What to eat during 2nd trimester of pregnancy?


Welcome back ladies. Congratulations for a smooth-sailing first trimester. But your journey has just begun. We have two trimesters to go. In the last blog, we ran you through the essential meals that need to be consumed during the 1st trimester of pregnancy. Now, we will take you through the whats and what nots when it comes to diet during the 2nd trimester. With the right plan, it will be a cakewalk, so fear not.

Before we get into the diet plan, here’s everything you need to know about the second trimester.

Commonly known as the ‘honeymoon’ period, it is the span from week 13 to 27 of pregnancy. You begin to feel the baby’s first movement because the baby begins to develop, with the formation of the body parts. You also begin to experience some discomfort in the stomach along with abdominal aches because of the growing uterus and the stretching of the surround ligaments.

At this stage you experience rapid mood swings, but the good news is that nausea doesn’t come up anymore. This helps you eat the necessary meals required for a healthy second trimester, and most importantly, help your child grow.

What to Eat

  • During the second trimester, calcium, vitamin D, protein and fibre form the most important food bracket.
  • Foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids help the baby’s brain develop along with the nervous system.  It is also known to help protect against heart diseases and help the mother fight prenatal depression and help prevent preterm birth. Fish is the richest source of omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Calcium and vitamin D help in the development of the baby’s bones and teeth. However, if you don’t consume enough calcium for the baby’s development, your body will take the calcium from your bones and reduce your bone mass. This puts you at risk of developing osteoporosis. Semi-skimmed milk is a good substitute for those who are conscious of their weight. It is rich in calcium and magnesium. Another healthy option is calcium-fortified soya foods such as soya yoghurt.
  • Iron helps increase your resistance to diseases. It is important to have an iron-rich diet because the body absorbs iron more efficiently during pregnancy. Iron also helps you overcome tiredness, weakness and depression. The best sources of iron are lean meat, chicken, fish, grains and leafy vegetables. Iron also plays a big role in creating red blood cells for the baby. If you are anaemic, you might have to take the help of iron supplements, but only under supervision.
  • Now, coming to the most important food group during the second trimester of pregnancy – Proteins. Your protein requirements are bound to increase during pregnancy and it’s ideal to consume between 75 to 100 grams of protein per day. Food like lean meats, fish and eggs are good sources of protein for non-vegetarians while beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, soy and grains are protein-rich for vegetarians.
  • However, note that excessive intake of rich protein can lead to constipation. In order to avoid this situation, it is important to include food rich in fibre to balance the protein intake. Fruits and vegetables that are rich in fibre are the best option, especially those that are seasonal. You should consume two types of vegetables for lunch and two types of vegetables for dinner. One leafy and one seasonal vegetable would be ideal.

What not to eat

  • We know this doesn’t classify as food, but as all popularly consume it these days, it is extremely vital to know that alcohol is a strict no-no at this stage. Once in your system, alcohol can go past the placenta and reach your baby’s bloodstream. This can impair your baby’s mental and physical development.
  • We had just spoken about fish being a great source of omega-3 fatty acids that help aid your baby’s brain development. However, some fish possess potentially dangerous levels of mercury, which can harm the baby’s developing nervous system. Also, it’s safe to say that uncooked, refrigerated and raw fish should be avoided completely.
  • Talking about raw food, it is also advisable to check if the meat you consume (poultry included) is completely cooked. Canned meat and processed meat like sausages, bacon, ham etc. should be avoided. Also, raw eggs can contain harmful bacteria, so make sure the egg is completely hard before consuming it.
  • Caffeine possesses health risks during pregnancy as well. Drinking too much caffeine can increase the risk of miscarriage. It is recommended to limit the amount of caffeine to less than 200 milligrams a day during pregnancy.
  • Avoid unpasteurised milk or any food made out of them. It is advisable to eliminate soft cheese like brie, camembert and soft cheese made from goat’s milk.

If you follow a healthy diet and carefully follow the dos and don’ts, half the battle is won. It makes a world of a difference when you stick to a healthy diet. After all, you have another trimester to go!

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