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Dr. Tom Brewer's name may not be familiar to you. He isn't in the public eye much anymore. But Dr. Brewer, a pioneer in the field of nutrition and pregnancy, has spent the past 47 years of his life working as a trained obstetrician, counseling women in both research and clinical settings during their pregnancies. He has fought a lifelong -- and uphill -- battle to conquer disorders of pregnancy and complications of birth, by doing something as simple as making it his business to see that pregnant moms are properly nourished.
Over the past five decades, Dr. Brewer has been frustrated by the failure on the part of health care providers to recognize the important role played by good nutrition during pregnancy and, moreover, to make this an important part of their practice, counseling pregnant mothers in the importance of good nutrition. Brewer believes that it is crucial that pregnant women eat a healthful, balanced diet every day during their pregnancy. Rarely does a pregnant woman get asked by her obstetrician what she is eating. Though they usually take an otherwise complete history, this important part of the puzzle is ignored. Why is one of the simplest solutions (like a good, balanced diet) often ignored and ultimately forgotten?
What set Dr. Brewer on this path? As a medical student, Dr. Brewer worked on the ward at the Charity Hospital in New Orleans. He was fascinated by teachings about toxemia. He was told that it was a disease of poverty, and also commonly seen in teens and poorly controlled diabetics. James Ferguson, his first instructor at Tulane and New Orleans Charity Hospital, made an big impact on him as he discussed how the high rates of disorders such as toxemia seen in poor women in the South were due to the extremely poor diets of these impoverished women. He began to ask the women in the wards what they were eating. Many were living on hominy grits, cornbread and sorghum. It was not long before Dr. Brewer became convinced -- the missing link was nutrition.