New Weight Gain Recommendations for Moms-to-Be

Posted on June 8, 2009. Filed under: Pre eclampsia, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Brewer Diet | Tags: , , , , |

I thought long and hard about what my first post should be about and I think keeping up with the current news seemed appropriate. In the spirit of all things birth, here are the newest recommendations on weight gain in pregnancy.

Here is a link to an article discussing the new recommendations.

But I kind of have a problem with this. Instead of asking moms “how much weight have you gained?” maybe we should be asking “what are you eating?” instead. So often moms are told to eat healthy and balanced. We are supposed to do that anyway but especially when we are pregnant. But what does healthy and balanced mean anyway? What does a pregnant women really need? How much nutrition counseling are we getting at our prenatal appointments? Are we even talking about nutrition at prenatals or are we just stepping on the scale month after month and getting a little slap on the hand when we go above the ‘limit’? And by the way, contrary to popular belief, you cannot build a baby from the extra stores of fat on your hips.

In the U.S. we have so much access to so much processed food and fast food. We have so much junk food available to us 24/7 and well, anyone who has been pregnant knows that cravings are hard to resist. The thing is though, that when we are pregnant we need so much more than what tater tots (guilty here!) and candy bars can provide. We need more than sugary cereal for breakfast and a soda at lunch to settle our queasy stomachs. I think that it would much more productive if during prenatal visits ample time were spent on nutrition counseling rather than focusing on the scale. It’s already been proven that diet can control gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia and PIH. How about preventing it? Yep, that too.

Dr. Tom Brewer is one of the leading experts on pregnancy and nutrition. The Brewer’s Diet focuses on protein, the building block of pregnancy and salt which is necessary and should not be restricted. Dr. Brewer spent 50 years dedicating his life to helping women be healthier in pregnancy, feel better in pregnancy and to have healthier babies. His research demonstrates that good nutrition can help prevent still birth, premature birth, pre-eclampsia, anemia, placental abruption, infection and miscarriage His research showed that by eating properly that many of the common problems of pregnancy can be avoided and he did this without ever worrying about weight gain. He stressed that the amount of weight you gain is not an indicator of the nutritive value of your diet.

Protein is vital to a baby’s growth. During pregnancy, protein and amino acids are needed for the placenta. Your baby’s physical growth depends greatly on protein. New tissues and organs grow by laying down and combining millions of proteins. The Brewer Diet suggests that 80-100 grams of protein a day are necessary for an expecting mom.

Concerning salt intake he says
:
“Salt restriction during pregnancy limits the normal expansion of the blood volume, with disastrous consequences. Depending on the degree of sodium restriction and the subsequent blood volume limitation the placenta may:

* grow slowly, or not at all,
* develop areas of dead tissue (infarcts) that cannot function,
* be unable to accomplish the transfer of nutrients to the baby,
* even begin to separate from the wall of the uterus, causing hemorrhage and cutting off the baby’s oxygen supply.”

Here is a printable copy of the diet.

Below is what the printable copy has on it:

If You Are Pregnant

Have you ever tried to watch your nutrition with the diets in popular pregnancy books? It’s downright frustrating! Dr. Brewer’s diet is simple, yet powerful. No double-counting certain foods in different categories, or complicated calculations of grams and calories. Just print this sheet and check it off daily. PLEASE print it as many times as you need to! Make copies!! Pass it on to your friends! Spread the word!!! (Sorry, this form is not interactive, the boxes are just for looks.)

Every day of the week, you and your baby should have:

Milk Servings (8 grams each) = 32 grams
Eggs (6 grams each) = 12 grams
With just 2 eggs and 4 glasses of milk you’ve already laid
a “protein foundation” for today’s excellent nutrition!
You’re halfway there! Subtotal = 44 grams
Meat/Protein (avg. 25 grams each) = 50 grams
Green Leafy Veggies (under 1 gram each) = 2 grams
Other Veggies (under 1 gram each) = 1 gram
Whole Grain Bread (2 grams each) = 6 grams
Citrus Fruit or Juice (~1 gram each) = 1 gram
Other Fruit (under 1 gram each) = 1 gram
Butter (1 gram each) = 3 grams
Protein Grand Total (if all boxes checked) = 109 grams
And don’t forget the following foods weekly:
Whole grain cereal (oatmeal, wheatena, etc.)
Yellow or orange fruits and veggies
Liver (if you like it)
A whole potato, any style.
If you were overweight before pregnancy, or have been diagnosed with diabetes (or simply don’t like potatoes ;-)), skip the potato and choose instead from the following list: large green pepper, grapefruit, lemon, lime, papaya, tomato (one piece of fruit, or one large glass of juice).
Congratulations! You’ve given your baby the best possible start in life by eating right TODAY! Simply do this every day during pregnancy, one day at a time, and you’re doing everything you can to ensure that you and your baby won’t suffer from toxemiaAs-defined-by-the-1997-Merriam-Webster-M…, low birth weight, IUGR, and a host of other nutrition-related ills. Way to go!!

There are also checklists for lacto-ovo vegetarians and vegans and moms expecting multiples.

So, while yes, we probably shouldn’t be gaining 75lbs in pregnancy, I think rather than setting weight restrictions on women it would be much more helpful and productive if dietary suggestions were being published instead. Everyone should do their own research and homework. I mean, who I am I to throw a diet that I believe in on my blog and expect everyone to follow it? We have to take responsibility for ourselves and our bodies and our babies so go read about it!

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22 Responses to “New Weight Gain Recommendations for Moms-to-Be”

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Glad you started a blog!
Yes! I gained 45 lbs with each pregnancy (but it looked like a lot less). Luckily, I never had a care provider tell me it was too much, but when I saw the recs were 20-25lbs it made me think that they couldn’t possibly be right. The focus should definitely be on nutrition, not numbers. I did Brewer with my second pregnancy. I should link to the Brewer Diet in my sidebar.

Great first post :) I really like the part about asking moms what they are eating as opposed to how much weight they’ve gained. I had a long conversation about this with my midwife at the start of the pregnancy and found it is much healthier for me mentally and physically to focus on the quality of my diet rather than a number on the scale.

Thanks Meridith! I am glad that your midwife was very approachable on the subject.

Karen, that is great that your providers never gave you a hard time. Obviously your body needed that weight, it was consistent between the pregnancies and if you did Brewer’s the second time, obviously it was quality nutrition.

Excellent! I read the new recommendations as well and thought the same thing you did. My OB is known for being a weight nazi. Fortunately I only gained 37lbs with my twins which is on the low end of the recommendation so she couldn’t give me grief. But I think this is where my Bradley class did a good job. I was never able to each much during my pregnancy, but because I was educated on which foods pack the most nutrients, I was able to eat well. I love, love the checklists. So easy.

The Bradley classes do a fantastic job of teaching nutrition. I was always so worried about getting my checklists correct and filled out so I didn’t disappoint my instructor! And yes, quality over quantity goes a long way, especially when you have morning sickness or you are in late pregnancy and have no room in your stomach.

Great first post!!!! I have been trying to eat better even before pregnancy so this gives me a good outline to go by.

Thanks Micah, I hope it helps!

Setting realistic expectations about post-partum weight loss would be another good topic to cover.

Fabulous idea, I am on it!

What if you can’t drink milk? Is there an acceptable substitute? And I usually eat 3 eggs every morning rather than 2. :-) I never got the hang of this diet, I’m used to counting carbs for my daughter with Type 1 Diabetes, but not protein. lol I was thrilled with my midwives during my last pregnancy though. They never made a fuss about how much I weighed, they did ask what I was eating. That was the pregnancy that I gained the least amount of weight in too. :-) Probably because I wasn’t so worried about it all the time!

Great post. :-)

I would think that the acceptable substitute for milk in the Brewer diet would be protein to equal the recommended amount plus calcium or calcium supplements. Probably no more eggs for you though ;) I would imagine switching gears was tough. I also don’t think that we necessarily have to stick to a rigid diet, I think it’s just nice to have guidelines with some research behind it. The Brewer diet has both.

This is great…yet another reason I’m referring my ladies to your site. I agree with mamaseoul. I had a conversation with several clients this morning about how it is so important not to expect ANY thing post partum regarding weight loss, especially not the first few months. I have women in bootcamp squeaking in at a doctor approved (!!!!???) 5 weeks post SECTION. I want to hand their signed permission slips back and tell them to park it. We are so intent on “getting our bodies back” that I think we lose sight of what we were doing to get it that way in the first place…that being: having a child. I’ll look forward to your thoughts on this!

It’s hard not to want to jump right back in but our bodies are designed to hold a little weight. Six months is reasonable. My breastfeeding course for doula certification went into this topic extensively. I will post on it soon.

[...] Tom Brewer also claims that with the Brewer Diet, preeclampsia can be prevented. On the website it [...]

[...] for Labor … on To Epidural or Not to Epi…Preparing for Labor … on New Weight Gain Recommendation…doulamama1 on The Affects of Preeclampsia an…mamaseoul on The Affects of Preeclampsia [...]

Thanks for starting this blog! I would like to add my website as another resource for info about Dr. Brewer and his principles, philosophy, and diet. Keep up the good work!
Joy

http://home.mindspring.com/~djsnjones/

Thanks Joy, I had already added you before I even read this comment. Your website is an incredible resource.

[...] Brewer Diet, as I discussed in a previous post, focuses on protein, salt and calories. Joy goes into depth on the benefits of the diet and how [...]

This is just to let you-all know that the address for my website (“The Dr. Brewer Pregnancy Diet”) is changing. During the transition, the website will be available through both addresses for awhile. The new address is…

http://www.drbrewerpregnancydiet.com/

Best wishes,
Joy

[...] my experience and do whatever they can to have a healthier pregnancy. Please see my posts about the Brewer diet and Optimal Fetal Positioning. I feel as if my cesarean was necessary. It took some time to [...]

[...] New Weight Gain Recommendations for Moms-to-Be « Doula MommaJun 8, 2009 … The Brewer’s Diet focuses on protein, the building block of pregnancy and … The Brewer Diet suggests that 80-100 grams of protein a day are … [...]


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