During your fifth month of pregnancy, which is in the middle of the second trimester, your goal shouldn’t be dieting but rather about providing a bounty of nutritious foods for you and your growing baby. Weight gain during pregnancy is important – the Kentucky Prenatal Nutrition Guide recommends approximately 25 to 35 pounds of gain for a healthy woman – but it can be difficult to accept by someone who has tried to stay slim her whole life. Focus on fresh, wholesome foods during your fifth month and beyond to stay healthy and at the right weight for your pregnancy.
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Eat for Two -- Kind of
People love to excuse a pregnant woman’s appetite by saying she’s eating for two, but that’s not truly the case. During the fifth month of pregnancy, a fetus is approximately 10 ounces and 6 to 9 inches long, and doesn’t require the same number of calories as a fully grown human. Babycenter recommends eating 300 only an additional calories during the second trimester. If you’re overweight or underweight, you might need to eat more or fewer calories. Talk to your obstetrician to find the right amount for you.
Focus on Nutrients
Rather than thinking of your eating plan as a “diet,” consider it a healthy lifestyle change for you and your growing baby. Focus on taking in the nutrients your body needs to support the life within. This include 75 to 100 grams of protein per day to support the growth of fetal tissue, and 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day to build the baby’s bones and tooth buds, says the American Pregnancy Association. You also need 27 milligrams of iron to support the increase in blood volume; 600 to 800 micrograms of folic acid to reduce the risk of neural tube defects; and 85 milligrams a day of vitamin C, which promotes metabolic processes.
Eat More Frequently
A diet sometimes requires you to ignore hunger when it strikes – but this isn’t the best option when you’re pregnant. Instead, stave off hunger by breaking your meals down into smaller, more frequent meals if you find that you’re hungry after a couple of hours. Find an eating pattern that works for your body, even if it’s different from what you’re used to. This can also help with an unfortunate side effect of the later months of pregnancy – heartburn.
Healthy Meal Ideas
By the fifth month of pregnancy, you’re less likely to be dealing with the cravings, food aversions and nausea that typically plague the first trimester. Ideally, this means that you can focus more on nutritious foods and less on what you can keep down. Healthful options for breakfast include fruit for fiber and nutrients, eggs for protein and low-fat milk for calcium. At lunch, a spinach salad topped with chicken or lean steak and low-fat cheese can offer up healthy doses of iron and additional calcium. For dinner, enjoy fatty fish such as salmon for omega-3 fatty acids and rice and asparagus for folic acid. Don’t forget snacks of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and Greek yogurt or low-fat string cheese.