Having a healthy diet and proper nutrition in the second trimester of pregnancy is very important because this period will directly impact the mother and baby’s health. A healthy diet ensures that the fetus receives the nutrients it needs to grow. Today, this critical debate has been emphasized as much as possible for pregnant women to avoid processed and unnatural foods and to switch to a healthy and nutritious diet.
Do’s and Don’ts of Nutrition in the Second Trimester of Pregnancy:
Proper nutrition can prevent premature birth, high blood pressure, and preeclampsia. Women during pregnancy should make sure that they receive vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates for the healthy growth of the fetus. However, the body still needs more work in the second trimester of pregnancy. In this section, we will introduce the essential foods that are useful and necessary in the second trimester of pregnancy:
Iron helps carry oxygen to the body. During pregnancy, iron provides enough oxygen for the baby to grow.
Some important sources of iron are:
- Lean meat
- Cooked seafood
- Vegetables with green leaves
- Beans and lentils
- Bran (including bread and barley)
- Whole grain breakfast
People who do not eat meat can also increase their iron absorption by eating foods rich in vitamin C at the same time.
Some sources of vitamin C include
Oranges, strawberries, and tomatoes. Pregnant women should try to avoid foods rich in iron and calcium and their supplements at the same time because calcium reduces iron absorption.
Women should consume 152 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight daily to help the fetus’s brain and body grows at this stage of pregnancy. Protein is also essential for the growth of the uterus and breast.
Some important sources of protein are:
- Lean meat
- Lentils, beans, and peas
- Cooked fish
The recommended amount of calcium per day during pregnancy is 1000 mg, and if you are not under 18, this amount should reach 1300 mg per day. Calcium helps keep your baby’s bones and teeth healthy, as well as muscle and circulatory function.
Some important sources of calcium are:
- Dairy products (milk, yogurt, and pasteurized cheese)
- White beans
- Salmon and sardines (with bones)
- Vegetables such as cabbage and broccoli
Folate is a B vitamin, and the synthetic form of folate is called folic acid. Folate is essential during pregnancy because it prevents neural tube defects, including spina bifida, and dramatically reduces preterm birth risk.
Research shows that folic acid significantly reduces the risk of congenital heart defects, but more research is needed. Women should take 400 to 800 mg of folate or folic acid daily during and before pregnancy.
Some important sources of folate include:
- Beans, peas
- Vegetables with dark green leaves; Spinach and cabbage
Some whole grains are like rice.
It is good to take folic acid supplements before and during pregnancy because there is no guarantee that a person will get enough folate from food sources.
Vitamin D helps build the bones and teeth of a growing fetus. The recommended amount of this vitamin during pregnancy is 600 units per day.
The body can absorb vitamin D from the sun, but some people are deficient in vitamin D due to a lack of sun exposure and other factors.
Some important sources of vitamin D include:
- Enriched foods such as; Cereals and milk
- Fatty fish like; Salmon – Tuna, and mackerel
- Fish liver oil
- liver of sheep
- Fortified juices and other beverages
Vitamin D supplements are suitable for people who do not live in sunny weather.
Omega 3 fatty acids
Mother and baby can benefit from omega-3 fatty acids in their diet. These fatty acids are essential for developing the fetus’s heart, brain, eyes, and immune and nervous systems and preventing preterm birth, and reducing the risk of preeclampsia and postpartum depression.
The recommended amount of omega-3 fats during pregnancy is 1.40 grams.
Some important sources of omega-3 fatty acids are:
- Fatty fish-like; Salmon, tuna, and sardines
- fish oil
- Chia seeds
Vegetarians should take omega-3 supplements to meet their omega-3 needs during pregnancy.
Pregnant people need more water to hydrate their bodies than ordinary people.
Water helps form placentas and amniotic sacs, and dehydration during pregnancy can cause complications such as neural tube defects and decreased breast milk.
Pregnant women should drink at least 8 to 12 glasses of water a day to prevent dehydration and its complications.
In general, the Ministry of Health recommends that pregnant women choose foods that fall into five main food groups.
These five groups are:
- the vegetables
Other substances in the second trimester of pregnancy:
- Green beans
- Greek yogurt
- Dried fruits
- peanut butter
- Sunflower seeds
- Now that you are more than halfway through your pregnancy, it is essential to re-evaluate your diet.
- 2 or 3 servings of lean protein per day or at least 75 grams per day
- Three or more servings of whole grains a day
- 4 to 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily
- Four dairy or calcium-rich meals a day
Proper nutrition for mothers in the fourth month of pregnancy:
During the fourth month of pregnancy, many fetus organs are formed, and the fetus begins to move. During this month, due to the rapid growth of the fetus and the formation of its bone mass, the nutritional needs of him and the mother increase, and the mother should use the following foods in the fourth month of pregnancy:
To prevent constipation, the mother should eat fiber-rich foods such as whole grains, legumes, and vegetables. Consumption of fiber-rich foods regulates the overall function of the mother’s body.
Eating essential fatty acids such as omega 3, 6, and 9 this month by eating fresh fish, freshwater, tuna, nuts, and olive oil can prevent premature birth, low birth weight, and brain problems at birth.
Taking vitamin D in pill form this month strengthens fetal bones. To get calcium and vitamin D, a pregnant woman should consume one liter of pasteurized milk, 500 grams of pasteurized curd, and 200 grams of pasteurized cheese daily during this month.
A pregnant woman should include freshly cooked meat sources in her diet during this month.
Also, consuming fresh seasonal fruits with various colors will be useful this month.
Proper nutrition for mothers in the fifth month of pregnancy:
In the fifth month, the mother is more inclined to eat due to hormonal changes and accelerated fetal growth.
From the fifth month, the fetal growth spurt begins, and the mother’s body needs to produce 3 to 6 liters more blood, so she needs more iron. Eat iron-rich foods such as meat.
During this month, the mother should drink more water and eat fiber-rich foods to prevent constipation. In the fifth month of pregnancy, a pregnant woman should receive the equivalent of 30 grams of fiber per day. Consumption of fiber causes more problems, such as hemorrhoids.
Due to the growth of various fetal organs and tissues such as muscles and skin, the mother should increase protein-rich foods such as lean red meat, chicken, eggs, nuts and cereals, soy, cooked peas, sheep cheese, and tofu.
It is harmful to use salad dressing rich in sodium in the fifth month of pregnancy.
Pregnant women should eat fruits such as apples, pears, bananas, kiwis, oranges, and grapes daily during this month.
Proper nutrition for mothers in the sixth month of pregnancy:
During the sixth month of pregnancy, eating carbohydrate foods such as potatoes, pasta, sweet corn, whole grains, and nuts or twice a day is recommended for both mother and fetus’s health.
During the sixth month of pregnancy, a pregnant mother can eat vegetables such as beets, carrots, asparagus, spinach, cabbage, squash, turnips, eggplant, green beans, and tomatoes, the vitamins and minerals needed by the body and fetus.
In the sixth month of pregnancy, it is better to use fresh fruits such as bananas, grapes, kiwis, apples, pears, and oranges to get the vitamins your body needs.
Regular daily consumption of pasteurized milk, yogurt, and cheese is essential to provide the body’s protein and calcium in the sixth month of pregnancy.
This month, it is better for the pregnant mother to consume water and natural fruit juices and drink 6 to 8 glasses of fluids daily.
You should also consider the following points for proper nutrition:
- Limit high-fat, high-sugar, high-sodium foods.
- Take vitamins every day during pregnancy.
- Use the six main food groups for the health of the mother as well as the fetus.
- Follow a specific diet plan set by your doctor for your age and weight.