Did you stop taking your prenatal vitamin after baby arrived? If you answered YES you’re not alone. As a registered dietitian specializing in postpartum nutrition, I’d ask you to reconsider taking prenatal vitamins postpartum! In my opinion, taking prenatals after giving birth is one of the most important things you can do to support your mental and physical health postpartum.
Your prenatal multivitamin isn’t just about making sure baby has enough nutrients —it also helped YOU maintain adequate nutrient levels during pregnancy. Even if you consider yourself a healthy eater, your body is working hard to heal postpartum, and continuing to take your prenatals after birth will support your healing. Taking prenatals while breastfeeding will also ensure baby receives nutrients that are dependent on your diet should you have a day (or days, let’s be honest) where you can only manage to graze or eat leftover bites of your toddler’s meals.
If you have dietary restrictions, a multivitamin is optimal for postpartum nutrition. It can fill the gap between what you’re eating and what your body needs to prevent deficiencies. I often recommend new mamas stay on their prenatal multivitamin for at least 6 months and often longer if they’re nursing past 6 months, had kids less than 2 years apart, or experienced nausea/hyperemesis for an extended period during their pregnancy. I encourage mamas to work with their provider to optimize a postpartum nutrition plan that makes sense for their unique situation and often includes supplements like fish oil, vitamin D, iron (in the bisgylcinate form for less digestive issues), magnesium, and a probiotic.
Now that you understand why your body needs additional support to heal postpartum, you may be wondering how you can remember to take vitamins on top of everything else! Here are 3 tips to help you remember:
1. Use an alarm on your phone. Many supplements are best taken with food to avoid tummy issues and optimize absorption. Try setting an alarm or reminder on your phone for your usual breakfast and lunchtime. The alarm will remind you to nourish yourself with food and your supplements. It’s all too easy to get distracted or caught up in momming, so this can help!
3. Use prenatal protein powder. Smoothies are an easy breakfast option when you’re a new mama (I share some healthy smoothie recipes here!). Why not make it a win-win and use a protein powder in your smoothie that doubles as a prenatal multivitamin? Look for a powder that contains active B-vitamins like methylcobalamin for B12 and methylfolate instead of folic acid, choline, iodine, and zinc to support your mental and physical health. If you don’t want a smoothie, just mix the powder with water or your choice of milk/milk alternative later on that day for an easy prenatal protein shake.
Guest blog post by Stephanie Greunke, registered dietitian and Whole Mamas Program Director. Interested in learning more about how to optimize your nutrition during and after pregnancy? We’ve got you covered over at Whole Mamas. We share advice from health professionals along with real-life tips from mamas in our community who are doing their best to eat well during this busy season.
Whole Mamas is an online roadmap and supportive community for all stages of motherhood. Through interactive programs, articles, podcasts and social media content, we provide tools that help mamas and their families thrive. Find out more at wholemamasclub.com or connect with us on Instagram @wholemamasclub. We’d love to support you on your journey!
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