Eating a healthy balanced diet when you’re pregnant, is the most essential thing you can do for your baby.
The meals you eat are the main source of nourishment for your baby, so it’s important to eat meals that are rich in nutrients. Proper nutrition can aid boost your baby’s growth and development.
What you can eat during your second trimester
A healthy diet consists of:
- plenty of water
These five food groups are:
The USDA has a MyPlate Plan for Moms that allows you to calculate how much of each food group you should eat to get the recommended levels of vitamins and minerals.
It’s also helpful to eat foods containing omega-3 oils, which are vital for your baby’s brain development.
Foods that contain one or more of these nutrients include:
Tips for healthy eating
It’s important to plan and cook meals at home to assure you maintain a balanced, good diet. If it’s too hard or time-consuming to cook a meal every night, consider making one or two large dishes each week and freezing portions for quick weeknight meals.
Fresh food is always the preferred option, but there are also some fairly healthy frozen dinner options that you can buy at the store. Make sure to read the labels and only choose dishes that are low in fat and sodium.
Frozen vegetables are another option. Stocking up on these can save you time when you want a quick, healthy meal.
There are a few foods that you should limit or avoid consuming while you’re pregnant, including raw meat, eggs, and certain types of fish.
Always avoid eating big fish, such as swordfish, shark, and king mackerel. These fish are recognized to contain high amounts of mercury, a chemical element that can harm your baby.
Try to restrict your intake of other seafood to 8-12 ounces per week, which is considered to be two to three average meal portions per week. This includes seafood that’s relatively low in mercury, such as:
- canned light tuna
Avoid eating any unpasteurized products during pregnancy, as these may have bacteria that can cause infections. This includes unpasteurized milk, milk products, and juices.
Certain soft cheeses are often made with unpasteurized milk and are best avoided unless the label clearly indicates that they’ve been pasteurized or made with pasteurized milk. These include:
- blue cheese
- queso fresco
It’s okay to drink coffee or other drinks with caffeine while you’re pregnant, but try to limit your consumption to one or two cups per day.
Now that you’re more than halfway through your pregnancy, it’s particularly important to reevaluate your diet.
The Cleveland Clinic recommends:
- 3 or more servings of whole grains per day
- 4 or 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day
- 2 or 3 servings of lean protein per day, or at least 75 grams per day
- 4 servings of dairy products or foods rich in calcium
You should also ensure you’re:
- consuming foods with necessary fats
- restricting your intake of high-fat, high-sugar, and high-sodium foods
- taking your prenatal vitamins every day
Your doctor can help you create a more specific meal plan based on your age and weight before pregnancy.
Food cravings and food aversions
Many pregnant women encounter cravings for at least one type of food or aversions to particular foods. It’s unclear why women develop food cravings or aversions during pregnancy, but doctors and researchers believe hormones may play a role.
Pregnant women often crave:
- spicy foods
- comfort foods, such as mashed potatoes and cereals
It’s okay to give in to these cravings sometimes, especially if you crave foods that are a part of a healthy diet.
Pregnant women can have an aversion to some foods. This implies they never want to eat these particular foods.
This may only be uncertain if women have an aversion to foods such as vegetables or dairy products that are important for the baby’s growth and development.
Speak to your doctor if you’re having adverse effects on foods that are necessary to a healthy second-trimester diet. Your doctor can suggest other foods to eat or supplements to take to compensate for the lack of certain nutrients in your diet.
Weight gain during the second trimester
Women who are of average weight should gain 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It’s normal to gain less weight if you start out heavier or to gain more weight if you were underweight before pregnancy.
The extra weight you gain during pregnancy provides nourishment to your baby and is also stored for breastfeeding after you have your baby.
Many women become self-conscious about their weight during pregnancy, but the number on the scale is less important than healthy eating. Try to focus on eating a variety of nutritious foods as opposed to your weight.
Dieting to lose weight or prevent weight gain during pregnancy is detrimental to both you and your baby. Try buying new clothes that flatter your figure if you feel self-conscious about the weight you’ve gained.
Exercising during pregnancy can also help you manage your weight. You should avoid any extreme sports or contact sports, such as water skiing, basketball, or soccer.
If you didn’t exercise before pregnancy, start moderately and don’t overdo it. It’s also important to drink plenty of water during exercise so that you don’t get dehydrated.