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Can we talk Brewers Diet?

Last post 09-21-2009 11:57 AM by mary ellen. 24 replies.
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  • 08-07-2009 1:59 AM

    Can we talk Brewers Diet?

    Hi,

    Can you wise ladies give your thoughts on Dr. Brewer's pregnancy diet?

    What attracts me to it is that i had non-pre-eclamptic high BP during my pregnancy with DD.  It was probably related to my undiagnosed hypothyroidism, and i am now medicated, but i am interested in ANYTHING which can help keep my BP normal since high BP means you're hassled by every doctor you meet.  My BP was highish at booking i (131/85) and went up higher at the very end of pregnancy (up as high as 168/106 but that was taken when i was basically having a panic attack in the hospital as they were all talking about surgical births and i was booked for a homebirth!  10 minutes later on the same machine it was 135/98).  I managed to always get a diastolic reading of <100 in each session, which meant i never had to be medicated and i got my homebirth (whitecoat was a big factor for me), but the other day i saw one of those machines they use to take BP and my heart rate leapt up about 20bpm immediately, i am SCARED of those things!

    I have read Brewer's page and other things on the topic.  It's hard to see if it's generally thought to be a good idea or not.  Some midwives seem to think it's a great idea and really works (Ina May seems to like it) and others i have read online say it grows fat mamas and massive babies and is unnecessary.

    So what do you ladies think?  Do you advise it, or not?  What other BP-lowering/calming methods do you have mums undertake?  My situaton is completely different this time around, the baby will have a different father to #1 (which i know some think is a big factor in PE), my relationship is WAY less stressful, i enjoy my job more i'm a SAHM, and i am less naive and less inclined to be driven to panic by someone mentioning PE now, plus i will hopefully behaving an independant midwife who will be able to get to know ME and not rely on a bunch of cold observations on which to base my care.  BUt still, i am really interested to know if you ladies (midwives and mama's and anyone else reading!) feel Brewer's is notable/a good idea.

    I am SOOOOO thirsty right now, which could be eraly pregnancy, i just had a tall glass of milk to up my protein a bit ;)

    Bec

    Me 32, DH 41, DD 2006, DD 2010, DS 2013
  • 08-07-2009 5:35 AM In reply to

    • RobsGirl
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 02-04-2009
    • Mid-Hudson Valley, NY
    • Posts 364

    Re: Can we talk Brewers Diet?

    Hi Bec,

    I also like the diet.  I personally believe that its sugar and carbs that make for fat mamas and babies.  The Brewer Diet is not high in either one of those.  It is definitely higher in protein, and it seems like a lot of food to eat every day.  I followed it as best I could last time and gained exactly the same amount as with my other pregnancies (37 pounds) and had a nice 8 pound 3 ounce baby.  Not huge, not small either.  I too felt strong and healthy and the baby and placenta were as well.  Protein also helped a lot with my morning sickness this time.  Its also important to note that the Brewer Diet isn't just higher protein intake, its extra salt and water too.  Salt, water and protein all help your blood volume expand as it should.  So you should salt to taste, and not worry much about the leg swelling towards the end, as long as its not accompanied by sudden face and hand swelling and a rise in BP.  You've probably read this already, but the extra fluids you're carrying around are like nature's IV ensuring that mama has extra fluid available while birthing.

    I would also have your midwife check your BP when you're not overly excited or anxious, like after you've chatted for a bit, but before she checks everything else.  At my first appointment, they checked my BP right after we heard the baby's heartbeat for the first time.  I was so overjoyed and excited, that my BP was about 30 points above usual.  Maybe you checking it at home would be a good thing too.  Its nice that you'll be seeing the same midwife every time.  That will only help you be calm about whatever is going on.

    Gentlebirth.org has a lot of good info on the Brewer Diet, probably stuff on both sides of the issue.  But the thing that struck me the most was one midwife telling the story about a women who ate a lot of fruit every morning for breakfast thinking that she was having a really healthy breakfast for herself and baby.  She did this often and ended up having a very large baby.  Better off having a toast and a couple of fried eggs and maybe a small serving of fruit.

    RobsGirl, 31
    Wife of one fabulous guy (34)
    Mommy of 3 awesome boys, ages 11, 8, and 4, and a precious 2 year old daughter.


  • 08-08-2009 12:43 AM In reply to

    Re: Can we talk Brewers Diet?

    Hi ladies,

    Thanks so much! :)  This took on a more relevant edge this morning when i got a positive pregnancy test ;)

    I would agree that sugar tends to grow fatter mamas and fat (rather than large) babies.  DD was 7lbs 14.5oz, but 23 inches, so not fat at all, and my active labour was only 3 hours or so and she SHOT out.  I really don't mind having a big baby, i'm nearly 6feet tall and reckon i could get anything well-positioned up to about 11lbs out no problem at all and probably bigger with a bit more effort (i didn't push DD out since the midwife kept telling me i wasn't really in labour so my uterus did the work).  I'm not desperately worried about gaining pounds, but because i have a slow thyroid i do need to be aware of it and of what is metabolic malfunction and what is normal gain.  I gained 7lbs all up with DD (lost 7lbs from nausea then gained 14 back), all the gain was after the 34th week, and i lost it all again by day 4 PP, but i began that pregnancy.  Interestingly i NEVER had swollen feet or legs but i had swollen hands and face often at the end - these are classic PE with a rise in BP, but they kept testing for that, and i kept not having it.  Sadly it is also a classic symptom of hypothyroidism which they never tested me for even when i had a large goiter.

    At the moment i am relatively lucky in that i seem to be craving protein and water, not sure about salt but i don't think about it, just add it to taste so i assume i'm having enough.  It's the milk that worries me.  I mean, i had a normal day yesterday plus 16oz of milk and 2 boiled eggs and i was SO full.  Do you get used to having so much more protein?  It's so filling i seriously can't imagine i could get it all in day after day.  Even if i swap out a bunch for yogurt or cheese, it's still SO much food!  Hmmm, maybe i can make a paneer curry....

    I tend to have carbs a lot.  I think it's 1) a sugar addiction issue, and 2) a hangover from the days when i was running a lot and really could use up all those carbs no problem on a long run.  I've never tried eating more protein but it makes sense that if i do i will eat less carbs simply because i have no room for them.

    Well, keep the thoughts coming, this is so useful.

    Bec

    Me 32, DH 41, DD 2006, DD 2010, DS 2013
  • 08-08-2009 5:44 AM In reply to

    • RobsGirl
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 02-04-2009
    • Mid-Hudson Valley, NY
    • Posts 364

    Re: Can we talk Brewers Diet?

    Hi Bec,

    I wouldn't worry too much about Brewer Diet in the first trimester.  I would feel full at 4.5 weeks eating that much extra too. Just eat according to how you feel.  You'll see how it goes, if morning sickness sets in, etc.  Its more important, I would say, in the second and third.

    I had a lot of trouble with the milk and dairy.  I'm not a big milk drinker.  I would eat cottage cheese (16 grams protein per serving!!!) on toast or with a muffin.  I mix rice protein powder in yogurt.  And I do take some supplemental calcium just to be sure.  And I would count my protein grams.  On a normal day without thinking about it too much I would get at least 60 grams.  So with a little more thought I was pretty easily able to get up to at least 80.  I really didn't concern myself too much with getting that much dairy in specifically.  It was just too much for me.  Small things like sprinkling flax seeds and sliced almonds on my cold cereal with milk in the morning make a huge difference.  Making the same foods more dense nutritionally can really help.

    I too struggle with eating too many carbs.  I love them.  I have no help for you except that maybe trying to always eat a form of protein along with the carbs will help them be absorbed more slowly.

    Again, congrats!!

    RobsGirl, 31
    Wife of one fabulous guy (34)
    Mommy of 3 awesome boys, ages 11, 8, and 4, and a precious 2 year old daughter.


  • 08-08-2009 11:22 AM In reply to

    • RobsGirl
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 02-04-2009
    • Mid-Hudson Valley, NY
    • Posts 364

    Re: Can we talk Brewers Diet?

    This website has a wealth of info on Brewers Diet and they physiology of pregnancy and blood volume etc. 

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

    RobsGirl, 31
    Wife of one fabulous guy (34)
    Mommy of 3 awesome boys, ages 11, 8, and 4, and a precious 2 year old daughter.


  • 08-12-2009 8:45 AM In reply to

    • RobsGirl
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 02-04-2009
    • Mid-Hudson Valley, NY
    • Posts 364

    Re: Can we talk Brewers Diet?

    I've been hearing this from several people lately, and this isn't totally related to the Brewer's Diet, but hypertension in general---they're saying that cucumbers can lower blood pressure.  In fact, I've noticed myself more dizzy and tired (I already have low blood pressure) after I've eaten a larger serving of cukes (we're completely over-run by them right now, they're coming out our ears).  I wonder why this is.  Many other people notice a very quick drop in BP after consuming cucumbers as well.  Something to keep in mind, Bec.

    Another thing on the web site I posted was that anything that could lower your blood volume is potentially harmful to your pre-eclamsia risk.  She emphasizes that even herbal diuretics should not be used.  I wonder if cucumbers would fall under this category or if the way they work to lower BP is totally different???

    RobsGirl, 31
    Wife of one fabulous guy (34)
    Mommy of 3 awesome boys, ages 11, 8, and 4, and a precious 2 year old daughter.


  • 08-12-2009 3:55 PM In reply to

    • midwifea
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 02-12-2009
    • Kailua Kona, HI
    • Posts 475

    Re: Can we talk Brewers Diet?

    RobsGirl,

    I love cukes and recommend them to help a mama who's bp is creeping on up there.  One a day can really help stabilize the bp.  I know it has a mild diuretic effect but I don't think it has enough to change blood volume.  It works by aiding the kidneys and that helps lower bp. Watermelons and cucumbers help increase urination and flushing out of toxins. Cucumbers are rich in sulfur and silicon that stimulate the kidneys into better removal of uric acid. Maybe you should just limit yourself to avoid lowering your bp too much.

    Blessings,
    April
    moderator

    "The Voice

    There is a voice inside of you
    That whispers all day long,
    "I feel this is right for me,
    I know that this is wrong."
    No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
    Or wise man can decide
    What's right for you--just listen to
    The voice that speaks inside."
    — Shel Silverstein
  • 08-12-2009 5:16 PM In reply to

    • RobsGirl
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 02-04-2009
    • Mid-Hudson Valley, NY
    • Posts 364

    Re: Can we talk Brewers Diet?

    Thanks, April.

    That explains things.  I do try to limit myself, though its hard when I have a nice cucumber and red onion salad in front of me.  :-)

    RobsGirl, 31
    Wife of one fabulous guy (34)
    Mommy of 3 awesome boys, ages 11, 8, and 4, and a precious 2 year old daughter.


  • 08-12-2009 6:33 PM In reply to

    • midwifea
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 02-12-2009
    • Kailua Kona, HI
    • Posts 475

    Re: Can we talk Brewers Diet?

    Mmm, that sounds nice.  I love a good cucumber salad with onions, sesame oil, sesame seeds, rice vinegar and ginger ( we have a lot of asian influence here in the islands) maybe you can balance out the cukes bp lowering effect by eating something salty after!!

    Blessings,
    April
    moderator

    "The Voice

    There is a voice inside of you
    That whispers all day long,
    "I feel this is right for me,
    I know that this is wrong."
    No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
    Or wise man can decide
    What's right for you--just listen to
    The voice that speaks inside."
    — Shel Silverstein
  • 08-12-2009 7:04 PM In reply to

    • RobsGirl
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 02-04-2009
    • Mid-Hudson Valley, NY
    • Posts 364

    Re: Can we talk Brewers Diet?

    That sounds so great too!!  Thanks for the idea.  I'll have to try that recipe.  Thankfully, I do love salt and use it generously throughout the day.  Its probably the only thing keeping me upright at this point.  Stick out tongue

    RobsGirl, 31
    Wife of one fabulous guy (34)
    Mommy of 3 awesome boys, ages 11, 8, and 4, and a precious 2 year old daughter.


  • 08-18-2009 10:23 PM In reply to

    Re: Can we talk Brewers Diet?

     Brewer diet is great for preventing toxemia. But does tend to grow rather large babies. If your problem is just BP, not related to pre-eclampsia, then you would do good to just concentrate on BP lowering foods instead of Protein, not that adequate protein isn't important too.  It may be a good idea to do the Natures Sunshine Kidney cleanser (KB?) which is safe to use during pregnancy, (1 bottle, and you're done, don't keep taking it!) Then continue with BP lowering foods and herbs like; Hawthorn, celery, alfalfa, & melons. Taking a class that focuses on relaxation for childbirth, can also help you relax during any time of stress, which will also help lower your BP.

  • 08-26-2009 11:26 PM In reply to

    Re: Can we talk Brewers Diet?

    If you are looking to avoid/treat pre-eclampsia/toxemia successfully and yet not have an overgrown baby to push out, here are my thoughts, based on evidence and experience, incorporating some of the brewer diet with reality and personal experience:

    do these things daily: 

    *****Eat lots of protein(at LEAST 80 grams/day): chicken breast, fish, lentils, chana dal, egg whites with salt to taste

    *Also eat plenty of fresh green veggies

    *eat fruit with yogurt

    *don't overdo carbohydrates, when you do eat them (at least twice a day) eat WHOLE GRAINS (Rice and bread)

    ****AVOID SUGAR

    *lay off oils and fatty foods unless they are omega 3,6 sources such as fish flaxseed etc.

    *****Take a high quality vitamin B complex daily

    *****Drink plenty of water, DO NOT drink slimming or diuretic teas nomatter how natural, these will undermine your efforts. 

    hope that helps

    Jennifer Remeika, CPM ASM DEM LC

     

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