Second Trimester Of Pregnancy: What To Eat And Exercise

As you gradually progress into the second trimester of pregnancy, it can be exciting but also physically taxing. This article looks at what you should eat and the exercises you can do.

By Ashwin Dewan

Second Trimester Of Pregnancy: What To Eat And Exercise

Meena enters the second trimester of pregnancy.

After an anxiety-filled and a cautious first trimester of pregnancy, Meena Apte now steps into the second trimester of pregnancy. She is following a diet rich in nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Meena also makes sure that she exercises at least two to three times a week and goes for daily walks. She is also trying her best to keep stress at bay.

You should do the same too! For this is the time when your baby is developing rapidly. You will be glad to know that most of the typical symptoms that gave you much trouble during the first trimester of pregnancy such as nausea, vomiting, morning sickness, headache, giddiness gradually disappear for most expecting mothers during this trimester. 

This is indeed an exciting phase as you will begin to feel your unborn baby through certain foetal movements for the first time!

This article looks at what foods to eat and what exercises to do during the second trimester of pregnancy.

WHAT TO EAT:

According to a leading health website, it is important to eat foods that are rich in calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D during the second trimester. The uneasiness and discomfort one experiences during the first trimester of pregnancy slowly disappear and hunger levels increase. However, you should ensure the food is healthy and fresh so that the body derives maximum nutrients. 

1. Iron-rich foods:

Should be consumed during the second trimester, since the blood volume increases. Thus, you require more intake of iron as compared to the first trimester. Some good sources of iron include:

  1. Lean red meats that provide an easily absorbed form of heme iron. Just make sure you chew thoroughly.
  2. Green leafy vegetables, tomato paste, dried apricots, pumpkin seeds, baked beans, almonds and lentils. These contain non-heme iron, which can be difficult to absorb but adding a few drops of lemon juice might help.
  3. Nuts, grains and legumes help increase the absorption of iron.

2. Fish:

Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fish is essential for healthy brain development of the baby. Make sure you consume fish that has been properly cooked to avoid growth-related issues in the foetus. Also, avoid fish with high mercury content.

3. Strawberries:

Are important to maintain good health for the baby and the expecting mother. Rich in various nutrients and vitamin B, eating strawberries regularly during the second trimester of pregnancy helps strengthen cardiac muscles and control blood pressure. Strawberries also contain manganese, which contributes to better bone health in the baby.

4. Milk and dairy products:

During the second trimester of pregnancy, calcium is important for the development of the baby. Milk is a rich source of iron. Consume a glass of skimmed milk every day along with other dairy products like buttermilk and yoghurt. Apart from dairy products, you can also consider soya milk and soy-based products.

5. Peanut butter:

The nutritional value of peanut butter can help to meet the additional energy requirements of the body. Combine it with whole wheat bread for breakfast or as a snack. However, one should avoid excess intake as it can lead to an increase in the body weight.

The first few months of pregnancy are important. It is crucial that one takes extra precautions to avoid any untoward incident. The article below looks at what you need to eat and what exercises to do during the first trimester.

6. Dried fruits:

During the second trimester, dried fruits should be an integral part of your diet. They are rich in iron, fibre and calcium. Some of the best-dried fruits to have during this period are almonds, fig, apricot, dates and raisins.

7. Eggs:

Are loaded with many essential nutrients and filled with minerals, proteins and fats. You can consume an egg everyday for a healthy pregnancy, provided you do not suffer from high cholesterol. If consumed in a controlled manner, eggs can provide enough proteins for healthy growth. In addition, the Omega-3 fatty acid along with choline in eggs support healthy brain development.

FOODS TO AVOID DURING THE SECOND TRIMESTER:

During the second trimester, care must be taken to avoid certain foods like swordfish, shark and marlin; raw and uncooked fish and red meat, mould-ripened cheese, excess caffeine, etc.

EXERCISES TO DO:

After battling nausea, vomiting, morning sickness, headache, and giddiness during the first trimester of pregnancy, expecting mothers may feel a surge of energy as these symptoms gradually disappear.

However, the second trimester can be physically taxing. You may feel tired but exercising the right way can provide the much-needed burst of energy. Remember, every woman’s body reacts differently to pregnancy and it is always advisable to consult your doctor before you begin to exercise.

EXERCISES YOU CAN DO DURING THE SECOND TRIMESTER OF PREGNANCY:

1. Walking:

Walking is one simple exercise that can be done by expecting mothers during any trimester of pregnancy. When you move your arms during walking, you build upper body strength as well as flexibility. In fact, most birthing centres allow and encourage mothers to walk slowly in the hours leading to delivery.

How much?

You can start with a few minutes of walking and increase the time as you get comfortable. Twenty to thirty minutes a day, three to five times a week is a healthy walking schedule to follow during the second trimester.

2. Slow jogging and running: 

If you have been jogging or running before pregnancy, you can continue during the second trimester provided you take certain precautions. In fact, the second trimester is a good period for you to continue with slow jogging. Ensure you run on a flat surface and in a place where you can rest whenever you feel tired.

How much?

Aim for a 10-minute slow jog on a plain surface, three to four times a week.

3. Swimming and water aerobics: 

A low-impact exercise, swimming is one of the best and safe exercises to do during pregnancy. The water is soothing, there is no high impact or strain on the body, and an expecting mother can build strength and aerobic capacity at the same time. However, the focus should be on swimming exercises that strengthen core muscles without twisting the abdomen.

How much?

While swimming during the second trimester, make sure you take care not to twist your abdomen. Also, monitor your energy limits and if you feel tired, get out of the pool and take rest.

4. Yoga: 

Yoga is one of the best forms of exercise during the second trimester of pregnancy. It strengthens muscles, reduces pregnancy-related pains especially in the lower back and also controls blood pressure. However, ensure that you do so under proper guidance.

In addition, continuing yoga throughout the pregnancy helps during delivery.

How much?

While doing yoga, keep your breathing slow and even, avoid poses that put too much pressure on your body or make you feel dizzy. Not all asanas are recommended during pregnancy. Hence, please ensure you are properly guided by an expert.

Information about pregnancy is readily available these days. Most women are well-informed about their pregnancies. However, there might still be facts you might not know about pregnancy. Go through the below ClipBook to know facts about pregnancy.

STOP EXERCISING IF YOU EXPERIENCE:

  • Uneasiness and discomfort
  • Exhaustion and dehydration
  • Vaginal discharge, bleeding, or abdominal pain (consult your doctor immediately if this happens)

During the second trimester, your baby is developing rapidly so a nutritious diet and regular physical exercise is a must. 

As you eagerly wait for the article on the third trimester of pregnancy, we urge you to take proper rest, eat healthy, exercise well and simply enjoy the second trimester of pregnancy.

With inputs from Dr. Sowmya Raghavan, MBBS, MD, DGO, DNB, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Apollo Medical Centre, Chennai.

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