image bio

FREE FIRST MONTH! Get the first month of your new CoQ10 Liquid Capules subscription FREE with 4-month commitment with code FREECLC Shop Now >>

Login/Sign up to see rewards balance

0 Item(s) in the shopping cart
Home > Learn > Postpartum > >Should I Take Postnatal Vitamins If I'm Not Breastfeeding?

Should I Take Postnatal Vitamins If I'm Not Breastfeeding?

Mar 10, 23 6 min

Postnatal vitamins are full of important nutrients, but are they necessary if you aren’t breastfeeding? Keep reading to find out. 

By OBGYN and fertility specialist Dr. Kenosha Gleaton

It’s important that you’re nurturing your body as best as you can in the weeks and months postpartum. Your hormones are changing, your body is healing, and it’s likely that you aren’t getting a ton of sleep. Let’s talk about why postnatal vitamins and supplements are so important for everyone, regardless of if you’re breastfeeding or not.

What are postnatal vitamins?

Postnatal or postpartum vitamins are similar to prenatal vitamins, but are formulated with different nutritional needs in mind. Postnatals are a blend of vitamins and minerals that can help your body heal after childbirth and support your overall health. Many postpartum vitamins are marketed towards breastfeeding moms for lactation support, but there are plenty of other benefits to taking a postnatal or other multivitamin while postpartum if you aren’t breastfeeding.

 

Natalist call to action featuring postpartum products

What’s the difference between postnatal vitamins and prenatal vitamins?

Your vitamin routine before and during pregnancy is focused on supporting iron levels, preventing spina bifida, building strong teeth and bones, etc. while your postpartum needs have changed a bit. There are many postnatal vitamins on the market, so the ingredients will vary from brand to brand. Let's compare Natalist Prenatal Daily Packets to Natalist Postnatal Vitamin

Prenatal Daily Packets

Postnatal Multivitamin

Vitamin A

700 mcg

700 mcg

Vitamin C

48 mg

50 mg

Vitamin D

50 mg

25 mcg

Vitamin E

15 mg

10 mg

Folate

1330 mcg DFE

500 mcg DFE

Biotin

100 mcg

20 mcg

Choline

150 mg

400 mg

Iron

27 mg

5 mg

DHA

450 mg

200 mg

Iodine

150 mcg

150 mcg

As you can see, the postnatal vitamin is still packed with a lot of vitamins and minerals, but has been tweaked to accommodate specific postpartum needs. Prenatal vitamins usually have much higher concentrations of ingredients such as folate, iron, and DHA to help form the neural tube, nervous system, red blood cells, and so on [1]. When you’re postpartum your nutritional needs are more focused on healing your body and supporting energy levels. 

Postpartum nutritional needs 

What do nutritional needs look like for new moms that aren’t breastfeeding? The postpartum period is a time of healing and transition, and it’s important to give your body the same attention and care you did while you were pregnant. Aside from supporting basic functioning and health of the body, some vitamins and minerals can have specific benefits during the postpartum period. 

Omega DHA

Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy fats that support neurological development during pregnancy, and support mood stabilization and healing postpartum. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation may have preventative effects on mood and anxiety disorders, helps with inflammation, and helps to reduce some symptoms associated with postpartum depression [2-3]. 

B vitamins

B vitamins such as B12, B6, B9, and others, are important nutrients for DNA synthesis, oxygen transport, and metabolism [4]. Research shows that supplementation of specific B vitamins can reduce the risk of postpartum depression, reduce fatigue, and support energy levels [4-5]. Data also suggests that B vitamins play an important role in hormone balance, an important part of postpartum healing [8]. 

Vitamin D

The sunshine vitamin, vitamin D, plays an important role in mood, immune function, and bone health. Data suggests that adequate vitamin D intake during and after pregnancy may reduce postpartum depression and boost immune system function [6]. Vitamin D is also considered a multifunctional hormone due to its many roles in the body and may help with reproductive hormone regulation [9-10]. 

Vitamin C

Vitamin C has important properties that support physical healing and immune system function. Vitamin C is an antioxidant and helps synthesize collagen, which is associated with joint pain, wound healing, skin elasticity, and more [7]. 

It’s also important to note that many women are at a higher risk and may experience various nutritional deficiencies during pregnancy due to the shared nutritional demands. Continuing a multivitamin regime after childbirth may help address deficiencies or low vitamin levels.

The fourth trimester

There’s a reason that the postpartum period is referred to as the fourth trimester. You may no longer be pregnant, but your body is still going through a lot of changes internally and externally. New moms are often encouraged to continue taking their prenatal vitamins after giving birth for at least a few months or until they run out. Even if you aren’t breastfeeding, you can benefit from taking a comprehensive postnatal vitamin or general multivitamin. Certain nutrients found in these supplements can help reduce the risk of postpartum depression, improve your hormone regulation, boost your immune system, and support your energy levels. Speak with your healthcare provider for specific recommendations on postpartum nutrition, and be sure to treat yourself to a self-care day. You’ve earned it! 

 

References:

  1. Jouanne M, Oddoux S, Noël A, Voisin-Chiret AS. Nutrient Requirements during Pregnancy and Lactation. Nutrients. 2021;13(2):692. Published 2021 Feb 21. doi:10.3390/nu13020692

  2. Su KP, Matsuoka Y, Pae CU. Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Prevention of Mood and Anxiety Disorders. Clin Psychopharmacol Neurosci. 2015;13(2):129-137. doi:10.9758/cpn.2015.13.2.129

  3. Hsu MC, Tung CY, Chen HE. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation in prevention and treatment of maternal depression: Putative mechanism and recommendation. J Affect Disord. 2018;238:47-61. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2018.05.018

  4. Tardy AL, Pouteau E, Marquez D, Yilmaz C, Scholey A. Vitamins and Minerals for Energy, Fatigue and Cognition: A Narrative Review of the Biochemical and Clinical Evidence. Nutrients. 2020;12(1):228. Published 2020 Jan 16. doi:10.3390/nu12010228

  5. Khodadad M, Bahadoran P, Kheirabadi GR, Sabzghabaee AM. Can Vitamin B6 Help to Prevent Postpartum Depression? A Randomized Controlled Trial. Int J Prev Med. 2021;12:136. Published 2021 Oct 19. doi:10.4103/ijpvm.IJPVM_240_19

  6. Abedi P, Bovayri M, Fakhri A, Jahanfar S. The Relationship Between Vitamin D and Postpartum Depression in Reproductive-Aged Iranian Women. J Med Life. 2018;11(4):286-292. doi:10.25122/jml-2018-0038

  7. Vitamin C- Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. National Institutes of Health. March 26, 2021. Accessed March 2, 2023. URL

  8. Kaewrudee S, Kietpeerakool C, Pattanittum P, Lumbiganon P. Vitamin or mineral supplements for premenstrual syndrome. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018;2018(1):CD012933. Published 2018 Jan 18. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD012933

  9. Jukic AMZ, Wilcox AJ, McConnaughey DR, Weinberg CR, Steiner AZ. 25-Hydroxyvitamin D and Long Menstrual Cycles in a Prospective Cohort Study. Epidemiology. 2018;29(3):388-396. doi:10.1097/EDE.0000000000000804

  10. Ellison DL, Moran HR. Vitamin D: Vitamin or Hormone?. Nurs Clin North Am. 2021;56(1):47-57. doi:10.1016/j.cnur.2020.10.004

Shop Products From This Article

Postnatal Vitamin

Nutritional & energy boost for breastfeeding‡

$40

Omega DHA

Pure omega-3 fatty acids

$30

Shop Products

sticker bestseller

Prenatal Gummies

Get your first month FREE with code FREEFIRST

$35

sticker new

Guide to IVF e-Book

A comprehensive overview of IVF

$10

sticker bestseller

CoQ10 Liquid Capsules

Get your first month FREE with code FREECLC

$35

Subscribe & Save $2.00 sticker favorite

The Lube

Bestselling fertility-friendly lubricant

$23

sticker bestseller

Prenatal Gummies

Get your first month FREE with code FREEFIRST

$35

sticker bestseller

CoQ10 Liquid Capsules

Get your first month FREE with code FREECLC

$35

sticker bestseller

Prenatal Daily Packets

Vegan prenatal daily packets

$60

Inositol Plus

Supports ovarian health and cycle regularity‡

$35

sticker bestseller

Pregnancy Tests (4-Count)

As low as $3.20 per test

$16

sticker favorite

Ovulation Test Kit

As low as $0.76 per strip

$25

sticker favorite

Women's Fertility Test Bundle

Bundle & save $26

$205 $185

sticker save

The Test Strip Pack

Bundle & save with our earth-friendlier test strips

$37