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Second Trimester Foods During Pregnancy: Here’s What You Should Eat

The Second Trimester of Pregnancy: What to Expect

In general, the second trimester lasts for around 14 weeks, starting sometime around the 14th week of gestation and lasting till up to the 27th week (Month 4 to Month 6). During this period, most expecting mothers start feeling some relief from the early symptoms of pregnancy, including nausea, morning sickness, constant fatigue, and breast tenderness. This is the period during which the foetus develops the most, with its weight multiplying up to 7-8 times.

Expecting mothers will find their appetite increasing once more as the morning sickness subsides. However, it is important to keep track of the diet in the 2nd trimester of pregnancy, as the mother should only be gaining around 0.5-1 kg in weight per week. While many expecting mothers may not feel their baby move till the sixth month of gestation, for most women, ‘quickening’ generally starts around the 20th week, and they can feel the delicate flutters as their baby starts moving for the first time. The foetus has a developed digestive system by the end of the first trimester and can now even taste the food ingested by the mother, which is believed to have an effect on the baby’s tastes and food preferences later in life, which makes the diet of the 2nd pregnancy trimester all the more important.

Importance of the Second Trimester Diet

Although eating a healthy, nutritious diet is important for everyone, it becomes even more important for pregnant women. During the 2nd trimester of pregnancy, the diet chart that is followed can significantly affect the brain development and overall growth of the foetus. Other than this, consuming proper amounts of healthy foods during the second trimester can also help reduce the risks of several birth defects in the unborn baby, while helping the mother maintain a healthy weight gain. The nutritional requirements of a woman change significantly throughout pregnancy and the second trimester diet, supporting the maximum amount of development that the foetus undergoes, is one of the most important ones during gestation. A healthy diet during the second pregnancy trimester can help reduce the chances of several complications, like preterm birth, preeclampsia, etc. Ideally, a diet chart for the 2nd trimester should include an extra 300-350 calories to support the changes in the body as the baby bump starts showing. It is also important to ensure that the second trimester diet should not just be filling, but it should have the right amounts of nutrients that the mother requires.

Foods to Eat in the Second Trimester

The blood volume in the mother’s body tends to increase by 40-50% to support the baby’s growth, which makes iron one of the key nutrients to be added to the 2nd trimester diet. Other nutrients include proteins to support the growth of the foetus and the mother’s uterus, calcium for the smooth functioning of the nerves, circulation, and muscles, and the growth of the baby’s bones and teeth, vitamins, etc.

The list of foods to eat during the second trimester can vary from woman to woman based on their health and nutritional requirements, but a diet chart for the second trimester should ideally include foods like:

  • Green Vegetables

Green, leafy vegetables are an excellent source of iron and magnesium, two nutrients that are important for the development of the foetus. For pregnant women, it is important to include enough green vegetables in their everyday diet. The inclusion of green vegetables in your second pregnancy trimester food chart can also help reduce the chances of developing iron deficiency, which is a common issue among pregnant women.

  • Dairy Products

Dairy products are a good source of calcium, which helps in the formation of the baby’s bones and teeth and is another essential nutrient for the second pregnancy trimester food chart.

  • Nuts

With high protein, fibre, healthy fats, and mineral content, nuts are among the best second trimester foods. They are also a healthier alternative to other types of snacks that pregnant women might munch on to deal with their sudden increase in appetite. Being very nutrient-dense, nuts are also suitable foods for women who may still be struggling a bit with nausea.

  • Fruits

Fruits like pomegranates, oranges, etc. can work like superfoods for pregnant women. They are rich in iron and several other essential nutrients and also help with morning sickness. Seasonal fruits can also be added to the 2nd trimester pregnancy diet chart based on the mother’s requirements.

  • Legumes

Legumes are great sources of vitamins, minerals, and protein. Other than this, they also provide fibre, which helps avoid common issues like constipation and haemorrhoids.

Foods to Avoid in the Second Trimester

Apart from the list of good foods, there is another second trimester food chart for pregnancy that states what an expecting mother should avoid eating during this time.

It is important to ensure that one’s diet chart for the second trimester does not include foods like:

  • Seafood

Certain fish that have high mercury content should be avoided during pregnancy. This includes swordfish, king mackerel, sharks, etc., and may lead to several complications. However, seafood with lower mercury content, like shrimp, salmon, catfish, etc., can be consumed safely, but only after the doctor allows for the same.

  • Unpasteurised Products

Pregnant women tend to be more susceptible to certain infections. Consuming unpasteurised products, like milk, juice, cheese, etc., can increase the chances of such infections.

  • Caffeine

Caffeine may cause constrictions in the blood vessels of the uterus and placenta, reducing the blood supply to the foetus and inhibiting its growth.

  • Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners increase the chances of developing gestational diabetes, which may in turn lead to several other complications as well.

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