Second Trimester Nutrition Tips
Find out what nutrients you must consume to maintain a healthy pregnancy and contribute to your baby's healthy growth and development.
For many, morning sickness will subside in the second trimester which will make it easier to adjust your diet to get the right nutrition.
Key Nutrients for the Second Trimester
The nutritional requirements increase during pregnancy and it is ideal to try to get appropriate nutrition. It is an ideal time to nourish your baby's regular development with important nutrients such as vitamin D, DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid), and folic acid.
- Vitamin D: It helps support healthy bone development and it is important to have adequate amount of Vitamin D as some studies suggest a link between vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy and risk of preterm birth, low birth weight, gestational hypertension, and gestational diabetes. While getting enough sun can help the body produce vitamin D, it can also be found in foods like fish and eggs.2,3
- DHA: While there are many benefits of DHA intake for mom and baby, perhaps most importantly is the link between omega-3 fatty acids and baby’s brain development.4
- Folic acid: This B vitamin is critical to the development of baby’s neural tube, so getting enough of it can help prevent birth defects of the brain and spine.5
Taking a prenatal vitamin can help ensure that you are receiving an adequate amount of these important nutrients and reaching your second trimester nutrition goals.
Tips for Eating During the Second Trimester
A common question that goes hand-in-hand with what to eat during the second trimester is how much weight should be gained in the second trimester. Weight gain guidelines are based on a woman’s body mass index (BMI) before pregnancy. For women with a normal BMI it is recommended that they consume an additional 340 calories per day and will gain approximately 1 lb (0.5kg) per week this trimester.6
Try planning your meals for the day in advance so you can be sure you are getting all the nutrients you need—and you don’t succumb to your pregnancy cravings. Focus on getting the correct amount of second trimester nutrients when you plan your meals:7,10
- Calcium: 1,000 milligrams (mg)—dairy and eggs, white beans and almonds, tofu, greens, and sardines and salmon.
- DHA and other omega-3s: >200 milligrams (mg) daily—oily fish and fish oils, seeds.
- Folate (or folic acid): 600 micrograms (mcg)—leafy greens, legumes, whole grains, and oranges.
- Iron: 27 milligrams (mg)—cooked meats and seafoods; nuts, beans, and lentils; leafy greens; and whole grains.
- Protein: 60 grams a day—cooked meats and seafoods; nuts, peas, beans, and lentils; and eggs.
- Vitamin D: 600 International Units (IU)—fatty fish and fish oils, liver, cheese and eggs, and mushrooms.
Adhering to correct food safety guidelines while pregnant is critical to ensuring you and baby stay healthy.
Staying Hydrated in the Second Trimester
Staying hydrated is important for pregnant mom as it helps form the amniotic fluid around the fetus and aids digestion. Water also helps your body circulate nutrients in the body and remove wastes from the body:8
- Increases your energy
- Helps regulate temperature and keep you cool
- Helps keep skin soft and clear
- Reduces pregnancy-related swelling
- Reduces the risk of urinary tract infections, constipation, and hemorrhoids
Pregnant women are advised to consume 8 to 12 glasses of water per day (64-96 ounces). To ensure you’re properly hydrated, take a peek at the color of your urine during your frequent trips to the bathroom—it should be pale yellow or clear.
Second Trimester Exercise Ideas
With your doctor's permission, stay active during your pregnancy with safe exercises to promote wellbeing and healthy weight maintenance. Some exercises you may consider adding to your routine during the second trimester include:9
- Low-weight strength training
- Walking or other low-impact aerobics
- Stationary biking
Aim to do around 30 minutes of exercise a day, but feel free to start with as little as 10 minutes and work your way up.9 In fact, the Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommend 150 minutes of exercise per week. Ask your doctor about which exercises are best for you, and keep in mind that staying active is an important part of self-care during your second trimester.