Food by the Trimester: 2nd Tri

Posted on June 1st, 2018

If you are reading this then hopefully you have made it to your second trimester and starting to feel more like yourself again! The second trimester is a favorite for most because instead of nausea and fatigue you are feeling hungry and energized, you can learn your baby’s sex, you will probably start to feel baby moving, and you will actually be sporting your baby bump! If you are still in your first trimester you can check out my blog on the first trimester here. To learn a few nutrition tips (both from recommendations and my personal experience) keep on reading….


  • Your body needs about 340 extra calories every day. These calories should be coming from nutrient dense options more often than not to help support the growing baby inside you.
    • Let’s be honest – there were times I certainly enjoyed more indulgent food like ice cream and snowcones (hello summer) but I tried really hard to fight the urge every time I was excessively hungry to just grab the first thing I saw or sounded good. I would promise myself to try and fill up on at least two healthy items before I splurged on a more indulgent item. I usually found that once I had my piece of fruit and protein I felt pretty satisfied. Sometimes when we get excessively hungry we are driven more by impulse which is not always great while being pregnant. If I only ate off my impulse I probably would have only ate french fries and chocolate shakes all day which is not incredibly great for a growing baby or for mom!
  • You should gain about 1-2 lbs. per week if you were at a normal weight before pregnancy. Again these are estimates – you may find that your body grows a different rate – for me I wouldn’t gain one week but then gain almost three pounds the next but my weight gain still averaged out to be in that healthy range of 1-2 pounds. Your doctor should be checking your weight at every appointment and will advise you if they would like for you to gain more or less.


  • Lots of ladies notice their appetites start to return in the second trimester. While it might not be like a switch that just turns on overnight at week 13 it will likely start to slowly increase more and more with time. If you notice you are still struggling with excessive morning sickness or vomiting I highly encourage you to speak with your doctor. Sometimes bad morning sickness can really be hyperemesis gravidarum.
  • You may notice you are much more hungry this trimester. Partially because your body and baby are growing and changing daily but also because you may have been more sensitive to food during your first trimester. With this new sense of hunger it is a great idea to broaden your options to ensure you are getting a wide variety of foods and nutrients.
  • Keep snacks on hand at all times! I keep snacks in my purse, office, and my car so that way I have something on hand whenever the munchies hit. Plus, I have a bad case of pregnancy brain so having snacks on hand helps with my forgetfulness of packing something for everywhere I go.
  • If you notice that your excessive hunger is also accompanied with excessive thirst, fatigue, and urination you may want to mention this to your doctor. Since these symptoms can sometimes be difficult for women to decipher as ‘normal’ your doctor can advise you best as they can sometimes be associated with gestational diabetes (GD). Most doctors will monitor you at every appointment to hopefully catch any signs of GD but most women will be asked around 24-28 weeks to take a glucose screening test (sometimes called glucose challenge test).

  •  The glucose screening is a one hour test. Your doctor will tell you if they would like for you to fast but in most cases you are not required to dos o. You will be given a drink that contains 50 grams of glucose (sugar) and you will wait one hour (you cannot eat or drink during this time, except water) and they will draw your blood. Your doctor should notify you of your results within a few days. If your results come back too high you will then be asked to take the three hour glucose tolerance test. Fingers crossed you passed your first test! I personally didn’t find the first test to be too bad, the drink was sweet like Hawaiian Punch and I needed a little snack of protein after my test but otherwise it was fine. Here’s the catch – I failed my screening! 
  • The glucose tolerance test is more involved than the screening and requires you to fast for at least 8-12 hours before and will take you all of three+ hours. I took my test first thing in the morning so I didn’t have to go all day fasting. They will draw your blood when you arrive then you will drink the same size drink as the one hour but instead of 50 grams of glucose it will be 100 grams! Talk about overly sweet! You will then have your blood drawn every hour for the next three hours and will not be allowed to eat or drink anything except water until your test is complete. Bring some work or reading material while you wait because you aren’t allowed to move around too much. I felt a bit nauseous one to two hours into my test like a kid who ate a whole bowl of candy at one time. My doctor recommended a three day carb loading diet before my test which appears to be standard protocol. I enjoyed lots of pasta, rice, bread, and ice cream! Once again you will wait a few days to get your results. At this point you will either pass your test or will move onto a diagnosis of gestational diabetes. I was ecstatic to learn at my next appointment that I passed my three hour test!
  • If you get a gestational diabetes diagnosis don’t panic. Your focus should be on managing it for both you and baby! Your doctor will set you up with all the information and resources you will need to be successful. Lots of women with well managed GD go on to have healthy pregnancies and babies.


  • It is important of course to get a wide variety of foods including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and dairy. Each of these can play a role in the development of baby.
  • Don’t fear fish! Medium and low mercury fish can still be enjoyed twice a week so go ahead and get those fish tacos. Salmon also contains an extra boost of those heart healthy fats that are healthy for both you and baby. If you still can’t stomach fish (I loved salmon and shrimp before pregnancy but the smell still gets me even after all the first tri nausea) you can fill up with your heart healthy fats from avocados, nuts, and seeds (try milled flaxseed mixed into oatmeal, smoothies, or muffins).
  • Whole grains are filled with fiber which is even more important as you move into your second trimester where you may start to notice things slowing down in your digestive track. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans/legumes can all help your cause. When adding more fiber to your diet take it slow and drink plenty of water.
  • Go ahead and pour yourself a glass of milk to get a dose of calcium. You can also try out yogurts and cottage cheese for calcium if milk just doesn’t sit right for you.
  • With all the extra growth going on in your body, including your extra blood supply, it is really important to focus on getting some extra iron. Try out beef, leafy greens, dried fruit, or broccoli combined with a Vitamin C food like oranges to help the absorption of iron. Try to limit your calcium foods at the same time as your iron foods which can inhibit the absorption. Your prenatal vitamin may also include iron, which you will need to take throughout your entire pregnancy and thereafter if you plan to nurse.


  • With the extra energy of the second trimester you may find yourself more apt to do more physical activity. Many studies support exercise during pregnancy as a way to help ease the pain of labor, reduce labor time, and recovery after baby arrives. Certainly you should clear it with your doctor and you should always been listening to your body’s cues. There may be days where you feel like exercising and other days where you are just too tired and that is ok. You may also notice you get out of breath more quickly and need a lot more water to stay hydrated.
  • Most ladies enjoy prenatal yoga, prenatal pilates, and walking. My favorite so far has been swimming. Not only does it feel great on my joints, I have also suffered with clumsiness during pregnancy so it doesn’t feel as dangerous for me to be exercising or trying to balance in the pool. Plus, with the early arrival of summer it certainly is a great way to cool off from the heat!
  • At this point you probably shouldn’t be doing much activity that requires you to lay on your back – your doctor should be advising you on this when you get to this point. So you may need to modify some of the exercises you may have been doing previously.

About the Blogger:

Heather Steele, RD/LD is a Registered Dietitian and loves to garden, cook, and is expecting her first child. Heather offices out of the Reasor’s off 71st & Lynn Lane and is on staff at Reasor’s for all of your food & nutrition needs.
Information included does not constitute medical advice and should only be used as a general recommendation for a healthy, balanced diet and lifestyle. Reasor’s Registered Dietitian opinions and recommendations are her own; she is not paid to endorse any products or services.