Best Postnatal Vitamins to Support Your Mind and Body After Childbirth
Pregnant women are commonly advised to take a regular regimen of prenatal vitamins in order to support their developing baby with the proper nutrients. And because of their popularity, there’s a wide assortment of prenatal vitamin options on the market today.
But what about after childbirth? Should postpartum women continue to regularly take prenatal vitamins? What’s the best approach to support your nutritional needs after pregnancy?
Unfortunately, while prenatal vitamins are widely available in different forms and price points, access to postnatal vitamins is more limited. Only a few manufactures produce postnatal vitamins for over-the-counter use.
For many women, the post-delivery period can be a haze. Maybe your physician recommended taking a postnatal vitamin, but with a new baby at home and so many things to juggle, the details may have been overlooked.
Supplementing your diet and lifestyle routine with either prenatal or postnatal vitamins is not always necessary for postpartum women. If you stay active and eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet, you’ll usually receive the necessary vitamins you need to support your body after delivery. However, it is commonly advised that women at least take postnatal vitamins during the nursing period in order to supplement the amount of nutrients that your newborn receives from breastmilk.
If you’re on a special or restrictive diet (e.g., vegetarian, vegan, paleo, etc.), it’s recommended to speak with a doctor to be sure you’re receiving all the vitamins and minerals necessary to support you and your baby.
Postnatal Vitamins & Supplements for Nursing Mothers
For mothers looking for a postnatal vitamin while breastfeeding, check the ingredients list first. You’re looking for an option that includes folic acid, calcium, vitamin D, and iron. Iron is especially advisable as new mothers are often found to be anemic. Botanical ingredients such as fenugreek and moringa can also be beneficial as they can help enhance breastmilk production.
You’ll find a variety of blends available with the different brands of prenatal and postnatal vitamins on the market, and it can be challenging to find an ideal solution to meet all your nutritional needs. This is why we cannot stress enough that maintaining a balanced diet is key while taking a daily vitamin.
Apart from a daily prenatal or postnatal vitamin, some mothers elect to take fish oil supplements as well. Fish oil can be especially useful for women who aren’t already consuming enough “healthy fats” in their diet like those found in avocados or salmon. Fish oil as a supplement can be beneficial both during and after pregnancy. Numerous clinical trials have shown that the children of mothers who regularly took fish oil during pregnancy and in the breastfeeding stage tested to have higher IQs. One particular study even suggested that adding more fish to your diet during pregnancy led to a reduction in the number of postpartum depression cases.
But even for women who are not nursing, it’s still important to make vitamins a part of your daily routine. Your body is still in recovery mode, and you’re most likely sleeping less, skipping meals, and mentally and physically exhausted. According to New Chapter, a popular vitamin seller, ensuring that you receive proper nutrition from your diet and take a postnatal vitamin is important in supporting your body as it tries to get back into balance after birth.
Comparing Postnatal and Prenatal Vitamins
When comparing vitamin products, you’ll notice that many prenatal and postnatal vitamins are often made up of the same core ingredients. Some postnatal vitamin options include DHA, which is often considered to support brain development in your newborn. Although studies are not conclusive regarding the benefits of DHA, no harms from the additive have been shown, so there is certainly value in taking vitamins with DHA for the possible positive effects. Vitamin B12 has also been shown to support brain and nerve network development.
For most women, a standard prenatal vitamin should be enough even if you’re currently breastfeeding, but there’s no harm in choosing to take a postnatal vitamin instead.
Taking Postnatal Vitamins to Stem Off Hair Loss
What about the frustrating hair loss many new mothers experience after delivery? Can anything help prevent that? It’s unclear. While some women take collagen supplements, the effect of that protein on hair growth is not entirely known. OBGYNs believe that the standard vitamins people take to promote nail, hair, and skin growth like vitamin B, folic acid, and biotin can make a difference.
When Should I start Taking Postnatal Vitamins?
Consuming a nutritious, well-balanced diet is imperative, and adding a daily vitamin can help support your nutritional needs.
But, for how long should you take a prenatal or postnatal vitamin after childbirth? An ongoing vitamin regimen can be beneficial well beyond even the fourth trimester. You can continue taking supplements forever, including even prenatal vitamins or just a standard women’s multivitamin.
Ongoing vitamin consumption is especially important for mothers planning to have more children in the future. If you’re able to plan ahead, taking a prenatal vitamin prior to conception can have positive benefits during the first few weeks of pregnancy and can help you adapt to the routine of taking a daily vitamin.
5 BENEFICIAL POSTPARTUM VITAMIN SUPPLEMENTS
Following childbirth, our body is completely out of balance. Even seamless deliveries lead to serious hormonal changes and the need for physical recovery. According to the CDC, nearly 600,000 new mothers suffer from postpartum depression in America each year. Many women are also deficient in vitamin D, which can result in aches, fatigue, and brain fog. Your body will require a good amount of postpartum care, and certain supplements can help get you back on track. The following five vitamins and supplements are proven to help new mothers meet specific needs after childbirth.
- Prenatal Vitamins
Many physicians recommend that you continue taking any prenatal vitamins that you have been taking during pregnancy until you’ve finished nursing. If you decided to not breastfeed your newborn, you can continue to take any prenatal supplements until you feel physically yourself again. Following childbirth, routines can get thrown off, and many women find that they cannot easily maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet. If this is the case, the prenatal vitamin can help compensate for the lack of nutrients from your diet.
- Fish Oil
Postpartum depression is not only very real, but it is also more common than many realize and can affect both first-time and experienced moms. If you’re experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression, consider fish oil. The supplement is a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which have been proven to reduce depressive symptoms. I made fish oil a key part of my postpartum vitamin regimen and can definitely say that it has been effective in stemming off the baby blues. Even though it has been a while since I gave birth, I am still nursing, so I continue to take it daily along with the other supplements in my pillbox. And not only can Omega 3s help with depression, but they have also been shown to support the development of eye and brain tissue in newborns.
- Vitamin D
Multiple research studies have shown that most adults are deficient in vitamin D. This is especially true for those of us who don’t receive adequate exposure to natural sunlight. Vitamin D is a crucial supplement for both mental and physical well-being. According to research, Vitamin D deficiency can lead to not only postpartum depression, but cardiovascular disease and even the development of cancer cells. It should also be noted that when breastfeeding, if the mother is vitamin D deficient, the baby may also turn out to be deficient as well.
- Vitamin C
Regardless of whether you underwent a C-Section or a regular vaginal birth, one thing is certain: your body needs to heal properly. Vitamin C helps your body heal and fight off disease and illnesses by boosting your immune system. But don’t go overboard. Most physicians recommended taking no more than 2000 milligrams of vitamin C per day. Taking more than this can lead to an upset stomach or diarrhea (even more than you likely have already).
Probiotics are bacteria found in the mucus membrane lining of the urinary, digestive, and vaginal tracts. Adding them to your daily vitamin regimen is highly beneficial to support overall postpartum health and well-being. Taking probiotics can also help support healthy vaginal tissue, which is significant for women who are of child-bearing age. When it comes to your gut, pain medications and haphazard diets can be harmful to your digestive system, and giving birth via C-section can lead to GI chaos. Taking probiotics can help put your gut and gastrointestinal system back on track following childbirth.
It is important to note that although these recommended vitamins and supplements can help support your recovery after childbirth, every woman is unique, and our bodies require varying nutrients for optimal health. We always recommend checking with your doctor before starting any new vitamin and supplement regimen.