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Home > Learn > Nutrition > >Why Is Taking Magnesium Postpartum Important?

Why Is Taking Magnesium Postpartum Important?

Jul 04, 23 8 min

By registered dietitian and fertility specialist: Lauren Manaker

When a person thinks about postpartum nutrients, magnesium isn’t always top of mind. But this mineral can play an important role in your postpartum journey in many ways, especially for breastfeeding women, and it is not a nutrient that should be ignored.

You may have been aware of the benefits of magnesium during pregnancy, but if you are curious to learn why magnesium is such an incredibly important nutrient to consume during the postpartum stage, read on to get all of the details.

What is Magnesium Anyway?

Before we dig into why magnesium is so important, understanding what magnesium actually is is a must. Our bodies depend on us taking in both macronutrients and micronutrients to supply it with what it needs to function. Macronutrient-wise, we must consume carbohydrates, protein, and fat to fuel our bodies and allow it to produce energy, support muscle growth, and regulate hormones, among many other functions. 

When it comes to micronutrients, the vitamins and minerals that we get from food and supplements supports the body’s ability to carry on major functions like breaking down carbohydrates and allowing the heart muscle to beat. 

Magnesium is a micronutrient mineral that is naturally occurring in many foods that we eat. Since our bodies can not make magnesium on its own, we must consume enough to supply our bodies with this key mineral in order to perform the functions that it does so well — like helping convert food to energy, playing a role in repairing DNA and RNA, and regulating neurotransmitters. 

Some estimates suggest that as much as 30% of the population has magnesium deficiency. [1] 

For most healthy adults, adequate magnesium intake can help support their health by supporting healthy blood sugar levels, supporting bone health, and helping combat feelings of anxiety, along with many other positive roles in the human body. 

Benefits of Taking Magnesium During Postpartum

The postpartum stage is a unique time when nutrition needs differ from any other time in your life. Between healing from delivery, managing sleepless nights, and supporting healthy breast milk if you are breastfeeding, your body has a lot to take care of after the baby is born. If you are taking a prenatal vitamin or postnatal vitamin, you may already be getting enough of this mineral.

So, why is magnesium so important during the postpartum period, especially for breastfeeding women? Along with this mineral supporting your health in ways that it always has (like helping keep your bones strong), here are some unique ways that this key mineral helps a new mama during an exciting and challenging stage. Here are some benefits of taking magnesium supplements to maintain a healthy magnesium level during postpartum.

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Supports Hydration

When we think about maintaining hydration, many of us immediately think about including fluids in our diet. And while it is true that taking in liquids helps manage proper hydration, including electrolytes in your diet can play a key role in helping you prevent dehydration as well.

Magnesium is a key electrolyte that helps your body maintain proper fluid balance. And while proper fluid balance is important throughout your lifetime, it is especially important during the postpartum stage to support your body’s demands and to help support your milk supply. Proper hydration can also support healing, mood, and even energy levels. Hydration & Energy Electrolyte Drink Mix is a great way to get in all your vital minerals, support energy, and support hydration levels. 

Protects Against Postpartum Preeclampsia

Postpartum preeclampsia is a rare condition that can happen to the birth mother after a baby is born, and is associated with high blood pressure and large amounts of protein in the urine. Untreated, this condition can lead to scary outcomes like stroke or even death.

Unfortunately, this condition can happen to anybody who delivers a baby up to six months after delivery, regardless of whether they had preeclampsia during pregnancy. 

And although this condition can’t be completely avoided, certain forms of magnesium may help prevent seizures associated with this risk factor. [2] Your health care provider may provide this mineral via an IV if indicated.

Decreases Blood Pressure

Thanks to the pain, drugs used, and the use of IV fluids during labor and delivery, it is not uncommon to experience elevated blood pressure after a baby is born.

Magnesium helps blood vessels relax. And more relaxed blood vessels may mean lower blood pressure. 

Reduces Risk of Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a mood disorder that affects approximately 10–15% of adult mothers, and is associated with negative thoughts, mood swings, and crying spells. And while data is mixed, some research suggests that magnesium is linked to a reduced risk of developing this condition. [3] 

Supports Sleep

Quality sleep and having a newborn can sound like an oxymoron. And while we can’t promise that you will get eight solid hours of restful and uninterrupted sleep every night, we can tell you that taking magnesium supplements may help your body relax, supporting your ability to get some quality shut-eye. Taking magnesium before bedtime may help you take advantage of those rare quiet evening hours and help you fall asleep.

Recommended Magnesium Dosage During Postpartum

If you are taking magnesium supplements during postpartum, the amount of magnesium that you take depends on how much magnesium you are receiving in your diet. If your diet is rich in magnesium foods, your need for a supplement may be slim. Conversely, if you are not eating a balanced diet and you want the important benefits of this key mineral, you can supplement up to 320 mg every day. Natalist Magnesium Plus drink mix has 300mg per serving, and also contains vitamin D3 and calcium. Check out our postpartum kit that conveniently bundles our magnesium drink mix, vitamin D gummies, and pregnancy-safe fiber capsules to help you feel confident in your postpartum nutrition.

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Magnesium and Breastfeeding

You may be asking, is magnesium safe while breastfeeding? For breastfeeding parents, ensuring certain nutrients are included in your diet has never been more important. And among DHA, choline, and other nutrients that are transferred via breast milk to the baby, magnesium is one that should be top-of-mind as well, especially when considering magnesium supplementation. For some, leaning on magnesium vs. melatonin is a solution.

Why? For one, adequate magnesium intake may help support your milk supply. No, magnesium won’t literally make your body produce more milk, but since this mineral plays a role in helping your body relax, magnesium may indirectly help your breast milk flow a bit more freely thanks to your stress level being more in-check. It's essential for breastfeeding mothers to pay attention to their magnesium levels.

While breast milk concentrations of magnesium do not appear to be impacted by the maternal diet, it is still important to take in enough to support mom’s health, as if her intake is low, the baby’s needs will be prioritized, possibly at the expense of mom’s bone health and other factors. [4] 

No data suggests that there is any risk associated with including magnesium supplements in your postpartum or lactation diet, making it safe for breastfeeding moms. As long as you are sticking to the RDA, including this essential mineral as a dietary supplement in your breastfeeding plan appears to be safe. Speak to your healthcare provider about your unique supplement needs especially if you are a pregnant woman or a nursing mother concerned about milk production and the well-being of your breastfed infant.

Foods that Include Magnesium

Finding foods that contain magnesium is not a hard challenge to overcome. Many plant-based foods are jam packed with this important mineral, and many people who eat a balanced and varied diet have no trouble meeting their needs. 

Foods that can help you meet your magnesium needs include:

  • Dark chocolate
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Walnuts
  • Avocado
  • Legumes
  • Tofu
  • Whole grains
  • Salmon
  • Bananas
  • Milk

Of course, supplementation is always an option for people who do not include magnesium foods in their diet regularly. Talk to your healthcare provider about your diet and supplementation.

Magnesium to Support a Postpartum Journey

Among the postnatal vitamins out there, magnesium is one that should not be ignored during your postpartum journey. From helping you get restful sleep to supporting your bone health to even possibly helping you on your breastfeeding journey, adequate magnesium is certainly a goal to achieve during these precious postpartum months (and beyond). 

While we do believe that it is best to get your nutrients from food, we also understand that the task of keeping a new baby alive while healing from delivery and adjusting to your new role doesn’t necessarily allow for the time required to cook home cooked and balanced meals every day. If you are not meeting your magnesium needs via your diet, a magnesium supplement may be a wise addition to your plan of care. 

Explore our postpartum collection for a range of products to support your postpartum journey. We’re here to support you on your motherhood journey.

 

References:

  1. DiNicolantonio JJ, O'Keefe JH, Wilson W. Subclinical magnesium deficiency: a principal driver of cardiovascular disease and a public health crisis [published correction appears in Open Heart. 2018 Apr 5;5(1):e000668corr1]. Open Heart. 2018;5(1):e000668. Published 2018 Jan 13. doi:10.1136/openhrt-2017-000668
  2. Anthony J, Johanson RB, Duley L. Role of magnesium sulfate in seizure prevention in patients with eclampsia and pre-eclampsia. Drug Saf. 1996;15(3):188-199. doi:10.2165/00002018-199615030-00004
  3. Etebary S, Nikseresht S, Sadeghipour HR, Zarrindast MR. Postpartum depression and role of serum trace elements. Iran J Psychiatry. 2010;5(2):40-46.
  4. Dror DK, Allen LH. Overview of Nutrients in Human Milk. Adv Nutr. 2018;9(suppl_1):278S-294S. doi:10.1093/advances/nmy022

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