Second trimester begins -nutritional norms! Are there any?


What are my perceptions during the second trimester ? The second trimester starts from the beginning of 13 weeks and ends with the completion of 25 weeks ideally but practically we take it as 28 weeks as the heart and blood system changes and adaptations are similar till 28 weeks of pregnancy. The baby is now growing in size and will achieve a size of about 1000-1200 g by the end of the second trimester. The organ systems are now maturing and you can start feeling a baby bump. Internally your blood volume is increasing. The various pregnancy specific organs are growing and the body is changing to adapt to these changes . ( refer to my previous note ) The nausea has now receded and your appetite is now improved. Somewhere in around 16-18 weeks you may feel a fluttering movement in your tummy the first signal of baby’s movement within you. Somewhere mid way you my feel a little giddy when you suddenly get up .This is due to postural change in blood pressure. The second trimester begins at the completion of 12 weeks and is usually experienced as a period of receding nausea, a slight weight gain, feeling of well being, positivity and suddenly the world starts looking beautiful. Most of the mums have already taken the first trimester scan and screened the baby and confirmed that its normal. The basic health checks too are already underway and now looking forward towards a healthy pregnancy and a baby is a realised dream nearly. The natural question which we need to address is “what do I eat and how much do I eat ? “Also “I feel hungry all the while and do not want to eat wrong “. Here is a guideline which can help you to tackle these questions and sail through the pregnancy without much challenge and be able to deliver a healthy baby.

I am now 5 months pregnant and feel giddy ? How many calories do I need now ? What about protein needs and sources ? Giddiness can be on two accounts one that probably you haven’t taken enough food or you suddenly changed position due to which the blood pooled in your limbs and you felt giddy. This happens in the second trimester when you suddenly change positions especially you get up from the bed or the chair. Eat adequate calories as it is necessary for your bodily adaptations and baby’s growth. Don’t get up suddenly from the bed or the chair. Calculate your Pre-pregnancy BMI. If your BMI is normal then your current caloric needs are 25 kcal /kg per day. Also add 300 kcal for your pregnancy status. Divide these calories through out the day carefully. And consume foods with low glycemic index and sources delivering complex carbohydrates. Calories can also be sourced from healthy fats and some proteins . In case of underlying conditions such as obesity, diabetes, hypothyroidism etc your caloric needs are to be tailor made and you must take guidance from your clinician. Proteins now are to be consumed in adequate amounts as they are the building blocks of the baby’s growth . Especially adequate protein consumption is challenging in our country as our diets are all cereal based . A conscious effort has to be made to enhance the protein content of the diet . The daily protein requirement now is 1g/kg/day of your weight . This means that if you are now weighing 48 kg your daily protein consumption should be 48 g. Good sources of proteins :

  •   eggs

  •   chicken

  •   soybean

  •   pulses

  •   beans Protein powders are also available which can be mixed with your roti / chapati flour.

Can protein and calorie deficiency be harmful ? What about the fats ? Yes, if your food is deficient in calories, the proteins will get utilised and won’t be available for baby’s growth. Protein deficiencies can lead to growth abnormalities in the baby and diseases such as raised blood pressure and anaemia ( reduced oxygen carrying and delivering capacity ) in the mother which can compromise the pregnancy. Also inadequate food can increase craving and therefore an inclination to binge or eat non nutritious, can arise. Fats are not always bad. Taken in moderation and the right way they can aid your metabolism. Many oils such as the groundnut, saffola and coconut oil are good sources of essential fatty acids and so is ghee believed to be a good source of fats

which are necessary for the absorption of fat soluble vitamins. But excess consumption through frying or smoking is detrimental. If the oil is reused, it contains unhealthy components which are not so good for your body. Also do not take transfats as they cross the placental barrier and are delivered to the baby without any maternal filter. Should I restrict salt and sugar intake ? How can I handle, some commonly observed side effects ? Take as much is necessary to make the food tasty. Excessive salt and sugar intake is harmful and should be avoided as salt may increase sodium and water retention and sugar gives only empty calories which can challenge your insulin functionality and precipitate pregnancy related diabetes .

  •   getting raised blood pressure

  •   swelling on my feet

  •   stretches on tummy &

  •   developing pregnancy diabetes Eat well and have a steady weight gain. Overeating and wrong eating can cause sudden weight gain leading to stretch marks. Excessive preserved foods, salty foods can cause hypertension. Adequate calcium intake ( 1200-1500 mg/day ) is known to reduce the occurrence of raised blood pressure ( preeclampsia is the name of the disease). Reduced protein intake, can cause swelling over feet and excessive water retention. Sudden weight gain causes stretch marks. Gradual weight gain gives your skin the opportunity to stretch to accommodate the growing you and not get scars.

  •   avoid unnecessary sugars

  •   take 30-40 mins walks everyday

  •   take a lot of fibre rich foods

  •   keep the GDM ( Gestational Diabetes Mellitus ) away

Are protein powders necessary ? Ideal breakfast menu for second trimester ? They are, if you are not able to meet the nutritional needs through your diet intake, due to lack of time. These ensure that you get the necessary supplements. You should use them as fillers to avoid binging or snacking on foods and cravings. Divide your breakfast into two parts .Part 1 : immediately after waking up make a smoothie with apple, banana , milk, almonds and honey.Part 2 : Moong dal chila ( pancakes ) with spinach, coriander and tomatoes with curds or raita and oatmeal porridge. So see you soon next week and my prayer and wishes for a healthy you. You want to know more or have any queries, please feel free to post your comments below !

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