Nutrition Notes for the Second Trimester
Hello Mamas, and welcome to your glorious second trimester! This is often the favourite part of many Mamas’ pregnancies as the morning sickness and exhaustion that left you feeling terrible for most of the first trimester is easing, your bump is finally starting to show, and your belly isn’t big enough yet to get in the way of pretty much everything! The second trimester is also when you will have your 20-week ultrasound, where you will get to see your little bean more clearly, and you will likely begin to feel your baby somersault around inside you.
The second trimester is also a big one for baby, with a huge amount of important development and growth going on. It is key in this semester to make sure you’re getting all the right nutrients now that your appetite has likely returned in full force for both your health, and that of your rapidly growing little one! Below I’ve got some of my top tips for second trimester nutrition, especially when it comes to getting enough of everything with a busy schedule!
The Building Blocks
In your second trimester, it is essential to follow a balanced diet. While the first trimester’s diet may have consisted of toast, yoghurt and ginger tea (hey, whatever you needed to do to get by Mama), the second trimester’s diet should focus on a good balance of vegetables, fruits, dairy, grains and proteins. As to how much you should eat, most doctors recommend an increase of 300-500 calories a day from your pre-pregnancy diet, but chat with your doctor or midwife as there may be other factors at work.
It is especially important that you’re eating foods rich in calcium, magnesium and Vitamin D in the second trimester, as your baby is doing a lot of bone-building during this period and is completely reliant on you for those nutrients! Getting enough Omega 3 oils is also important during this time, which can be found in many foods including avocados, dried fruit, Greek yoghurt, and nut butters.
If you want a quick cheat sheet, try to stick to this:
- 2-3 servings (or at least 75 grams) of lean protein a day
- 3+ servings of whole grains a day
- 4-5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day (try to eat a variety of colours here!)
- 4 servings of dairy products or calcium-rich foods a day
Better With Batch Cooking
Eating a balanced diet when you have a busy schedule can often feel overwhelming, so batch cooking is something I’ve fully embraced in the past couple months. On days or evenings when I have the most energy (hello weekends!) I will pick 1-2 large meals to make for the week, something I love enough to eat at least a couple times, and make extra-large batches. Soups, stews and stirfrys are perfect for this, but it’s also possible to prep large salads ahead of time by chopping everything and storing it in individual containers. These tend to be excellent for lunches and dinners and having a couple options will help keep it interesting (because food should never be boring!).
Mixing It Up
For breakfast my go-to is smoothies (you can combine fruits, veggies, dairy and protein all in one go, press a button, and watch the magic happen) or yoghurt with fruit and nuts. Lunches tend to be something easy to throw together like salad, leftovers, or quesadillas, as long as there is a good balance between veggies, carbs and proteins! I also have a local butcher who makes wonderful frozen meat pies, so I try to have something easy like that on-hand for those nights when I’m too exhausted to do anything (yes, the second trimester does tend to bring with it more energy, but you’re still growing a human so cut yourself some slack!).
Snacking throughout the day is a great idea as eating 3 big meals a day tends to be difficult with the reduced stomach capacity that comes with pregnancy. Great easy options are fruits like bananas, apples, oranges, berries (really anything you don’t have to cut up), mixed nuts, yoghurt cups (for all that extra calcium!), or granola bars that don’t have a ton of sugar.
Treat Yo’ Self
Okay, speaking of sugar – I have a huge sweet tooth and pregnancy has not changed that in the slightest. It is completely okay to indulge in that lemon tart that’s been calling your name at the café, or grab that chocolate bar when you’re checking out. As long as you’re not replacing meals with treats and getting all the nutrients you need from healthy food throughout the day, treating yourself occasionally is totally fine (and you definitely deserve it, you’re working hard Mama). A diet of all sugar all the time is going to feel icky for both you and the baby, so keep moderation in mind – it’s called a balanced diet for a reason!
Take A Quality Multivitamin
There are going to be days when all you want is a giant pot of macaroni and cheese and a pint of ice cream. There are going to be days when you don’t get enough of everything, and you’re going to feel stressed out about it. A high-quality multivitamin is essential to make sure your baby is getting their essential vitamins and minerals, and give you peace of mind when you have a day where you just can’t do it all. I’m a huge fan of Prenatal Ease’s multivitamins as they’re stage-specific, meaning they’re specifically formulated for each trimester of pregnancy (as well as preconception and nursing) to deliver exactly what you and your baby need, when you need it. Prenatal Ease Stage Two is specifically designed for the second trimester, with increased amounts of iron, calcium, and Vitamin D, and is extra effective when paired with Prenatal Ease Omega 3 DHA to help get enough of the Omega 3 I mentioned earlier.
Well.ca is currently offering bundles on some Prenatal Ease products, including one specifically for the second trimester, the Prenatal Ease Triple Pack with Second Trimester Bundle, which includes Prenatal Ease Stage Two multivitamins, Prenatal Ease Omega 3 DHA and Prental Ease Ultimate Oil, which is an incredible fast-drying oil that helps reduce stretch marks and improve skin elasticity.
I hope you have a fantastic second trimester Mamas, and a safe, healthy, happy pregnancy! Remember to be good to yourselves – you’re growing a human (maybe more than one if you’ve got multiples!) and that is a lot to deal with physically, emotionally, and mentally. If you need some pampering (and really, we ALL do), check out this blog on Pampering in Pregnancy! [link when blog live]
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