Nutrition for Healthy Pregnancy: Second Trimester

09 Jan 2017

In 13th week of the pregnancy phase, an expected mother enters her second trimester that lasts till the 28th week of the nine months cycle. After the hardships of first trimester, the starting of second trimester may appear easier to many expectant mothers as the continuous pangs of morning sickness such as nausea, dizziness and fatigue may ebb a little or fade away completely. Certain other minor changes will also occur, for instance, a small baby bump will start surfacing in the abdomen as the baby starts growing inside. Also, by the end of this trimester, one can feel the movement of the baby inside stomach, which is a lovely feeling for the would-be mother. Hence, it is imperative to resort to week by week pregnancy diet plan strictly.


Development of baby at 16 weeks

  • The muscular structur and skeletal formation continues to form.
  • In this phase, skin also forms and is nearly translucent.
  • The growing baby starts doing sucking motions with his/her mouth from inside (sucking reflex).

The baby is about 4 to 5 inches long and weighs almost 3 ounces 


Development of the baby at 20 weeks:

  • If the baby is very active, the expecting mother might feel baby's movement or kicking.
  • The baby also develops eyebrows, eyelashes, fingernails, and toenails.
  • The baby can also hear and swallow at this point of time.

Now, at the halfway of pregnancy, the baby will be about 6 inches long and weighs about 9 ounces.


Development of baby at 24 weeks:

  • The baby can have a sense of taste now as his/her taste buds will develop in this period.
  • Unique footprints and fingerprints are attained at this age.
  • Hair grows in the baby's head as he keeps growing inside the womb.
  • Formation of lungs occur inside the baby even though they are functionless for the time.
  • The baby falls into a regular sleep cycle and the baby weighs around 1 1/2 pounds, and measures 12 inches long.



  • Bleeding gums 

Bleeding in gums and nose are common complaints of pregnant women during their second trimester. This is due to the increased blood flow as per demand of the increasing foetus size.

  • Heartburn 

This burning feeling in the esophagus (the tube between the mouth and stomach) may begin or get worse in the second trimester.The  growing uterus may press on your stomach and force food and acid up into your esophagus, causing the burn. 

  • Gestational diabetes 

Another complication during second trimester of pregnancy is the increased risk of gestational diabetes. As the size of foetus increases so does the need of nutrition and glucose level of women's body. This increased blood sugar level often results in a condition called gestational diabetes. 

  • Leg cramps

 Leg cramps and dizziness are also common during the second trimester. Respiratory problems Growing baby tend to put pressure on the organs such as lung. Owing to this reason respiratory problems are also common during the second trimester of pregnancy.

  • Increased appetite

 Because of the growing foetus, women experience increase appetite during second trimester. 

  • Aches and pain 

Aches and pains in back, abdomen, groin, thighs and back are also common during pregnancy. However, these pains are normal and only indicate that your body is adjusting to the growing baby.


Weight Gain During the Second Trimester-

Weight gain in the second trimester is a strong indicator of total weight gain at the end of your pregnancy. These values are based on your pre-pregnancy 

  1. Underweight (BMI < 18.5): 20 lbs. (9 kg) by the end of second trimester. 
  2. Normal (18.5 < BMI < 24.9): 15 - 20 lbs. (6.8 - 9 kg) by the end of second trimester.
  3. Overweight (25 < BMI < 29.9): 10 lbs. (4.5 kg) by the end of second trimester

Generally, women become very worried about their weight gain during pregnancy period but expecting mothers should not be too stressed about weight on the scale rather they should focus on eating a variety of foods with high nutrients to provide nourishment to the baby.



During pregnancy period, it is very essential to consume a healthy, balanced diet for proper nurturing of the baby growing in the womb. The food eaten by the mother is the prime source of nourishment for the baby, so Eating a good variety of protein-rich foods twice a day will help you meet your increased protein needs. Folic acid requirements are slightly raised, so include green leafy veggies and starchy foods in your diet. Vitamin A requirements are slightly raised; including a variety of fruits, vegetables and low fat dairy products will ensure you meet these It also especially important to eat foods that are rich in calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D. Throughout pregnancy, vitamin D supplements are required to ensure you meet your increased requirements. For sturdy bones and teeth, the baby should get these nutrients properly. Food containing high dosage of omega-3 oils is also quite important for the baby's brain development. So, the second trimester diet plan should be prepared in a way such that it suffices the enlisted nutrient requirements.


Food to eat in second trimester:

  • Glass of milk 

A glass of low-fat milk is packed with calcium and magnesium. If you don't eat dairy products, you should have calcium-fortified soy foods, such as soy yogurts.  Keeping up your stores of calcium in pregnancy helps your baby's bones and teeth to develop and grow strong. 

  • A variety of vegetables

Vegetables that are rich source of magnesium and calcium like broccoli, green beans, carrots, cabbage and okra must be included in daily meals. To keep the vital nutrients of the veggies intact, they can be steamed or stir fried, instead of overcooking them.

  • Plain yogurt 

lain, unsweetened yogurt is a calcium-rich snack. Keep a tub in the fridge, or take inPidual portions to work. Try low-fat Greek yogurt and add fresh fruit such as berries, which contain magnesium. 

  • Sunflower and pumpkin seeds

 A small handful of sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds, whether as a snack to nibble, or added to yogurt and salads, will give you a magnesium, iron and omega-3 boost. 

  • Dried fruit 

 Dried fruit such as apricots, dates and figs contain calcium and iron, and are a great snack to have stashed in your desk. Or add some chopped to low-fat yogurt.