRIED, FATTY FOODS||CALCIUM||Mustard greens, turnip greens, broccoli, kale, legumes, cheese, sesame and chia seeds|
|COFFEE, TEA, CAFFEINE||PHOSPHOROUS, SULFUR, SALT, IRON||Sea vegetables, whole grains, meat, fish, dairy, nuts, legumes, seeds.
Egg yolks, red peppers, garlic onion, cruciferous vegetables, salt, apple cider vinegar, black cherries.
BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
The following supplements can help you strengthen your immune system:
- Drinking at least half of your numeric body weight (in pounds) in ounces of water or extra healthy fluids daily
- Vitamin D3 supplementation has a strong correlation to the strength of immune system function, specifically keeping vitamin D3 levels above 50 mg/ml. It may be necessary to take as much as 5000–15,000 IU. One study said 4000 IU/day in pregnancy
- A high dose (at least 20 billion probiotics bacteria per serving) should be taken for maximum benefit: Ultimate Flora Vaginal 50 billion Probiotic
- Apple cider vinegar is an ancient remedy and can be used as a dietary supplement (1 oz, 1–3 times daily),
- Washing your hands with hot water and simple bar soap
- Excerpted from “Pregnancy and the H1N1 Flu Virus.” Read the full article on the Midwifery Today Web site.
It’s easy to forget about how important your diet is while you’re pregnant. Do your best every day to remember that you not only need to nourish your own body but also your baby’s body.