Second Trimester Nutrition Tips

Lindsay Watkins, RD, IBCLC

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Yay, you made it to the second trimester! With a little luck, your nausea, fatigue, and headaches are starting to subside. You’re probably beginning to share your exciting news with family and friends, and feeling more like yourself again- with a little bump of course!

During the second trimester your baby is growing rapidly, their organs will become fully developed and you’ll start to feel the baby move. If you’re feeling more energetic and less nauseous, you may feel like eating more and incorporating a wider variety of nutrient-dense foods. And you may have more energy to cook!

There are a handful of important nutrients to focus on during pregnancy and now that you can eat more than just boxed mac ‘n’ cheese and English muffins, try to focus on getting these nutrients each day.  

Calcium – helps build baby’s bones and teeth and aids in the development of the baby’s musculoskeletal, nervous and circulatory system.

Good sources of calcium include:

  • All things dairy – yogurt, cheese, and milk. Most non-dairy milks have calcium too!
  • Broccoli
  • Leafy greens like kale, collards, and spinach
  • Fatty fish like sardines and salmon
  • Nuts and seeds, especially almonds, chia seeds, and sesame seeds (or tahini)

Try this: Kale Smoothie – I promise, you can hardly taste the kale! Spinach works great too, especially if you’re a green smoothie newbie.

Choline – More research continues to come out on the benefit of adequate choline during pregnancy and most mothers do not consume enough. It plays a key role in brain development and mothers with adequate choline in their diets have been shown to have children with higher cognitive development.

Good sources of choline:

  • Eggs
  • Lean meat
  • Tofu
  • Cruciferous veggies such as cauliflower and brussels sprouts
  • Dairy products
  • Ask your doctor about supplementation of this, especially if you’re vegetarian or vegan.

Try this: Leftover roasted vegetables (cauliflower, onion, brussels sprouts, sweet potato, ect.) topped with two fried eggs and avocado. Serve with a slice of toast or an English muffin. This would be great for lunch or dinner.

Magnesium – works with calcium to increase absorption and helps build a healthy nervous system and bones for your baby. Aside from supporting a healthy pregnancy it can ease muscle cramping and promote relaxation and sleep for mama.

Good sources of magnesium include:

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Avocado
  • Whole grains such as oats and wheat
  • Nuts such as almonds and cashews
  • Chia, flax or pumpkin seeds
  • Dark Chocolate

Try this: Cooked steel cut or rolled oats topped with dark chocolate chips, almond butter and chia seeds.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids – One type of Omega-3 fat is especially important during pregnancy, DHA. It plays a key role in brain development and protects against inflammation and damage.

Good sources of DHA include:

  • Salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout (aim for 2x/week)
  • Pasture-raised eggs
  • Talk to your doctor about supplementation if you’re not eating these fatty fish 2x/week.

Try this: Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa