Congratulations on your pregnancy! You’ve now reached the second trimester! This is a phase of super-fast growth for your baby, so it is important to really focus on eating as healthy and balanced as you can. With your morning sickness slowly fading away, let’s look at some good food choices for the second trimester that you shouldn’t miss!
Why is the second trimester important?
The second trimester is the phase where your baby develops nerves, functioning organs and muscles. The whole of second trimester is a flurry of exciting developments, one after another!
- First urine
- First red blood cells
- Scalp hair pattern
- First eye movement
- Toe nails
- Hearing sounds
- Uterus for girl babies
- Thumb suckling
All happen in the second trimester. Failing to eat nutritious food during this period increases the chances of high BP, preeclampsia and preterm birth later in the pregnancy.
Your body also needs slightly more food during this phase to help your baby grow. Let’s look at the major nutrients you need to include in your diet.
Pregnant women need more water than others. The amniotic fluid and breast milk are majorly dependent on water.
Iron is the element that helps carry oxygen to all parts of our body, including the little growing baby. You must take at least 27 mg of iron per day.
- Leafy greens, Nuts, Seafood, Lean meat, Whole grains, Lentils and beans are important sources of iron.
Vitamin c helps iron absorption, so pair iron rich food with a glass of orange juice. Calcium disturbs iron absorption, so must be eaten after 2 or 3 hours.
Lack of iron can trigger postpartum depression, so ask your doctor for supplements if you are prone to depression.
Protein, the body building food, is necessary for the development of organs in the baby. You must eat around (your weight) x 1.5g of proteins every day. Proteins also help your uterus expand and strengthen your abdominal muscles to bear the weight of the baby.
- Nuts, Meat, Eggs, Tofu, Fish, Lentils, peas and beans are good sources of protein.
Another important element, calcium is needed for the baby’s bones and teeth to form. You need 1000 mg of calcium a day when pregnant. Calcium also plays an important role in our muscle, nerve and circulatory system regulation.
- Eggs, Milk, cheese, yoghurt, Almonds, White beans, Tofu, Salmons, sardines and Greens are food rich in calcium.
Folic acid is the synthetic version of folate, a type of Vitamin B. folate is important in pregnancy because it prevents neural defects and heart defects in babies. It also reduces the chances of premature labor. It is recommended to take around 400 to 800 mcg of folate daily.
- Green leafy veggies like cabbage, spinach and collards, Black eyes peas and legumes, Whole grains and Oranges are good sources of folic acid.
It is mostly impossible to meet daily requirements for folates from food alone, so you can opt for supplements or fortified food.
Omega 3 fatty acids
The omega 3 fatty acid is an essential element that supports the central nervous system, immune system, eyes, heart and brain. It also keeps away postpartum depression and lowers the risk of preeclampsia and premature birth. You need around 1.4 g of omega 3 fats every day.
- Fish oil, Oily fish like sardines, tuna, mackerel, salmon and herring, Flaxseeds and Chia seeds are rich in omega 3.
Fish is the best option as the fatty acids from the seeds can sometimes go unabsorbed. Algae based supplements can help vegetarians get their omega 3.
Vitamin D helps in the development of bone and teeth. But as we all know, it is an elusive element that our body makes from the sunlight. You can eat fatty fish, fish liver, cheeses, egg yolks, beef liver and UV exposed mushrooms to get your vitamin D. if you are not in a sunny climate in your second trimester, you can opt for supplements.
What food should you avoid in the second trimester?
Eating raw, uncooked food is a big no no. no raw seafood, eggs or meat. Fishes with high mercury levels must be avoided too. Alcohol and sweeteners are prohibited too, while caffeine must be limited to as low as possible.
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