After spending the last nine months eating nutritious foods and taking your prenatal vitamins, your focus on your health and nutrition doesn’t stop there. Your body is still going through so much during the postnatal phase, which is why it’s essential to ensure your body is getting an adequate supply of nutrients, both for yourself and for your newborn.
But isn’t it ok to still continue to take your prenatal vitamins in your fourth trimester? What exactly are the unique nutrient requirements for new and nursing moms?
In this article, we’ll talk about why postnatal nutrition is important and detail our top picks for the best postnatal vitamins on the market today.
Quick Summary of the Best Postnatal Vitamins
Ritual Postnatal Vitamin
Vitamins A, D, C, E, B12, Folate, Magnesium, Zinc, Biotin, Choline, Iron, Omega DHA + EPA
Best Nest Wellness
Vitamins A, C, D, E K1, B6, B12, Choline, Biotin, Magnesium, Iron, Folate, Omega DHA + EPA
Vitamins A, D, C E, B12, Folate, Iron, Magnesium, Zinc, Choline, Omega DHA + EPA
Vitamins A, D3, C, E, Zinc, Magnesium, Folate, Biotin
What’s the Difference Between Prenatal and Postnatal Vitamins
If you recently had your baby, you might now be wondering if the nutritional demands of the postpartum period are being met by your prenatal vitamins. So let’s take a look at what the difference is between prenatal vitamins and postnatal vitamins.
Prenatal vitamins - “Prenatal” means before birth, so prenatal vitamins are designed to support your body throughout your pregnancy leading up to the birth of your baby (see our top prenatal vitamins for PCOS if that concerns you). Pregnant women have increased nutritional demands, and a good prenatal vitamin will meet those needs. For example, pregnant women require additional iron and folate to ensure their health and the health and development of their babies.
Postnatal vitamins - “Postnatal” refers to the afterbirth period or the postpartum period. Postnatal vitamins are specifically designed to support the unique needs of women who recently gave birth as well as women who are breastfeeding. Postnatal vitamins should contain significantly less iron than prenatal vitamins because postnatal moms don’t need as much as they do during pregnancy.
As the stages of our journey to motherhood change, so do our nutritional needs, which is why it’s important to choose a vitamin that contains the proper amount of the essential nutrients you need to support you during each stage.
Honing In on a New Mom’s Nutritional Needs
Pregnancy and birth do a number on our bodies. During pregnancy, several key nutrients like calcium, Vitamin B6, and folate, are depleted. During the postpartum period, it’s important to shift our focus to re-stocking those nutrients.
If you’re nursing, you also need to consider the nutritional needs of oyur newborn and that your milk contains all the vitamins and minerals that he or she needs to grow and thrive. A healthy diet can go a long way, but the demands of taking care of a newborn often get in the way of our ability to eat the healthy, nutrient-dense foods our bodies need. This is where having a high-quality, intentional postnatal vitamin can come into play.
How About Nursing Moms?
Lactation requires a lot of energy. On average, your body needs an additional 450-500 calories per day to make breast milk for your baby. The extra calories you need will need to come from all three macronutrients; protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
While eating a healthy, nutrient-dense diet is what’s best for your body and your milk supply, the demands of early motherhood often make it difficult for moms to eat as nutritiously as they would like to. A postpartum vitamin can help fill in those gaps.
For breastfeeding moms, in particular, extra Vitamin D and B vitamins are crucial for overall health as well as for supporting cellular energy demands.
What If I’m Not Breastfeeding?
Carrying and delivering a baby is among the most nutritionally demanding times in a woman’s life. Your body needs nourishment during this critical period. Regardless of whether you are breastfeeding or not, your body is depleted of key nutrients, making it vital that you replenish it with the appropriate vitamins and minerals that you might not be getting enough of from your regular meals.
Postpartum Vitamins Buying Good: What to Look For
Choosing the right postpartum vitamin is as essential as it was choosing the right prenatal vitamin. The key is to choose one that contains the right nutrients to support the needs of your postpartum body, enrich your nursing experience and has a reputation for quality and excellence.
Below are a handful of considerations you should think about as you’re deciding which postnatal vitamin is the best fit for you and your needs.
The nutrients that you will need in your postpartum period are very similar to those that you needed during your pregnancy, however, there are a few small changes in the formulation that can set your 4th trimester apart from the other three. When looking for a postnatal vitamin, be sure that it includes the following, at a minimum;
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
Unfortunately, the supplement industry remains largely unregulated, which means that we have to be very intentional about the brands we choose. I recommend that you do your research into the brand and make sure that you’re buying from the one you can trust. Keystones of a trustworthy brand include third-party testing, high-quality, traceable ingredients, science-based formulations, and a stellar reputation for excellent customer service.
Cost and Ease of Buying
Lastly, how much will your monthly postnatal supplement cost? And how easy is it to make sure that you never run out? Costs for supplements will vary from company to company, and while this shouldn't be the major determinant of your choice, it will play a role. Look for a brand that offers a postnatal at a fair price and that offers a subscription service that auto-delivers your vitamins to your door each month so that you never run out.
If you’re breastfeeding, you will want to choose a postnatal supplement that contains the essential nutrients your body needs to support your milk production. Iron, protein, and calcium are going to be key for your body’s needs.
Our Top-Rated Picks for Postnatal Multivitamins
There are a lot of products out there, so finding the right one can be difficult. However, I pinpointed four brands that do it right when it comes to creating their postnatal vitamin with high-quality and clinically studied ingredients.
#1. Ritual Essential For Women Postnatal
Ritual Essential for Women Postnatal vitamins are formulated to meet the nutrient demands of new moms for 6 months postpartum and throughout their lactation journey. Inside, there are 15 traceable ingredients, so you can know exactly what you are putting in your body.
Ritual uses a Smart Capsule design that features delayed-release technology that allows the nutrients to dissolve later, in less sensitive areas of the tummy. This allows you the option to take with or without food. Plus, Ritual’s Postnatal capsules are easy to take thanks to the mint tab included with every bottle, keeping them fresh.
The key ingredients inside RItual’s Postpartum vitamins include Vitamins A, C, D3, and Zinc to help support normal immune function, Omega-3 DHA and Vitamin B12 to support brain health, and Omega-3 DHA to support the fatty acid content of breast milk in breastfeeding women.
Ritual also offers pregnancy and postpartum Protein Powder that helps support the protein requirements of pregnant, nursing, and postpartum moms.
- 15 traceable ingredients targeted at postpartum moms
- Easy to take capsules with the time-delayed release for gentler digestion
- Mint is essenced for freshness
- Easy to swallow capsules
- No unnecessary ingredients
- Subscription service available
- Some people don’t like the minty essence
#2. Best Nest Wellness Mama Bird Postnatal Multi+
Best Nest Wellness Mama Bird Postnatal Multi+ is an advanced postnatal multivitamin with methylated vitamins that provide breastfeeding and post-pregnancy support for you and your baby. Meticulously created and third-party tested, Best Nest Mama Bird is a formula that you can rely on to contain the nutrients you and your baby need.
Best Nest uses vegan organic superfoods, probiotics, and digestive enzymes to allow for gentle digestion and for optimal absorption of nutrients. Mama Bird Postnatal Multi+ comes in a convenient, once-daily formula that’s easy to remember to take. Plus, the caplet is small and easy to swallow.
Key ingredients inside Mama Bird Postnatal include Methylfolate to support healthy neuro-development, iron to supply oxygen to the body and brain as well as boost energy, and methylcobalamin (Vitamin B12) which is essential for making serotonin which affects mood, sleep, memory, and more.
Best Nest postnatal vitamins are non-GMO, free of artificial colors or flavors, dairy, soy, nuts, and gluten, and vegan.
- Third-party tested
- Highly specified postnatal nutrition
- Natural, vegan, whole-food-based multivitamin
- The formula includes superfoods, probiotics, and digestive enzymes for easy digestion and optimal absorption
- Subscribe and save option
- Only one capsule per day
- Some people experienced nausea when taking (might need to take with food)
- The cost is a tad higher than some other options
#3. Perelel Health Mom Multi Support Pack
Perelel Health Mom Multi Support Pack contains the vitamins, minerals, and supplements you need to feel your best as a new momma. Supporting you throughout your entire motherhood journey, Perelel Health Mom Multi includes collagen, an anti-stress blend, added omegas, and a full-spectrum multivitamin.
Perelel Health supplies its supplements in convenient packs that you take once per day. Mom Multi Support was formulated by a panel of leading obstetricians and maternal-fetal medicine doctors to provide you with the support you need throughout motherhood.
Each daily pack of Perelel Mom Multi comes with two core multivitamins, 1 Omega DHA + EPA capsule, 1 beauty blend capsule, and 1 stress support blend capsule. Perelel Health offers special formulations based on the age of your child; you can choose from newborn, infant, toddler, and age 3+ so that you get a formula tailored to the unique needs of your current stage of motherhood.
All capsules inside Perelel’s Mom Multi-Pack are gluten-free, soy-free, non-GMO, and made with their no-nausea formula. Each box comes with a 30-day supply of packets.
- Contains more than just multivitamins, giving support for other areas of motherhood
- Convenient daily packs for easy consumption
- Highly specialized formulas based on your current stage of motherhood
- Developed by leading obstetricians and maternal-fetal medicine experts
- Monthly subscription available
- The Core Multivitamins are the same for all stages of pregnancy and postpartum
- Multiple capsules to take per day
- The monthly cost is higher than other options
#4. Mary Ruth’s Prenatal & Postnatal Liquid Multivitamin
Formulated to support mom and baby from conception through nursing, Mary Ruth’s Liquid Prenatal and Postnatal Multivitamin is an easy-to-take formula that’s perfect for those who don’t enjoy swallowing capsules. All products created by Mary Ruth’s are non-GMO, Vegan, Dairy-Free, Nut Free, Gluten and Wheat Free, Soy Free, Sugar-Free, and made in a GMP Facility.
Since this product is designed to cover moms throughout their entire pregnancy and beyond, it’s packed with tons of vitamins and minerals in percent daily values that are appropriate for pregnant and nursing mothers. The liquid formula makes it easy to drink on its own or to add to your favorite beverage or food.
- All in one formula that can be used from pregnancy to postpartum
- Liquid formula for easy digestion
- Free of any additives or artificial ingredients
- Berry flavor
- Some users complained that it tastes bad
- They don’t offer separate formulas for pregnant vs postpartum moms
Frequently Asked Questions
Let's take a look at some common questions I get, so you can get the answers you're looking for.
How Long Should You Take Postpartum Vitamins?
The general recommendation is for women to take postnatal vitamins for six months post-birth to ensure that their body is getting all the nutrients it needs to thrive and nourish their baby if breastfeeding. For breastfeeding moms who nurse past six months, you might want to continue taking your postnatal vitamins, but always speak with your doctor about what’s best for your situation.
Should I Stop Taking Prenatal vitamins After Giving Birth and Switch to Postnatal Vitamins?
There’s nothing wrong with continuing to take your prenatal vitamins during your postpartum period, however, switching to a postpartum-specific formula might give you more of what you need during this stage and less of what you don’t. That said, taking some kind of multivitamin is better than taking nothing at all in most cases.
The Bottom Line
Postnatal vitamins make a wonderful addition to your diet and lifestyle post-baby. For busy moms who aren’t likely getting enough sleep and might be lacking in the nutrition department, supplementing with a targeted postnatal vitamin like the ones we listed above can help you fill in the nutritional gaps that will help keep you and your baby thriving.
I always recommend that you do your research and consult with your doctor before starting any new supplements, especially when you are breastfeeding as they can potentially affect your milk quality and supply.
All of the options we listed above are great for those who desire safe, trusted, and science-backed postnatal vitamins that work.
My Top Recommendation
I stand by my top four choices on this list, but one product does stand out amongst the crowd, and that is Ritual. They create specific multivitamins for women with rigorous third-part testing and high quality ingredients.
Tips for Success From a Nutritionist
- Try taking your postnatal vitamins around the same time every day for maximum efficiency.
- Utilize the subscribe and save feature of these vitamins so that you can have your multivitamins delivered to your door without having any gaps in your nutrition.
- Schedule your vitamin to be taken at mealtime to minimize the chance of feeling nauseous.
- Make sure you’re eating a nutritious, balanced diet that’s packed with whole food sources and all three macronutrients.