As a nurse and a mom that has been through postpartum more than once I can speak to the truth of the fact that, you definitely need prenatal vitamins postpartum.
You’ve probably heard doctors, nurses, or your friends talk about the importance of a prenatal vitamin during pregnancy, so why haven’t you heard about it postpartum?
Women in America get forgotten in the postpartum period, in my opinion. Our society does not want to talk about it. It’s taboo, but not anymore! You have given up so much of your body to grow this life and now you need to replenish that body to continue to support yourself and your new baby. Let’s get into why you really need prenatal vitamins postpartum!
Table of Contents
Why Do You Need Prenatal Vitamins Postpartum?
Why take prenatal vitamins after birth? Birth is a depleting experience. It requires so much from our body and we truly need to take the time to replenish it in the postpartum period. Unfortunately with the lack of parental leave and support for many postpartum mothers we often don’t get the time to truly care for ourselves postpartum (consider hiring a postpartum doula to help you during recovery).
It may be difficult for some women to ensure they are eating the right things to support their postpartum recovery and breastfeeding experience. To ensure you are not nutrient deficient at this time continuing a prenatal vitamin in the postpartum period is an absolute necessity. Just like you were told you needed to take a prenatal vitamin while pregnant this is equally important.
Prenatal Vitamin vs Postnatal Vitamin
An paramount thing to remember when it comes to vitamins and supplements is that they are not regulated like drugs by the FDA. The FDA only has postmarket enforcement, which means the product can reach you before they are truly tested for safety unlike drugs. Producers have a lot more flexibility when they produce products so you need to do your own do diligence prior to using any supplement.
How a product is named can come down to being simply a marketing tactic. Is there a big difference between prenatal and postnatal vitamins? In some cases probably not. I recommend looking at the back of the bottle and becoming familiar with the ingredients to ensure what you are buying is the right choice for you postpartum.
How Long Do I Need to Take Prenatal Vitamins Postpartum?
If you are not breastfeeding, take prenatal vitamins postpartum for a minimum of 6 months. It can be beneficial to continue prenatal vitamins postpartum beyond the first 6 months depending on your current health, diet, and recovery.
So how long should you take prenatal vitamins after birth if breastfeeding? If breastfeeding you should continue to take prenatal vitamins postpartum until you have finished breastfeeding.
Postpartum recovery takes time. It may appear that some women bounce back quickly, but we can’t see what is happening on the inside. Nine months of carrying a child, then birthing a child, and supporting a child is very depleting and we as women need to take the time to replenish ourselves in the postpartum period. It is suspected that 50% of women suffer from nutritional depletion postpartum.
If you are looking for more ways to support yourself nutritionally postpartum check out my posts below:
When Can I Stop Taking Prenatal Vitamins Postpartum?
When to stop taking prenatal vitamins postpartum is something that should be discussed with you and your provider. If you have a nutrient rich diet and you are recovering well then you and your provider might feel it is appropriate to stop taking your supplement. Our bodies do best when we get the vitamins and nutrients from natural food sources. So it really depends on your current health, diet, and lifestyle.
Which Vitamins are Best for Breastfeeding Moms?
Prenatal vitamins will not increase the quantity of your milk supply, but they will support the quality of your milk. In order to have a nourished baby you have to have a nourished mama.
If you are breastfeeding you will need a little bit more of the recommended dosages of some essential vitamins and minerals. Check out the table below.
One big things to consider if breastfeeding is adding an additional 400-500 calories a day to your diet to support the calories burned from breastfeeding.
You should also focus on hydration. Drinking enough water is so important as 87% of your breastmilk is composed of water. So get a water bottle and keep it with you. Drink when you are thirsty and at least 8 oz every time that you nurse or pump.
Top 3 Recommended Prenatal Vitamins Postpartum
These are the top 3 best postpartum prenatal vitamins in my opinion. They provide recommended levels of vitamins needed to support your recovery and your infant, nutrients are in the most bioavailable form, and they are third party tested to ensure safety for you and your baby. That is why I consider these the best vitamins after giving birth for any mother. You will definitely get the biggest bang for your buck.
Perelel – $49.50
This is a brand that I love. You can tell the love and research they have put into giving women an easy, research backed choice to support them through every phase of pregnancy including the 4th trimester (postpartum). Their Mom Multi Support Pack is perfect for the postpartum period.
The pack contains: 2 Mom Multivitamins (specifically adjusted for the postpartum mom), 1 Omega DHA+EHA capsule, 1 beauty blend capsule (Collagen + Biotin to support tissue and skin elasticity + healthy hair, skin, and nails), 1 Stress support blend capsule (Ashwagandha + L-Theanine to support your emotional health)
What you won’t find in this product is calcium and potassium. Make sure you are eating foods high in calcium and rich in potassium. High levels of calcium can be harmful and calcium can affect the absorption of other supplements which is most likely why it was left out. It can be easily implemented in your diet by eating dairy, cheese, yogurt, edamame, leafy green vegetables, salmon, and almonds.
**I currently take their conception support pack and it can make you very nauseous if you take it on an empty stomach. So make sure you eat something!
Needed – $59.99
This brand is a women founded brand which is backed by research to bring a supplement that actually supports the real nutritional needs for pregnant and postpartum women. Our diets aren’t doing enough and many prenatal vitamins aren’t making up the difference. They have one prenatal vitamin for all stages of pregnancy and postpartum with the right bioavailable forms of the vitamins and nutrients we need.
Their supplements contain higher doses of each supplement to ensure you are getting what you need in safe doses. The serving size is a bit big compared to others (8 capsules/day). They do have other forms such as their powder vitamin supplement if taking pills is something you hate.
What you won’t find in this product is Iron and Omega 3 fatty acids, which are important nutrients for your postpartum recovery. You will need to supplement these nutrients either in your diet or with an additional supplement.
Majka Nourishing Lactation Powder – $58.65
If vitamins are just really not your thing this protein powder could be a great way to get the nutritional benefits you are looking for, especially if you love a daily shake. This has many of the recommended vitamins and minerals in a bioavailable form along with ingredients to support milk production, protein, natural greens, and probiotic to support gut health.
What you won’t find in this product is omega 3 fatty acids. You will have to supplement omega 3s either in your diet or with an additional supplement.
Frequently Asked Questions
You have just done an amazing miraculous thing with your body. You have created a life! It has taken so much out of you. Having the proper vitamins and nutrients to support your recovery is essential to your mental, emotional, and physical health. So many women suffer in the postpartum period because their bodies are lacking much of what they need to feel good during this time. Taking prenatal vitamins postpartum can help get your body feeling good and support your new baby. Make a choice to support your health postpartum and take prenatal vitamins postpartum. You will thank yourself later!
Jess is a registered nurse with over 6+ years of critical care experience for patients young and old and is the mother of two small children. After having her own children she felt inspired to provide mothers with real actionable guidance and education to make informed decisions throughout their pregnancy and postpartum experience.