Optimum Nutrition – Trimester 2

After the first trimester, energy requirements increase in the second trimester. Now you only need extra 300 calories per day. The quality of food you eat is critical for your baby’s growth and development. Furthermore making nutritious food choices will ensure a desired weight outcome. A variety of factors influence weight gain in pregnancy, however on an average you must gain 0.7-1.3 kg during the first 3 months and 2 kg per month during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters.

Find below the key nutritional requirements during the second trimester:

In the second trimester, you must continue to eat a good balance of foods - fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean meats and healthy fats. At each meal, eat a small serving from at least three of the food groups. With special focus on your proteins and calcium intake.


Foods like Meat, Poultry, Fish, Eggs and Nuts provide protein, iron and zinc. In the second half of pregnancy, there is an increased demand for protein. It is now that your baby is growing rapidly. Depending on how much you weigh, the average protein requirement for pregnant women is about 40 gms to 70 gms each day.

Eating two to three servings of protein each day, will meet your protein requirements for you and your baby.

70 grams of protein approximately equals a bowl of yoghurt, palm size piece of chicken / paneer, 1 glass of milk, a bowl of thick dal / one egg omelet, 7-8 cashew and almonds.

Folic Acid

The intake of folic acid is slightly more in the second trimester. Continue to include in your diet – chickpeas (chole  chana), green peas, green leafy vegetables like spinach, methi, chawli leaves, dill (suva / shepu), radish (mooli) leaves, mustard greens (sarson), avocado, sweetlime, oranges, melons, tomatoes and nuts.

Calcium and Vitamin D

 Calcium, found in dairy products and fortified foods, continues to be very important throughout pregnancy. It helps your baby develop strong bones and teeth. Insufficient calcium during the pregnancy leeches the mineral from the bones leaving them weak and more susceptible to breaks.

Vitamin D helps in absorption of calcium and phosphate. Low levels of Vitamin D in the mother may prevent the baby from getting enough calcium and phosphate. Vitamin D also helps fight infections and may prevent diabetes and some cancers. Good sources of Vitamin D are eggs, oily fish and red meat. If you are a vegetarian, your doctor may give you a Vitamin D supplement.

In the second trimester, you need 700 to 800 mg of Calcium and 10 mg of Vitamin D.

Omega 3 Oils

In the second trimester it is essential to eat foods rich in Omega 3 oils. They are vital for your baby’s brain development.

Foods High in Omega 3 Fatty Acids include mustard oil, beans like urad dal, cold pressed flaxseed oil, fish oil, chia seeds, walnuts, fish roe (eggs), fatty fish, seafood, soybeans, cauliflower, broccoli, leafy veggies like spinach, herbs and spices like cloves, oregano, star anise, fruits like Mango, Honey dew Melon .

Fruits and Vegetables:

Continue to eat two to three servings of fruit and three to four servings of vegetables every day. They provide key vitamins like beta carotene, vitamin C, Folic acid and Potassium to you and your baby.

Apart from the regular fruits like apples, bananas and oranges, try to include guava, papaya, pineapple, mango, pears, apricots, strawberries and melons.

Eat a variety of vegetables with varied colors – leafy greens, dark green, deep purple, orange, red and yellow. Include beetroot, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, spinach (palak), amaranth (lal saag), methi (fenugreek leaves) and chowli leaves

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is needed to form Collagen, a structural protein that’s a component of cartilage, tendons, bones, and skin

Good food sources of Vitamin C include citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruits, lemons), fruits and vegetables with a deep colour (kiwi, berries, guavas, cantaloupes, pineapple, pumpkin, squash) and dark green vegetables (spinach, bell peppers, broccoli).


Magnesium will help reduce your cramps and strengthen baby’s bones

Good food sources of Magnesium include:

  • Wheat bran, bran flakes, oatmeal
  • Banana, raisins, avocado
  • Almonds, cashews, nuts
  • Beans (chowli, rajma) and legumes
  • Seeds (pumpkin, sunflower)


Iron helps prevent anaemia, infections, supports baby’s growth and brain development and to allow baby to build sufficient stores for later use.

Good food sources of iron include:

  • High quality protein sources: lean meat, skinless chicken, fish, well-cooked eggs.
  • Vegetarian protein sources: pulses, legumes, nuts.
  • Other sources: green leafy vegetables, multigrain breads and cereals.

Tip: For better iron absorption, have a vitamin C rich fruit/veggie with or just after your meal and avoid tea 1 hour before and 1 hour after a meal containing iron.

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