Pregnancy Nutrition: The Most Important Nutrients in the Second Trimester—And How to Get Them

Looking for first trimester nutrition? Read the first post in our pregnancy nutrition series right this way.

When everything goes according to plan, the second trimester is a true turning point for you and your growing baby. If you’ve struggled with morning sickness, you may find that settling. Typically, the second trimester is also synonymous with a big burst of energy—a welcome change after the bone-deep exhaustion you may have been experiencing just a few weeks ago. Meanwhile, your baby has handled the tricky business of developing all those organs and systems, and has begun focusing on growing in length and weight. Clearly, there’s a lot happening, and you need the right nutrients to support you both during this busy time. To make it easy, we’re rounding up everything you and baby need to thrive in the second trimester.

Key Second Trimester Milestones

This stretch is typically when you’ll feel the most comfortable. Classic first trimester symptoms—unreal levels of fatigue, serious breast tenderness, and morning sickness—tend to ease up, thanks to a natural drop in hCG and a balancing of estrogen and progesterone (hallelujah). If you’re feeling energized, put it to good use! A little exercise can go a long way right about now.

In more exciting news, you may also feel your little one move for the first time (usually around the 20-week mark), and if it hasn’t yet, your belly is about to pop.

Big things are happening with your baby, too.

    • With organs and systems in place, your baby will spend the next six months growing (and growing).
    • Your baby is a little gymnast or soccer star in the making, kicking, moving, and flipping.
    • Your baby can hear you now! Cue the talking, singing, and story times.
    • Reflexes, like sucking and swallowing, are developing.
    • Fingernails are starting to appear, and your baby is growing hair and accumulating fat.
    • Your baby begins developing sleeping and wakefulness patterns.

Second Trimester Nutrients

The biggest players during the second trimester will sound familiar. Iron becomes even more important during this stage of pregnancy, but it’s not the only nutrient you and your baby need. 

    • Iron. Blood volume increases by nearly 50% during pregnancy, and that process begins in the second trimester. A chelated form of iron is gentle on your stomach and will help protect you from anemia as blood volume starts ticking up. The key is getting the right amount—you need 18mg of iron daily.
    • Vitamin C. The right amount of vitamin C—100mg—helps reduce high blood pressure and the risk of preeclampsia, while also minimizing the swelling of hands, feet and face.
    • Vitamin D. This key nutrient can help prevent gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and preterm birth. Note that one third of pregnant women in the US are deficient in vitamin D, and their prenatal vitamin may not be filling in that gap.
    • Folate, B12, choline and iodine. This critical trio supports the continued development of baby’s nervous system, skeletal system, and spinal cord, as well promoting healthy energy levels for mama. And just like vitamin D, choline is in worryingly low amounts in many leading prenatal vitamins (ahem… but not this one), in spite of the current recommendation for pregnant women of 450mg a day.
    • Vitamin K2. This nutrient plays a critical role in the development and growth of baby’s skeletal system.

The last thing you should be worrying about during the second trimester is whether your prenatal vitamin is doing its *one* job. And with Beli for Women, you won’t! Our multivitamin blend is formulated with the most bioavailable nutrients—in all the right amounts— to properly support your baby’s growth and keep you from depletion. 

From iron and folate to choline, iodine and all the other essentials, the nutrient levels in Beli prenatals are carefully calibrated based on current recommendations—and that matters. It’s easy to assume that all prenatals are essentially versions of the same thing, but that’s really not the case. Our scientifically-aligned formula delivers exactly what you and your baby need. Plus, our no-nausea blend is easy on your stomach, while the minty essence is easy on your taste buds.

Tips for Second Trimester Nutrition

Yes, you’re really eating for two now, but one of you is roughly the size of an orange. So, you know, pace yourself. Somewhere in the neighborhood of an extra 100 to 300 calories is probably about right. Make sure you’re filling up on protein (think eggs, high protein dairy, nuts and nut butters, plus meat, poultry, and fish), because protein needs in pregnant women are a full 39% higher before 20 weeks and a truly staggering 73% higher after 31 weeks. That translates to around 80 grams of protein daily in the first half of pregnancy, and around 100 grams in the second half. If you’re particularly active, you may even need more.

Fat is equally important during this time, so again, enjoy that full-fat diary, as well as coconut, avocado, olives, nuts and seeds.

Eating whole foods in their natural form is typically a safe bet, and supplementing with Beli for Women will ensure you and baby are getting all the nutrients you need.

Meanwhile, enjoy that pregnancy glow, the extra energy, and that cute little bump while you still can. The third trimester is right around the corner!