A woman’s body is all out of sorts after childbirth. Even the most peaceful and perfect labor and delivery is sure to cause some serious postpartum hormonal changes and a need for physical healing. According to the CDC, about 1 in 8 American women suffer from postpartum depression each year.1 In addition, it’s common for women to have a vitamin D deficiency resulting in fatigue, an aching body, and difficulty thinking clearly.2 Your body will need a lot of TLC, and certain vitamins can help you. The following postpartum vitamins and supplements are proven to help women meet specific postpartum needs.
1. Prenatal Vitamin
Most doctors recommend that a woman stays on the same prenatal vitamin she’s been taking throughout her pregnancy until she has finished breastfeeding. If you have decided not to breastfeed, you can still stay on the prenatal until you feel physically “back to normal.” After childbirth, many women cannot maintain a balanced diet at first. The prenatal will compensate for the nutrients you aren’t getting from your diet.
2. Fish Oil
Postpartum depression is real and common among new mothers. The condition affects about 1 in 7 new moms in the U.S.3 within the first year of having their baby. Nearly half go undiagnosed or do not seek treatment/support.4 Fish oil is a source of Omega 3 and fatty acids, which may help reduce the symptoms of postpartum depression.5 I have been taking fish oil as a postpartum supplement and can say that it has effectively kept the baby blues at bay. It’s been a while since I gave birth, but because I am still breastfeeding, I am keeping it a part of my daily postpartum vitamin regimen. This is because Omega 3’s are also proven to aid in developing infants’ brain and eye tissue.6
3. Vitamin D
Research suggests that most women have a vitamin D deficiency.7 This is especially true if one’s region or lifestyle doesn’t allow for adequate sun exposure. Vitamin D is important in maintaining both physical and mental health. Studies show that vitamin D deficiency is linked to postpartum depression, cardiovascular disease, and even certain types of cancer.8 Further, if a mother is breastfeeding, a lack of vitamin D in the mother’s diet will result in a vitamin D deficiency for the baby.
4. Vitamin C
Whether you have a vaginal birth or a C-Section, one thing is certain: you will have some healing to do. Vitamin C is essential in aiding your body as it heals and fends off illness by boosting your immune system. You mustn’t go overboard, though. The recommendation is not to take more than 2000 mg per day.9 Any more than this can cause an upset stomach or diarrhea. And trust me, you don’t want to add another cause of diarrhea because you will likely already have it anyway!
This beneficial bacteria supplement is important for a woman’s overall health following childbirth. Probiotics line the mucus membranes of the digestive, urinary, and vaginal tracts. This means that taking a probiotic supplement will foster healthy vaginal tissue as well. And at this point in a woman’s life, healthy vaginal tissue is significant! Pain medication and a funky diet can wreak havoc on your digestive system, and having a C-section (see C-section recovery must-haves) is sure to cause gastrointestinal chaos. Probiotics will help get your gut back to functioning properly after such abnormal activity.10
It is important to note that while these supplements can benefit your postnatal recovery, each woman is one of a kind and our bodies have unique and individual needs. You can discuss these supplements with your doctor to decide which ones best suit your needs.