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Dieting during 2nd trimester of pregnancy.

Kshitij roy
Kshitij roy
The second trimester for most women is a sigh of relief as many irritating factors related to pregnancy start to mellow down. Morning sickness becomes less frequent, there is no extreme fatigue, the rapid growth of the baby is on the way and the risk of miscarriage drops dramatically as well. The second trimester is the best because most women have outlasted the initial discomforts of the pregnancy, and those of the third trimester have not begun yet. A well-balanced nutrition plan becomes more important as women have to eat for two now as the growth of the baby is quite rapid in this trimester.
You have to work closely with your doctor in this period, and use the following factors as the basic guidelines:
Calories: For the second trimester, women have to eat around 350 kcals above the maintenance calories (calories required to maintain current weight). E.g., if somebody eats 1800 kcals as maintenance, in the second trimester, she will have to consume around 2150-2200 kcals in a day.
Quantity – 20- 30 % of the total diet structure.
At least 1.2g/kilo of the body-weight/ day should be consumed. E.g., If you weigh 70 kilos, you should eat 70-80g of protein in a day. For second trimester additional 1g per day can also be considered as a thumb rule.
Quality – As mentioned in the previous article, animal protein is of higher quality as compared to vegetable sources of protein. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t consider veg protein sources. Just make sure, when you are consuming veg protein, mix different types of sources and INCREASE THE QUANTITY OF PROTEIN INTAKE. Look out for Vit B12, DHA, Zinc or Iron deficiency. Supplement it externally, if veg sources do not provide them.
Quantity: 40-50% of the total diet structure should consist of carb. ( Or around 175g a day)
Quality: Include sources like whole-grain cereals, rice, oats, pasta, bread etc. Whole grain and fortified products have folic acid and iron.
Quantity: 20-30% of the total diet structure. Additional 8g- 14g per day in the second trimester. For omega 3 fatty acids, the recommended dosage for EPA- 250mg a day, DHA- 100/200 mg a day.
Quality: Consider polyunsaturated fats which are rich in omega 3. Also, for cooking purposes, vegetable/olive/sunflower oil can be considered. Including mixed nuts (almonds/walnut, etc.) is a good idea.
Quantity & Quality: Green leafy vegetables such as cabbage, lettuce, spinach, kale etc. are good sources of fibre. 200g-300g of such veggies is fine.
Else, ‘Isabgol’ (psyllium husk) will also work (10g-15g).
Iron: Recommended dosage- 30mg-60mg a day.
Iodine: Recommended dosage- 200 mcg a day.
Folate: As mentioned earlier, folates are extremely important for preventing neural tube defect. Daily dose allowance increases by 50% during pregnancy. The recommended dosage is up to 600 mcg a day for the second trimester.
Calcium: It is crucial for bone metabolism, birth weight, preterm labour and appropriate blood pressure. Recommended daily dosage is 1-1.3 g a day. For the population, which is deficient, the dosage could vary from 1.5g-2g per day. Sources are milk, milk products, cereals & vegetables. Additional supplementation can be used too.
Vit D:  Recommended daily dosage is 15 mcg a day or 600 IU a day.
A few additional measures to be taken:
* Every meal should consist of each food group (protein, fat, carb) to keep up the energy levels.

* Vegetables and fruits should be washed properly before consumption.

* Ensure daily intake of iron and folic acids by including veggies and fruits (3-4 portions a day).

* Drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated.

* Caffeine intake should be limited. Alcohol and smoking should be  avoided completely. Fish containing high levels of mercury such as      mackerel, tuna, orange roughy, etc. should be avoided.

* Raw and uncooked meat or raw eggs should be avoided as well as they could contaminate your system with bacteria, salmonella or toxoplasmosis.

* Avoid having certain imported cheese or unpasteurized milk as they might contain ‘listeria’.

* During this period, many women are most likely to develop an aversion to certain food items and craving for some. It can only be found with hit and trial. It’s okay to indulge in cravings at times. But aversion to veggies and dairy products might not be beneficial, and they are essential for both the mother and the baby. It’s necessary to keep the      doctor in the loop about such things as he/she would suggest alternatives in case you lack certain nutrients.

* Weight will shoot up this trimester, and this is normal. Almost 1 to 2 pound every week (depending on your condition), so no need to freak out. The weight doesn’t just add to the baby but also to breast tissues, fluid   content, placenta growth, amniotic fluid around the baby and uterus  muscles.