The Dr. Brewer Pregnancy Diet
Brewer Pregnancy Diet Weekly Record
The Diet
Weekly Record
Special Needs
No-Risk Diet
Weight Gain
Bed Rest
Herbal Diuretics
Twin Pregnancy
The Twin Diet
Premature Labor
Blood Pressure
Mistaken Diagnoses
Underweight Babies
Gestational Diabetes
In Memory
Other Issues
Morning Sickness
Colds and Flu
Registry II
Registry III

SPUN Diet Food Record (Basic Requirements)

No calorie counters or protein counters required! Just one check-mark in each box!

This is the chart for the Basic Plan (see "Diet" page for portion sizes). If you are using one of the Vegetarian Plans or the Twin Plan, please use the specific chart for that plan.

See here for portion sizes for the Basic Plan of the Brewer Diet

See here for the Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian Weekly Checklist

See here for the Vegan Vegetarian Weekly Checklist

See here for the Twin Weekly Checklist

If you check off each food every day, you will know that you have satisfied the Brewer minimum recommendation for 2600 calories, 80-120 grams protein, and salt-to-taste. Please check off only one box for each food (i.e. put a check mark in either "Milk" or "Protein" for a glass of milk, but not both)

Remember that this Basic Plan is just the baseline minimum of the Brewer Diet. There are some women with some situations in which this Basic Plan will be completely inadequate. So please evaluate your own unique situation to see whether you may need to add some additional calories or salt or protein to your personal version of the Brewer Diet. The information following this checklist will help you to do that personal evaluation.

And please be aware that as your baby and the placenta grow, and as the seasons change, and as other changes occur in your life, you may find that your unique version of the Brewer Diet, which you used effectively last week, may no longer be adequate this week, or next week, or next month. To get the most benefit out of the Brewer Diet, you will need to stay in tune with what your unique needs are every single day.









































Vitamin C


Vitamin C


and Oils


and Oils


and Oils


Vitamin A













Reprinted and adapted from Right From the Start, by Gail Sforza Brewer and Janice Presser Greene, 1981.

Right from the Start available here

Lifestyle Adjustments: As you evaluate your nutrition and lifestyle, it would also be helpful to evaluate your level of activity and add extra nutritious calories if you use extra calories during the week, with jogging, biking, skating, skiing, or other sports, or other extra calorie-depleting activities, like teaching, dancing, waitressing, nursing, doctoring, or other activities that keep you on your feet all day. Caring for other children, working both outside and in the home, caring for other family members, and housework would also use up a lot of calories, especially as the baby gets bigger and you burn up calories just carrying around the extra weight of the baby, uterus and extra blood volume. You can also evaluate whether other stresses in your life might be using up extra calories. If you have had extra stresses in your life, then adding extra nutritious calories and other nutrients to compensate for those calorie-burning stresses would help to keep your blood volume expanded and your pregnancy and baby healthy.

See here to help you evaluate your daily nutrition patterns

See here for a nutrition/lifestyle self-assessment which I highly recommend

Eating Patterns:The usual eating pattern that we suggest that pregnant women can use to keep up with their nutritional needs is as follows: breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, mid-afternoon snack, supper, bedtime snack, middle-of-the-night snack. If you are having trouble keeping up with the amount of food that you need, or if you are having trouble keeping your blood pressure within a normal range, we suggest that you eat something with protein in it (glass of milk, cheese cubes, handful of nuts, handful of trail mix, etc), every hour that you are awake.

Please be aware that traveling and moving can disrupt your eating routine just enough to trigger a low blood volume problem which can start the rising BP/pre-eclampsia/HELLP/premature labor/IUGR/abruption process. Putting the brakes on that process can be more difficult than preventing it. Sometimes just being aware of this danger is enough to help you to remind yourself to continue providing for your nutritional needs, in spite of any changes and stresses which may be going on in your life.

Morning Sickness: If you are dealing with nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, it is vitally important to try to alleviate those problems as soon as possible, since they also contribute to depleting your blood volume. You can try frequent, small snacks, herbs, and homeopathy to help you in this effort. If you decide to try using ginger, which can be very effective for "morning" sickness, use it only in small amounts, and only just before eating some kind of food, since too much ginger can cause bleeding and possibly miscarriage.

See a resource for homeopathy for morning sickness here

See here for more suggestions of ways to alleviate morning sickness

Adjusting for Salt Loss: It would also be helpful for you to evaluate whether you are ever in situations that result in your losing extra sweat and salt--situations such as gardening in hot weather, exercising, living in hot homes during the winter, or living without air-conditioning in the summer, or working in over-heated working conditions. If you do have one of those situations, it would be helpful for you to add extra salt and nutritious fluids to your daily nutrition. This extra effort will help to keep your blood volume expanded to where it needs to be to prevent elevated blood pressure, pre-eclampsia, and other complications.

See here for more information about the importance of salt in pregnancy

Calories plus Salt plus Protein: Eating the recommended amount of protein every day isn't enough to keep your blood volume expanded to where it needs to be for preventing complications in pregnancy. It is also vitally important to make sure that your intake of nutritious calories and salt are also at the recommended levels, with special extra allowances added as needed for your unique situation.

See here for more information on the importance of calories in pregnancy

In September of this year (2008) a study came out from Denmark which seems to emphatically support something which the Brewers and their supporters have been saying for over 30 years. That is that pregnant women who lose extra salt, or burn extra calories, through extra exercise NEED to compensate for those losses by adding extra salt and calories to their diets. When they do not make special allowances for their unique needs in this way, their blood volume will drop, and they will develop rising BPs, pathological edema, pre-eclampsia, HELLP, IUGR, premature labor, underweight babies, and other complications associated with low blood volume. This particular study was looking at only pre-eclampsia, and only at recreational exercise, but those of us who understand the Brewer principles understand that the same principles do apply to all of these other complications, and to any source of salt/fluid/calorie loss, as well.

"Pregnant exercise 'unsafe'"

Read more.......

"Women who exercise during pregnancy face risk of pre-eclampsia, researchers warn"

Read more.......

"Exercise in pregnancy linked to fatal raised blood pressure condition"

Read more.......

Herbal Diuretics: Unfortunately, some areas of the "alternative medicine" community have followed mainstream medicine in the belief that diuretics are important and useful for treating edema and elevated blood pressure in pregnancy. Many pregnancy teas and some supplements and juices include nettle, dandelion, alfalfa, bilberry, or celery, all of which have diuretic properties. Diuretics are no safer for pregnancy in herbal form than they are in prescription medications, so it is important for pregnant women to watch which herbs they are taking.

See here for more information about the use of herbal diuretics in pregnancy

Empowering Women: I would also like to add here the assurance that Dr. Brewer was not blaming the mother for her situation, as some would claim that he was, and neither am I. He is clearly blaming her doctor for not having the routine of examining her nutritional status and doing a differential diagnosis for her. He is saying that if her doctor is not doing this with her, then it is most important for her to do it for herself, for the sake of her own health and that of her baby.

The following is reprinted from "Chapter 1" of Eating for Two, by Isaac Cronin and Gail Sforza Brewer, 1983.

"The Complete Pregnancy Diet: Meeting Your Special Needs", by Gail Sforza Brewer (p.1)


Agnes Higgins, past president of the Canadian Dietetic Society and director of the Montreal Diet Dispensary [as of 1983], has developed a procedure for estimating calorie and protein requirements in excess of the pregnancy levels we've already established as a baseline. She emphasizes that any of the following factors increases a mother's nutritional needs:

  • Vomiting past the third month of pregnancy.
  • Pregnancies spaced less than a year apart.
  • Previous pregnancy with low birthweight, neurologically handicapped, or stillborn child as the outcome.
  • A history of two or more miscarriages.
  • A history of toxemia.
  • Failure to gain ten pounds by the twentieth week of pregnancy.
  • Serious emotional problems.
  • Working full-time at a demanding job.
  • Breastfeeding an older baby during pregnancy.
  • Multiple pregnancy (twins or more).
  • As a corrective allowance, Mrs. Higgins and her staff counsel mothers to add twenty grams of protein and two hundred calories to their basic daily pregnancy diets for each condition listed above (an individual mother may be experiencing more than one of these stress conditions).

    Multiple pregnancy is the only exception: each extra baby requires a nutritional supplement of thirty grams of protein and five hundred calories per day. Higgins comments that this requirement can be met most economically by adding one quart of whole milk a day to the expectant mother's diet (to be drunk, used in cream soups, custards, milkshakes, cream pies and tarts, or as exchanges in yogurt, ice milk, and natural cheeses). Of course, there are many other ways to increase the protein and calories during pregnancy by eating an additional four-ounce serving of meat, fish, shellfish, poultry, or meat substitute as detailed on the diet list. A sample daily menu plan for a mother expecting twins would look something like this:

    Generally speaking, these conditions result in an increased appetite; however, women who are working, moving their households, or under emotional stress sometimes fail to pay attention to their bodies' signals for more food. Calling special attention to their extra needs by assigning specific goals for extra protein and calorie consumption makes it much less likely that their nutritional needs will go unfulfilled.

    Undernutrition means any protein deficit between what you're used to getting from your food and the minimum adequate pregnancy requirement (eighty to a hundred grams per day). The Higgins nutrition intervention method uses a twenty-four hour diet recall, a technique you can use on your own to see how close your regular diet has been coming to what you actually need. You will need to write down everything you've eaten for the past twenty-four hours (pick a typical day for you), including all snacks, all beverages, and all second helpings. Note what the food was, how much you ate, then consult the Protein-Calorie Counter (see Appendix) to check the amount of protein contained in those portions of those foods. For each gram of protein you lack, add that to your personal protein goal, plus an additional ten calories to free that protein for its most important work in pregnancy: keeping you own tissues healthy and building those of your unborn baby. If you come up with a deficit of ten grams of protein, then, you also need to add a hundred calories to your basic requirements.

    See here for entire chapter, "The Complete Pregnancy Diet: Meeting Your Special Needs"

    Eating for Two, by Gail Sforza Brewer and Isaac Cronin, available here

    Perinatal Support Services: