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8 Reasons to Take Prenatal Vitamins After Birth

8 Reasons to Take Prenatal Vitamins After Birth

During pregnancy, your body depletes essential nutrients, such as folate, vitamin D, iron, fatty acids, and calcium, as they are consumed by your growing baby.(1)

Therefore, focusing on optimal nutrition, including eating a nutrient-dense diet and taking supplements to replenish lost nutrients, is crucial after birth.

However, while a nutrient-dense diet can help, the high demand for these nutrients often exceeds what can be obtained through food alone.

For instance, meeting the daily requirement of 400 mg of choline would require consuming 4 eggs a day, while fulfilling your daily folate needs would involve eating 3 avocados.

That’s why your OBGYN may recommend that you take prenatal vitamins and supplements to ensure you adequately replenish those nutrients for optimal health.

Prenatal vs Postnatal Vitamins

With interrupted sleep and the whirlwind of emotions that come with being a new mom, it’s common for women to forget to take care of themselves.

Remember, your health should also be your priority postpartum so that you can feel at your best for your baby.

One way to do this is through taking postnatal vitamins.

Unlike prenatal vitamins, postnatal multivitamins are designed specifically to focus on your needs in the fourth trimester and beyond.

These share many essential elements with prenatal vitamins, but postnatal versions are formulated to address specific concerns unique to the postpartum period.

For example, some are designed to help support a mother’s healthy milk supply while breastfeeding and support in her recovery from delivery.

Additionally, many of these nutrients are known to help support hormonal changes and healthy sleep-wake rhythms, which can be especially beneficial when caring for a newborn.

Below are some of the nutrients you can get from postpartum vitamins.

  • Iron
  • Vitamin D
  • DHA
  • Choline
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
  • Riboflavin
  • Biotin
  • Calcium
  • Iodine
  • Zinc

These nutrients can certainly make a huge impact on your health and energy levels, helping you meet the huge demands and responsibilities of being a new mom.

8 Reasons to Take Prenatal Vitamins

If you’re wondering if you still need to take prenatal vitamins, here are 8 reasons why you should.

Supports healthy breast milk

Breastfeeding is considered the healthiest way to feed your baby. Aside from providing your baby with essential nutrients, breast milk contains antibodies, protein, and white blood cells that can protect your baby from infection.(2)

However, breastfeeding demands a high nutritional intake.

This increased nutrient demand can put you at higher risk of developing nutrient deficiencies, especially in vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, D, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), choline, and iodine, as they are all used for producing milk.(3,4,5)

While eating a well-balanced diet can provide you with nutrients, it can’t guarantee to meet breastfeeding mothers’ daily nutritional needs.

It’s no wonder why the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that breastfeeding mothers continue with their breastfeeding vitamins as long as they’re nursing.(6)

Similarly, according to Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Academy of Pediatrics, breastfed babies should be given 400 IU of vitamin D per day in their first few days to get sufficient vitamin D.(7)

This is because infants can’t get adequate vitamin D from breast milk alone, and low vitamin D can result in the weakening and softening of infant bones.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also advises lactating mothers with restrictive diets, such as veganism, to continuously take postpartum vitamins for as long as they breastfeed.(8)

You see, not eating animal proteins can lead to a deficiency in vitamin B12, which can result in your baby experiencing loss of appetite, sluggishness, slow motor development, or blood-related problems.

Therefore, make sure you take breastfeeding vitamins with DHA, Vitamin D, folate, and iodine to support a healthy milk supply and support with your baby’s brain, processing skills, and visual acuity.

Boosts energy levels

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend that mothers exclusively breastfeed their child for the first six months of infancy.(9)

However, lactation requires a lot of energy.

Your body needs about 500 extra calories a day to produce breast milk for your baby.(10)

With so many responsibilities as a new mom, it can be challenging to consume adequate amounts of nutrient-dense foods.

Moreover, since newborns feed every 2 hours or so in the beginning, this can really have an impact on your sleep cycle and energy levels.

Taking prenatal multivitamins, especially B vitamins, can help support your energy throughout the day and night.

Specifically, vitamin B12 plays a crucial role in the production of red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body.

This increased oxygen delivery can help ensure healthy energy levels, helping you tackle the day with a newborn.(11)

Supports healthy red blood cells

Women lose about half a quart of blood during vaginal birth and about a full quart during a cesarean birth.

It’s no wonder why women become anemic following delivery, causing them to feel weak and fatigued with pale skin.

In this case, taking a prenatal vitamin with iron can help replenish your iron levels.

Iron helps produce hemoglobin, a main protein in red blood cells that carries and delivers oxygen throughout your body. However, low hemoglobin levels can lead to anemia.(12)

That’s why the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations recommends that new moms take 10 to 30 mg of iron per day to fill nutritional gaps to help with their anemia.(13)

However, do not take excess iron on an empty stomach, as it may cause constipation or nausea.

If iron supplements upset your stomach, eating whole-food sources of iron like shellfish, liver, and red meat can be an alternative source.

If you’re vegan, lentils, raw green vegetables, apricots, and beans are also a great source of iron.

However, it will still be more beneficial to take prenatal vitamins with iron for three months after delivery to support healthy iron levels.

Supports hair growth

Hair loss is common during the postpartum period. It can start around 3 months after giving birth and last for 6 to 12 weeks.(14)

However, nutritional deficiencies can prolong your hair loss problems, leading to thinning hair.

According to a study published in Dermatology and Therapy, persistent hair loss occurs because of deficiencies in selenium, zinc, and copper.(15)

Selenium destroys free radicals that can cause weakening of hair follicles.

Copper helps stimulate blood flow to the scalp and boost elastin and collagen production, both of which help maintain healthy hair.

Meanwhile, zinc helps maintain the integrity and structure of hair follicles within the scalp.

Supports hormone balance

During pregnancy, your body naturally produces high amounts of progesterone, but these levels drop significantly after birth. Likewise, if you're breastfeeding, your estrogen production will be lower than usual.(16)

As a result, your body tries to understand the dramatic shift from the highest highs to the lowest lows in hormone levels.

These hormonal imbalances can lead to low libido and painful sex.(17)

Taking prenatal vitamins can help support hormone equilibrium and provide you with nutrients that support your body through these hormonal changes.

For example, B vitamins can support healthy levels of estrogen, which can support a healthy libido and vaginal lubrication.(18,19)

Supports healthy brain and cognition

Have you ever experienced “mom brain” or "momnesia"?

For example, you might find yourself putting the milk in the pantry and the cereal in the fridge, or forgetting your last sentence or where you put your keys.

Brain fog or slow memory can be somewhat annoying for new moms but usually isn't a major concern.

When you get pregnant, the gray matter in your brain shrinks.(20)

This gray matter is part of the brain that processes and responds to perception, speech, sensation, and cognition.

But don’t worry! According to a study by researchers at the Amsterdam University Medical Center, the shrinking gray matter isn’t detrimental to your memory.

It’s just the way the brain of a soon-to-be-mom evolves to help them better care for their new baby.

You could say that your mom instincts become more attuned, making it easier to sense if your baby is in danger.

Apart from the gray area, your progesterone and estrogen levels are at an all-time high during pregnancy. Their levels then drop postpartum.

Both hormones are presumed to contribute to brain fog before and after pregnancy.(21)

Therefore, you need to boost your nutrition, as it can also affect your memory, especially if you’re nursing.

It’s best to take prenatal vitamins with vitamins C, D, DHA, and choline to help clear the fog and keep your memory sharp.

Supporting post-birth comfort

Around 50% of women experience uncomfortable contractions and muscle cramping in the first few weeks after their delivery.(22)

You may feel your uterus contracting back to its original size or you may have leg cramps.

These post-birth uterine contractions, spasms, and cramping may be because of magnesium and calcium deficiency.(23)

You see, more than half of the magnesium in the body is distributed between soft tissues and muscles. This means that the other 50% of this nutrient is stored in the bones, and a very small amount is given to the blood.

It also helps with relaxation. Thus, a deficiency in magnesium can cause cramping.

In one randomized study published in the Journal of Maternal and Child Nutrition, women who took 300 mg of oral magnesium bisglycinate chelate consistently for four weeks experienced increased muscle comfort.(24)

Therefore, taking a supplement that contains up to 360 mg of magnesium could support postpartum muscle comfort and a healthy response to post-birth contractions.(25,26)

Supports healthy mood

It’s common to experience the “baby blues” after you give birth. This is because your hormone levels plummet after labor and delivery.

For the majority of new moms, these hormonal changes can lead to uneasiness, mood swings, and trouble sleeping. If symptoms persist for more than two weeks, you might be suffering from postpartum mood disturbances

1 out of every 7 women suffer from postpartum mood disturbances. Compared to the baby blues, the feelings of postpartum mood disturbances are more intense.(27)

You may experience excessive crying episodes, withdraw from friends and family, or worse, have thoughts of harming yourself or your baby.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has shown that low dietary intake of omega-3s can trigger postpartum mood disturbances.(28)

In fact, women with an omega-3 index below 5% were more likely to have depressive episodes compared to those moms who had above 5%, according to a study from Belgium.(29)

Fortunately, taking Omega-3 fatty acids can help support a healthy postpartum mood by supporting healthy brain serotonin levels and supporting normal brain function and behavior in women.(30)

Not only that, but taking omega-3 can also help increase the gray matter volume in the brain, which helps in supporting a healthy mood.(31)

This is why the American Psychiatry Association (APA) and Heart Association (AHA) recommend that patients take 1 g/day of combined EPA and DHA, especially for people who want to support healthy impulse control and mood.(32)

How long should you take prenatal vitamins?

How long should you take prenatal vitamins? Your OBGYN will advise you on how long you should take your postpartum vitamins.

However, in general, you should take them for at least 3 months until you stop breastfeeding or until 6 months postpartum to build up your nutrient reserves.(33)

If you’re looking for reliable prenatal vitamins to help with your recovery and health, Seeking Health prenatal vitamins is your best choice.

We understand how much your health matters, especially when you have a newborn depending on you.

That’s why we’ve developed prenatal multivitamins and supplements with the purest ingredients and scientifically formulated nutrients to support your health and your child's development.

Remember: your body has just produced another human being, drawing heavily on your nutrient stores to do so.

It only makes sense to take vitamins to get the support you need throughout the first few weeks of motherhood.

Are you ready?

Check out Seeking Health’s prenatal multivitamins today.Shop now!



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