This should be the honeymoon period of your pregnancy. Make sure you continue taking care of yourself and the baby, even as you take some time off to relax.

The morning sickness should be gone by now, and you're probably feeling better. Your baby is definitely getting bigger, so it's a good time to continue having those nutrient-rich foods that you may have difficulties due to the nausea. Your baby needs them to support his or her growth. These tips will point you in the right direction for healthy eating during the second trimester of your pregnancy.

Plan your meals

During this trimester, you'll gain around 400 gramsi  a week in weight, and will need to add an extra 290-360 calories to your normal daily diet. Try and plan your meals at least a day in advance so you can be sure that you are getting all the necessary nutrients. A healthy diet, including a variety of vegetables and fruits, protein-rich foods which include milk, beans, whole grains and nuts, combined with appropriate prenatal supplements will ensure your baby gets a balanced nutrient intake crucial for his or her overall development.

Don't miss out on important nutrients

There are many important nutrients you need to obtain from your diet to support your baby’s development, and your own health during this pregnancy period.

DHA

  • Why it’s important: Important building blocks for development of the brain and eyes in infant.

  • How much do I need: Expert recommends at least 200mg/day for pregnant and nursing women1.

  • It is found in algae and fatty cold water fish, like salmon, blue fin tuna, black cod, sardines, herring and shellfish.

Calcium

  • Why it’s important: Helps build development of strong bones and teeth.

  • How much do I need: 1000 to 1300 mg/day, depending on your age2.

  • It is found in dairy products such as low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese; prenatal vitamins.

Iron

  • Why it’s important: Important component of red blood cells which carry oxygen to all parts of the body to help body’s production of energy.

  • How much do I need: 27 mg/day2.

  • It is found in lean red meat and poultry, fish, spinach, dried fruits, and nuts; prenatal vitamins.

Folates & Folic Acid

  • Why it’s important: Help support foetus’ gowth and overall development, Folate plays a role in the formation of red blood cells. Folic acid is important for growth and division of cell.

  • How much do I need: 27 mg/day2.

  • It is found in lean red meat and poultry, fish, spinach, dried fruits, and nuts; prenatal vitamins.

Protein

  • Why it’s important: Protein provides the essential amino acids needed to aid in the building and maintenance of body tissues

  • How much do I need: 71 mg/day2.

  • It is found in lean meat, poultry, fish & eggs.

Eat your veggies, mama!

Vegetables during pregnancy provide many important nutrients. They are also rich in dietary fibers which may help to alleviate constipation, a common problem during pregnancy. Choose more dark green leafy vegetables as well as vegetables of different colors like carrots, pumpkins, bell peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, cauliflowers, etc.

Aim for 4-5 servings of vegetables daily, which is about ½ bowl of cooked vegetables or 1 bowl of uncooked vegetablesii.

Water. Water. Water

Water is essential for many metabolic functions of your body. Also, as a main constituent of blood, water helps transport nutrients to your body cells and remove waste. Adequate hydration is especially important during pregnancy as water is needed to form amniotic fluid that surrounds the baby and to support the increase in blood volumeiii. You would need at least 300ml of additional fluid intakeiv.

Drinking lots of water is also good for your skin, and will help you solve some of hormone-related skin issues. Staying hydrated can also deter other pregnancy symptoms such as constipationv, while supporting baby’s healthy growth.

The type of beverages you choose to stay hydrated also matters. Try to avoid drinks with a lot of sugar and caffeine like colas. Avoid alcoholic beverages as they could damage your baby’s brain. Plain water is the best option. Low-fat milk is also a healthy choice as it also provides you with protein, calcium, and other important micronutrients.

Exercise, safely

Exercise has multiple effects on the body – whether pregnant or otherwise. Not only it helps keep you healthy and prevent excess weight gain, but also helps prepare you for labor and delivery. Exercise can also help with many pregnancy discomfort, such as helping to reduce backaches, constipation, bloating and swelling, boosting your mood and energy levels, and helping you sleep bettervi. In general, eating food high in fiber and low in fat, as well as exercising regularlyvii are healthy habits during pregnancy, as they lower your risk of developing gestational diabetes.

At this point, you're probably feeling better and can still move around easily. Before embarking on any form of exercise, ask your doctor about which exercises are safest and suitable for you.


References:

iDiet & Your Pregnancy. (n.d.). Retrieved April 7, 2017, from https://www.kkh.com.sg/HealthPedia/Pages/PregnancyDuringDiet.aspx

iiHealthy Eating During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding. Retrieved 2 June 2017 from, http://www.fhs.gov.hk/english/health_info/woman/20036.html

iiiMontgomery, Kristen S. (2002). Nutrition Column An Update on Water Needs during Pregnancy and Beyond. J Perinat Educ, 11(3): 40–42.

ivEFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition, and Allergies (NDA) (2010). Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for water. EFSA Journal, Volume 8, Issue 3.

vMontgomery, K. S. (2002). Nutrition Column An Update on Water Needs during Pregnancy and Beyond. The Journal of Perinatal Education, 11(3), 40–42. http://doi.org/10.1624/105812402X88830

viPregnancy and exercise: Baby, let's move! (2016, June 09). Retrieved February 22, 2017, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-de...

viiGestational Diabetes – Prevention. (2014, April 15). Retrieved April 10, 2017, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gestational-diabetes/basic...

1FAO 2010. Fats and fatty acids in human nutrition. Report of an expert consultation. FAO Food and Nutrition Paper no.91.FAO: Rome.

2Dietary Reference Intakes, USA.