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7 Healthy Foods To Eat During The Second Trimester Of Pregnancy

With the start of the second trimester, you will probably feel relaxed and away from the troubles of exhaustion and morning sickness. During the second trimester of pregnancy, the foetus will start growing and developing rapidly. The genitals of the baby will be formed along with toenails, fingers, eyes, teeth, hairs and bones. The movement of the baby also starts during this trimester.

Food choices during the second trimester of pregnancy play a vital role in maintaining the health of both the mother and the foetus. As most of the organs of the foetus are formed during this time, the mother may feel hungrier and need extra nutrients to assure the healthy growth of the baby without any complications.

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Nutritional Requirements For Second Trimester

Medical experts suggest that during the second trimester, women need to increase the intake of iron, vitamin D, magnesium, folate, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids in their diet. Iron helps supply oxygen to the foetus, calcium ensures the smooth functioning of nerves, muscles and circulatory system, folate prevents the risk of premature labour, vitamin D is important for the development of bones and teeth in the foetus, omega-3 fatty acids support the health of brain, heart and central nervous system while magnesium prevents complications like Intrauterine growth restriction. Also, the daily intake of calorie should be increased by 300-500 calories which must include all the aforementioned nutrients. Try not to overload your stomach all the time as it may cause some complications due to overweight.

Healthy Foods During The Second Trimester

Here is a list of healthy foods best suggested during the second trimester. Make a note and must include them in your diet plan.

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1. Seafood

Seafood is a rich source of iron that helps in the production of extra haemoglobin during pregnancy. Lack of iron in the body during the second trimester can increase the risk of anaemia [1], postpartum depression and premature birth. The recommended amount of iron required during this time is 27 mg [2]. Other foods rich in iron are lean meat, nuts, fortified cereals and legumes.

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2. White beans

White beans are rich in calcium which is important for multiple mechanisms like hormone and enzyme functioning, the formation of teeth and bones and smooth functioning of muscles and circulatory system in the foetus [3]. 100 g of boiled white beans contains 69 mg of calcium. Lack of calcium during the second trimester can cause preterm birth. The recommended amount of calcium for pregnant women is 1000 mg [4]. Other sources of calcium are milk, yoghurt, eggs, kale and tofu.

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3. Black-eyed peas

Black-eyed peas are a good source of folate or folic acid which helps in building genetic material, producing red blood cells and boosting immunity. Deficiency of folate in a woman's body during the second trimester can cause megaloblastic anaemia and neural tube defects. Consumption of 400-800 mg daily is recommended during the second trimester. Other sources of folate are beef liver, asparagus, spinach, brussels sprout and other green vegetables. [5]

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4. Brown Rice

Brown rice is packed with magnesium and other nutrients like selenium, vitamin B6, manganese and phosphorus. 100 g of brown rice contains 43 mg of magnesium. This nutrient is beneficial for the teeth and bone development of the foetus and it also prevents the risk of cerebral palsy. Lack of magnesium during the second trimester may cause hypertension, preterm labour and miscarriage. Pregnant women (19-30 age) should consume around 350 mg of magnesium/day. Other magnesium-rich foods are bananas, nuts and yoghurt. [6]

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5. Fatty fish

Fatty fish like salmon and tuna are rich in vitamin D. Consumption of vitamin D during the second trimester improves multiple physiologic processes like calcium absorption by the body and fetal skeletal development. It also helps in boosting immunity, facilitating cells growth and cell metabolism. Lack of vitamin D causes the risk of gestational diabetes, low birth weight and preterm birth. The recommended amount of vitamin D during the second trimester is 200-400 IU/d. Sun is the main source of vitamin D while foods like cheese and egg yolks are naturally rich in this vitamin. [7]

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6. Flaxseeds or chia seeds

Omega-3 fatty acids should be an important part of the diet during the second trimester. It is an important building block of the foetus's brain and retina and helps prevent perinatal depression. Natural sources of omega-3 fatty acids are oily fish like tuna and sardines while flaxseeds and chia seeds are the plant-based sources that contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), another type of omega-3 fatty acid. Lack of it can cause a visual and behavioural deficit. The recommended amount of omega-3 fatty is 650 mg. [8]

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7. Dry fruits

Dry fruits are highly nutritious food during pregnancy. It includes almonds, figs, cashew, dates and many more which are rich in iron, calcium and protein and make for a great snack any time of the day. Consumption of dry fruits provides all the healthy nutrients required during the second trimester. The best thing about dry fruits is that it can be added to any food like yoghurt to enhance its taste and nutritional value. [9]

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Foods To Avoid During The Second Trimester

  • Raw or uncooked meat, fish or eggs
  • Blue cheese
  • Unpasteurized milk or dairy products
  • Mercury-rich foods like shark
  • Processed foods or ready-to-make foods like potato chips
  • Spicy foods like hot sauce
  • Coffee more than 2 cups
  • Artificial sweeteners like cola
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