The second trimester is when most women breathe a sigh of relief. Generally the risk of miscarriage is gone, the belly starts to show, and happy announcements are made. During this phase, it’s important to start eating for two. Nutrition for the second trimester should focus on five important elements that are vital for both mother and baby:

  1. Protein is essential because the amino acids that are provided from the protein are used for the development of the baby’s muscular system. Eat clean forms of protein. If you are a vegetarian, hemp is a plant source of protein, and one of the few plants that provides all nine essential amino acids.
  2. Calcium is a key nutrient for the second trimester because the baby’s bones are being formed during this time and without calcium, bones will not be strong and properly formed. Ideal sources of calcium include dark leafy greens, whole milk, whole yogurt, broccoli, almonds, and sardines.
  3. Eating well should be a primary focus for the second trimester; do not worry about your weight gain. Every woman’s body responds differently to pregnancy hormones and stress, and thus every woman will gain weight differently. If you’re eating a whole foods diet that is rich in nutrients and low in sugar and processed foods, you won’t need to worry about gaining too much or too little weight.
  4. Eating for two begins in the second trimester, and general recommendations are to add 340 calories per day to your caloric intake. That is the average calculation of what the baby will require for development. Again, if you are eating a diet that is nutrient dense, you won’t need to worry so much about counting calories. Let your appetite dictate when you eat, and stick to quality foods for what you eat.
  5. Stabilizing blood sugar in the second trimester is critical to avoid gestational diabetes. It also ensures that the baby will get a steady stream of nutrients. When blood sugar dips low, so does the baby’s nutritional intake. Avoid sugar, processed foods, refined grains, and too many carbs to keep your blood sugar regulated. Also be sure to eat protein with every meal.

Coconut Sweet Potatoes

It can be difficult to avoid eating too many sweets during pregnancy, and many women find that they crave carbohydrates in one form or another.


Here’s a quick side dish that will complement any meal of the day and provide essential nutrients, fiber, and good carbs while giving you a sweet taste that you don’t have to feel guilty about.


  • 1 large organic sweet potato
  • 3-4 Tbsp of organic coconut oil
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Optional: Pinch of organic coconut sugar


  1. Wash the sweet potato and dice into 1/2 inch cubes.
  2. Heat a skillet on the stove over medium high.
  3. Add the coconut oil to the pan.
  4. Sprinkle with sea salt and coconut sugar (optional).
  5. Stir frequently.
  6. Cook until all oil has been absorbed and potatoes begin to get crispy on the outside – about 12-15 minutes.
  7. Serve immediately.

Tastes great cold as well as hot.

1. Maizes, Victoria MD. 2013. Be fruitful: The essential guide to maximizing fertility and giving
birth to a healthy child. New York: Scribner.
2. Planck, Nina. 2009. Real food for mother and baby. New York: Bloomsbury USA.
3. Shannon, Marilyn M. 2009. Fertility, cycles, & nutrition. Cincinatti: CCL

Writer Aimee McNew has a Master’s in Holistic Nutrition Therapy (MNT) and is also a Certified Practitioner of Nutrition Therapy (CNTP). Read her posts on nutrition and wellness at

For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.