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Second Trimester Nutrition

Proper nutrition during pregnancy is particularly vital for both you and your developing baby.

What to Eat During Your Second Trimester

The second trimester of pregnancy is likely when you’re feeling your best. Morning sickness is starting to fade, and your energy is coming back. Your baby—and you—are growing fast, which is why nutrition is particularly important during the second trimester.

Here is how you can meet your changing nutritional needs, from the experts at Valley Perinatal Services.

What to Eat

What you eat will be the main source of nutrition for both you and your child, so make sure to eat nutrient-dense foods to promote growth, development, and health. Pick fresh foods and prepare your meals at home whenever possible. If you don’t have the energy to cook every night, try making a large meal and dividing it up into portions to freeze.

Take prenatal vitamins to ensure you get all the nutrients you both need, especially if you experience aversions to healthy food. Your doctor can make recommendations based on your needs. Remember, if you have food cravings it is perfectly ok to give in occasionally, especially if those cravings are for healthy foods.

Each meal should include at least three food groups: protein, whole grains, fruit, vegetables, dairy, and healthy fats. Your nutritional needs include carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and plenty of water, but for the second trimester your baby will really need calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D to promote bone and tooth growth. Their brain will also need omega-3 oils to develop, and folic acid to make sure their nervous system is on the right track. You will also need plenty of protein and iron to create new tissue and blood cells and to avoid anemia.

What to Avoid

Most foods can be eaten in moderation and be fine for you and your child. Foods that are high in sugar, fat, and sodium should be kept to a minimum. If you experience heartburn you might find spicy, rich, and fatty foods can also be problematic.

Avoid raw or undercooked meat, eggs, and fish. Large fish, like swordfish, can have high amounts of mercury, so avoid them and limit your intake of low-mercury seafood to two meals a week. Because of the danger that excess vitamin A poses, avoid liver.

Unpasteurized milk or milk products and some soft cheeses like brie, blue cheese, and feta should be avoided due to the risk of bacterial infection. Eat lots of fruit, vegetables, and salads, but make sure to wash fruits and veggies well to avoid consuming excess chemicals or bacteria on their surface.

On Gaining Weight

Pregnancy isn’t a time to be worried about dieting. In fact, dieting with the goal of losing weight can be harmful for you and your child. Let your body tell you when you need to eat and focus on eating a healthy variety of nutritious foods. You will gain weight during pregnancy, but this extra weight is going toward nourishing your child. The weight you gain helps create additional breast tissue, increases your fluid volume, contributes to placental growth, increases your uterine muscles, and creates extra stores of fat and protein for breastfeeding later.

Light exercising can help you manage your weight during pregnancy. Activities like swimming and walking are ideal, but avoid extreme or contact sports. Consult your doctor before starting any new fitness routine, start slowly if you didn’t exercise much before your pregnancy, and make sure to stay hydrated.

Valley Perinatal Services Nutrition Counseling

When you’re a high-risk expectant mother, you want to make sure everything from preconception to delivery goes as smoothly as possible. The perinatologists and specially-trained staff at all seven Valley Perinatal Services locations in the Phoenix area work with your Ob/Gyn to provide you with the most comprehensive healthcare team possible.

We offer nutrition counseling for women who are concerned about feeding themselves and their children, whether their concern stems from a multiple pregnancy, diabetes, or another challenge in getting the fuel they need during their second trimester. For more information, call 480.756.6000 or get in touch online.