More Info on the Brewer Diet

Posted on June 26, 2009. Filed under: Birth, Pre eclampsia, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Brewer Diet | Tags: , , , , , |

This website is very informative and explains how the Brewer Pregnancy Diet works in great detail. The author if the site is Joy Jones. She is an RN and childbirth educator with extensive knowledge of the Brewer diet and nutrition in pregnancy.

The 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 nutrition can affect:

Premature Labor
Blood Pressure
Mistaken Diagnoses
Underweight Babies
Gestational Diabetes

As I have said before, diet cannot necessarily cure every pregnancy issue but it can affect many aspects of pregnancy and it is something that we can and should control. Please be sure to read about the Brewer diet if you are pregnant and pass this on to anyone you know that is pregnant.

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The Effects of Preeclampsia and How to Prevent It

Posted on June 14, 2009. Filed under: Pre eclampsia, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Brewer Diet | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Preeclampsia is a disorder that only occurs during pregnancy and just after in the postpartum period. It can affect both the mother and the unborn baby and is estimated to affect between 5-8% of pregnancies. It can be very dangerous and it along with some related disorders are responsible for about 76,000 maternal deaths and 500,000 infant deaths per year. It is not something to mess around with.

The symptoms of preeclampsia are high blood pressure, presence of protein in the urine, sudden weight gain, headaches, swelling and blurred vision. It is typically rapidly progressing which is why when a woman’s blood pressure is higher than what her normal has been during the pregnancy, the care providers tend to start watching closely.

Preeclampsia is most common in the first pregnancy. The risk factors for preeclampsia are:
Previous history of preeclampsia, particularly if onset is before the third trimester
History of chronic high blood pressure, diabetes or kidney disorder
Family history of the disorder (i.e., a mother, sister, grandmother or aunt who had the disorder)
Women with greater than 30% Body Mass Index (BMI).
Multiple gestation
Over 40 or under 18 years of age
Polycystic ovarian syndrome
Lupus or other autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, sarcoidosis or MS.

The chances of having preeclampsia in a second pregnancy are kind of vague. According to

” If I had preeclampsia in my first or an earlier pregnancy…

There has not been significant research looking at the rate of reoccurrence in subsequent pregnancies, however the consensus among experts is that preeclampsia in a previous pregnancy is the single largest risk factor for developing preeclampsia. It is entirely wrong to say that if you had it in your first–you will not get it again. The risk of having it again is approximately 20%, however experts cite a range from 5-80% depending on when you had it in a prior pregnancy and how severely you had it.

The risk increases if since your previous pregnancy you have developed chronic hypertension, diabetes, or if you are having IVF, twins or other multiples, as well as the risk factors mentioned above.”

Often times women are given magnesium sulfate to prevent preeclampsia from becoming full on eclampsia (seizures and possible stroke). With severe preeclampsia, women are given the magnesium sulfate while still pregnant. Because preeclampsia is the largest known cause of prematurity in the U.S., treatment with magnesium sulfate often buys enough time to administer steroids to strengthen the babies lungs.

The side affects of magnesium are:
# Flushing
# Nausea
# Vomiting
# Palpitations
# Headache
# General muscle weakness
# Lethargy
# Constipation

The risks of magnesium sulfate are:
# Cardiac arrest
# Pulmonary edema (lungs fill with fluid; can be fatal)
# Chest pain
# Cardiac conduction defects
# Low blood pressure
# Low calcium
# Increased urinary calcium
# Visual disturbances
# Decreased bone density
# Respiratory depression (difficulty breathing)
# Muscular hyperexcitability

The risks to the baby are:
# Hypocalcemia
# Hypercalcemia
# Motor depression
# Decreased muscle tone and drowsiness
# Respiratory depression
# Meconium ileus
# Long bone demineralization
# Congenital rickets
# Radiographic bone changes
# Neuromuscular blockade with gentamicin
# Marked hypotension with nifedipine

In short, it’s nasty, mean stuff (even meaner than pitocin for all you ladies who got a kick out me calling pit nasty and mean)

If you had preeclampsia in your first pregnancy (especially if you had magnesium!) you are probably wondering if there are ways to prevent it in subsequent pregnancies. There is contradictory information on this. Some doctors say you can’t prevent it, some say you can. There aren’t too many ways to say that you can’t prevent it so I guess I don’t have to go into detail with that. I will explore possible ways to prevent it. The way I see it is if the potential prevention methods won’t hurt, why not try?

It has been suggested that increasing dietary fiber can prevent preeclampsia. The study suggests that out of 383 women, the ones who consumed more than 24 grams of fiber a day (the top 25% for consumption) has a 51% reduction in the risk for preeclampsia. So go eat some fiber ladies!!! Your body will thank you in more ways than one;)

Dr. Tom Brewer also claims that with the Brewer Diet, preeclampsia can be prevented. On the website it says…

“It’s not genetics. It’s not random. The cause is NOT unknown. Toxemia CAN be stopped. PreeclampsiaA-toxic-condition-developing-in-late-pre… CAN be stopped. Best of all, YOU can stop it!

HOW? All the scientific research being done on toxemia and preeclampsia these days is focusing on treatment, and none of it is promising. But the research has already been done, many times and many ways in the past 50+ years, and we know that you can PREVENT this from happening to you in the first place, no matter what your personal history may be. The simple answer? GOOD NUTRITION.

Common sense tells you to eat right when you’re pregnant, and traditional wisdom says you’re “eating for two“. So why are doctors telling you to cut out salt, avoid gaining too much weight, and giving you little or no information about what IS a good diet for pregnancy? Why is the medical community so disinterested in this information? As one doctor put it, “No one is going to make any money off good nutrition.”

The simple prevention methods are to be sure to drink lots of water, avoid alcohol and caffeine.

Exercise has also been suggested as a prevention method. Basically, exercise improves circulation which in turns improves blood pressure.

Speaking of exercise, stretching exercises may be more effective at reducing the risk of preeclampsia than walking is for pregnant women who have already experienced the condition and who do not follow a workout routine, according to researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing. So get some prenatal yoga videos and go for it!

Other possible prevention methods are:

* Before becoming pregnant, ask your doctor to perform a thorough evaluation of your blood pressure and kidney function.
* If you or a close relative had vein or lung blood clots before, ask your doctor about testing you for clotting abnormalities (thrombophilias ). These genetic defects increase your risk for preeclampsia and placental blood clots.
* If you are obese, consider weight loss.. Weight reduction may decrease your risk of developing preeclampsia again.
* If you have insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, good control of your blood sugars before becoming pregnant and early in pregnancy reduces your risk for having preeclampsia again.

The prevention of preeclampsia has been the focus of multiple clinical trials. The following medications and supplements have been extensively studied for their potential to prevent preeclampsia:

* calcium (for example, Os-Cal);
* fish oil supplements (for example, Promega);
* supplements with vitamins C and E; and
* baby aspirin (for example, Ecotrin Adult Low Strength).

However, large studies have not shown calcium supplementation, baby aspirin, or fish oil supplementation to be beneficial in preventing preeclampsia. Early studies with vitamins C and E show a possible beneficial effect, but larger studies should be conducted before these agents can be broadly recommended. .

So, what do I think (for what it’s worth, right?)? I think that if it’s not going to cause any harm then try it! If it were me I would:

Get tested for thrombolphilias (I am biased, I have a blood clotting disorder but still if you can treat that and maybe prevent PE, go for it!)

Follow the Brewer diet as best I could
Exercise: walking and prenatal yoga daily
Lose any extra weight before getting pregnant again
Eat lots of fiber (but if you are doing Brewer’s you probably already are)
Drink lots of water (I read one 1/2 ounce per lb of body weight)
Make sure to get lots of calcium and vitamin C

Good luck all you mamas who had it round one. I wish you all the best for round two;)

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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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