During your sixth month of pregnancy, as you near the end of your second trimester, you have particular nutritional needs for both your and your baby’s health. Not only do you need extra calories every day, but you also need to get the necessary amount of vitamins, minerals and protein. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, but following an eating plan can help you and your baby get everything you both need.
During your second trimester, you need around 300 extra calories per day to support the ongoing changes in your body and to fuel your baby’s development, according to the American Pregnancy Association. However, don’t just pile on excess calories for the sake of eating more: Make the most of your 300 calories. Your baby needs plenty of vitamins and minerals for his development, which is occurring at a rapid pace. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends pregnant women in their second trimester get 3 cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruits every day, dispersed throughout all of the daily meals. In addition, the ACOG recommends seven servings of grains, preferably whole grains. These foods are rich sources of folic acid, essential vitamins and iron, all of which are important throughout your pregnancy.
Dairy and protein also are important during the sixth month of pregnancy. The ACOG recommends that you get the equivalent of 3 cups of dairy products every day during this time, including milk, yogurt and cheese. Low-fat and skim products still contain plenty of protein and calcium and can help you avoid excess calories. ACOG also recommends 6 ounces of protein products every day, including beans, nuts and meats. Opt for lean proteins when possible. Chicken, split peas, black beans and tofu are all healthy choices recommended by the American Pregnancy Association. You still can have red meat; just don’t make it your primary protein source.
Fortunately, you have a little wiggle room to satisfy your cravings. While cravings might consist of foods with little nutritional value, you can safely indulge from time to time. The ACOG recommends limiting junk food intake to around 360 calories per day during the second trimester. Keep in mind, however, that a large slice of cake might contain more than this. To keep empty calories under control, keep junk food portions small and eat them slowly, savoring each bite. If you still need something sweet, try some fresh seasonal fruit. For a savory craving, try a slice of toast or a crunchy vegetable. You can even make vegetable “chips” by roasting veggie slices. While this might seem silly, you still have three to four more months to go. Avoiding excess calories now will save you potential complications as you near the finish line.
Some foods should be avoided during pregnancy, even as far in as the sixth month. Soft, non-pasteurized cheeses, undercooked meats and raw seafood are potentially hazardous for pregnant women. They might contain harmful bacteria that can lead to food-borne illnesses such as listeria. Eat only hard cheeses, cook meats all the way through and pop lunch meats in the microwave. While seafood is healthy in moderation, the ACOG recommends reducing your intake to about twice per week and eating low-mercury fish only. Finally, pregnant women should avoid all alcoholic beverages.
- pregnant woman image by Valentin Mosichev from Fotolia.com
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.