Pregnancy Weight Gain

As a certified Bradley natural childbirth instructor, I followed the Brewer Diet during pregnancy.

I like that it promotes a well-balanced diet based on whole foods and that it doesn't restrict calories or worry about a woman's overall weight gain.

In my Bradley training, we actually mapped out all of the instructors-in-training's pregnancy weight gains on a chart. Everyone in the room had had at least one healthy, natural birth (a prerequisite for becoming a Bradley instructor), and the average weight gain was 40 pounds! Not the 25-35 pounds you generally hear about. Everyone in the room had followed the Brewer Diet during their pregnancies and we were all reasonably healthy (no one was obese).

The thought process here is that if you are eating a well-balanced diet and avoiding processed foods, your body will gain the weight it is meant to gain.

I gained 44 pounds with Quincy and he weighed 10 pounds even. I gained only 40 pounds with Gabe and yet he weighed 10.5 pounds. With Teddy, I gained 38 pounds and she weighed 9 pounds and 11 ounces.

38 weeks pregnant with Quincy

38 weeks pregnant with Gabe

38 weeks pregnant with Teddy
In general, big babies are healthier than smaller babies. There's a stigma in America associated with big babies -- I think because of the diabetes epidemic and because people are scared they can't birth a big baby...but you don't know until you try!

Back to my pregnancy diet...

The Brewer Diet website is alas pretty dense and outdated looking so I wanted to write up my own quick summary as well as some of my own pregnancy diet hacks.

DISCLAIMER: I am obviously NOT a doctor. This is my personal interpretation of the Brewer Diet and how this diet has worked for me in practice through three pregnancies.


1. Four servings of milk/milk products.

2. Calcium replacements - as needed. I always ate my four servings of dairy and my prenatal vitamin has calcium so I don't really worry about this. The only time I upped my calcium was if I got leg cramps. Then I would eat some almonds and/or an extra calcium supplement AND a magnesium supplement which helps with calcium absorption.

3. 2 eggs Thank you backyard chickens for the most delicious eggs ever!

4. >80 grams of protein

Sample of how I get to 80 grams of protein in one day:

2 eggs = 12 grams

Glass of Milk with Carnation Instant Breakfast Mixed In = 12 grams

Green Smoothie with Protein Powder = 20 grams

Collagen Peptides Drink (more on this under #11 below) = 18 grams

A serving of chicken or beef at lunch = about 20 grams

A serving of chicken or beef at dinner = about 20 grams

TOTAL = 104 grams so even if I skip the meat at lunch I'm at 84 grams

5. 2 servings of dark, leafy greens I ate one salad a day and/or one green smoothie when a salad didn't seem palatable.

6. 5 servings of Whole Grains After reading a lot about the Whole30 and being gluten free at home due to John's sensitivity, I admittedly don't get as much of these but I'm also not convinced they are totally necessary as long as you eat enough vegetables to get fiber in your diet. And believe me, you know when you don't have enough fiber in your diet...

7. Vitamin C via whole foods like citrus fruits, leafy greens, broccoli, tomatoes, or strawberries. Admittedly strawberries and tomatoes are my fave ways to get my Vitamin C.

8. 3 servings of fat/oils This is not a license to go crazy, but just a reminder that your body needs some fat and oils to process the rest of your diet. My faves are butter, olive oil, and avocado.

9. 1 Vitamin A whole food such as cantaloupe, carrots, pumpkin, or sweet potato. I've started dicing and eating half a squash or sweet potato with my eggs each morning and am loving it!

10. Liver once a week. Ok, I grew up eating liver and onions but no one else in my family is interested and I find the smell of liver cooking no bueno while pregnant so instead I found this awesome Beef Liver supplement by Vital Proteins.

I also got a big jug of Collagen Peptides. Two scoops of this in 8 ounces of your fave beverage gets you EIGHTEEN extra grams of protein a day!

Since I'm aimed for 80-100grams of protein to virtually eliminate my chance of toxemia/preeclampsia, that 18 grams really helps!

Obviously, this is a lot of food! The Brewer Diet also recommends drinking water to thirst and salting food based on your taste. If your body is craving salt, there's probably a good reason! Your blood volume doubles during pregnancy and that takes sodium to maintain.

If you live in or around Albemarle County, my next Bradley class is starting next Sunday, January 15th! This class would be ideal for women due in April through June.