You just invested “nine months” growing a tiny human! Now add to that the
demands of the post-delivery healing process and lactation.
What you get is a depletion of your micronutrients!
Mama, you need to nourish your body! Let’s go through some postpartum
vitamins to help you with that.
Yes, you can!
Micronutrients play many roles in your body.
Did you know that deficiencies of some have been associated with higher
risk of postpartum depression?
Most experts advise women to continue consuming the same prenatal
vitamin they have been taking since their pregnancy. Prenatal
vitamins usually contain: folic acid, vitamin D, calcium, vitamin
C, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B12, vitamin E, zinc, iron and
Let’s go through a few micronutrients that you may need more of than what is
contained in prenatal vitamins.
False. If you are unable to or choose not to breastfeed
or pump, it is also recommended that you continue to take your prenatal
vitamins for at least six months after giving birth to replenish your
Iron intake for new moms
Iron deficiency can occur in all new mothers, especially if you were anemic
through pregnancy or had a large blood loss at delivery. However, if you
are nursing or pumping you are more at risk of low iron due to increased
Iron deficiency symptoms include: fatigue, difficulty breathing
with little endurance, reduced energy levels, headaches, rapid heart
A blood test can reveal your blood count as well as iron stores. Usually
this blood test is at six weeks, but you may need it
sooner depending on symptoms.
Prenatal vitamins contain iron, but you should consult your healthcare
provider who will use the results of your blood test to tailor the dose to
reflect your specific needs. Take it with vitamin C to increase your body's
Yes, iron supplements may come with the undesired side effect of
constipation - but you can be proactive and increase fiber and water to try
to counter that!
Keep eating iron-rich foods such as: red meat, liver, shellfish,
If you are breastfeeding or pumping, the NIH suggests you need 600
But is this dose adequate to guarantee that your baby gets enough vitamin D
from your breast milk? No, it does not. Breastmilk is a poor source of
vitamin D for babies.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises that children who are
entirely breastfed or consume less than 1 liter of formula should receive
400 IU of vitamin D daily, beginning from day one and
continuing until the baby becomes one.
False. Moms who are unable or choose not to breastfeed
also need much more vitamin D than is generally prescribed or contained in
most prenatal vitamins. The maximum safe upper limit is 4000IU per day, but
always talk to your health provider before taking more than 600IU per day.
In addition to supplements try getting some sun (sunlight is a great way
for your body to make vitamin D) and eating food rich in vitamin D
(fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, liver, fortified dairy, egg yolks,
Vitamin B12 is present at the highest concentrations in: beef,
fish and shellfish; fortified breakfast cereal, milk, yogurt, and cheese,
For some mothers, taking prenatal vitamins may not be enough to replete B12
If you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet you will need to take B12
supplements. Because B12 is primarily from animal protein, these diets can
lead to a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Postpartum depression is a common problem for new mothers (1 out of 5!)
This is true with both first-time and seasoned mothers. Some studies show
Omega 3 fatty acid supplementation has been associated with a decreased
risk of postpartum depression.
The American Academy of Pediatrician (AAP) recommends lactating women to
take 200-300 mg of day (by diet and if needed
supplements) for the baby.
For moms, studies looking at omega 3 fatty acids and depression have used
200mg to 2200mg / day.
While up to 3,000 mg of omega-3 EPA/DHA per day is considered safe, you
should talk to your health care provider or registered nutritionists about
the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids for you.
But go ahead and increase foods with natural omega-3 fatty acids
(fish and seafood, nuts/ seeds, legumes, plant oils)
or fortified with omega-3- fatty acids.
Whether you have a vaginal birth or a C-Section, you'll need to do some
healing. Vitamin C is critical for assisting the body in recovery and
warding off infection by strengthening your immune system. However, it
would be best if you did not overdo it. It is not recommended to take more
than 2000 mg a day. Any more than this will result in a
stomach-ache or diarrhea.
Apart from citrus fruits, vitamin C can be found in: peppers,
strawberries, blackcurrants, broccoli, brussels sprouts.
Remember, continuing your prenatal vitamins may be enough for you, along
with eating nutrient rich foods! But you may need additional vitamins.
Always check in with your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian for
any concern or before taking more than the recommended amount of vitamins .
Keep treating yourself like the queen you are by fueling yourself with
healthy foods and the vitamins and supplements you need!
Reach out to MaternalWell text support for general questions or each out
for a one-on-one session with our licensed nutritionist specializing in
pregnancy and postpartum nutrition.