The Nutrients You Need In The Second Trimester
Learn the key nutrients you and your baby need during your second trimester of pregnancy, from expert nutritionist Larissa from Future Foody
4 min read
For many women, the second trimester of pregnancy is a welcome time as this is often when the morning sickness has subsided and they start to feel better. When I was pregnant with Maisie it was as if a light was switched on the day I reached the second trimester as that standard morning sickness was gone. And I am lucky enough that it has happened again with pregnancy number 2.
However, I have been quickly reminded of some of the glorious second trimester traits (if you have ever woken up in the middle of the night to leg cramps you will understand me here!) along with a few other things I didn’t get to experience the first time around.
Goodbye morning sickness, hello appetite
I was very happy to have some of my appetite back, and it was definitely nice to enjoy eating fresh fruit and vegetables again (and now I can’t get enough!). While eating for two is now a little truer, the additional requirements are around 340 calories each day to support the growth of baby. This equates to a small meal or snack, such as a slice of toast with avocado or some cheese and crackers.
In your second trimester, you’ll still need plenty of these nutrients:
As the baby is rapidly growing its need for iron is increasing, which means my needs have increased from pre-pregnancy as well. It’s important if you are feeling tired that you get your iron levels checked for deficiencies. I find it difficult, at the moment, to eat a ‘normal’ size steak in one sitting, so I try to get my iron from both regularly eating small quantities of meat and also from eating non-haem or plant-based sources.
While my requirements for calcium haven’t changed this trimester because, during pregnancy, the body becomes more efficient at absorbing calcium. Personally, I’m a big fan of drinking cow’s milk but I love all other dairy. So I always make a conscious effort to ensure that I’m getting enough calcium through a variety of foods such as dairy, canned sardines and salmon, seeds, beans and lentils, green leafy vegetables and almonds.
I haven’t been eating as much fish as I would normally. Fatty fish is especially important for the omega 3 fatty acids needed during pregnancy as it has been shown to support infant brain development, improving cognitive development and increasing fine motor skills in children. Also, there has been some recent evidence to suggest that a high intake of omega 3 fatty acids are linked to a reduction in the risk of developing allergies in children.
Magnesium (Mg) is one of the essential minerals needed in large amounts by humans and it plays a role in regulating body temperature, synthesis of nucleic acids and proteins, as well as maintaining electrical potentials in nerves and muscle membranes (aghhhh nasty leg cramps!). It can also be found in dairy products, breads and cereals, legumes, vegetables and meats.