Prenatal vs. Postnatal Vitamins - What's The Difference?
Postnatal vitamins are a relatively new thing. Mothers have been told for ages to just keep taking our prenatals after we give birth, or just stop when we run out. So what’s wrong with just continuing on that way?
There’s nothing WRONG with taking a prenatal after birth, but why settle for something that’s not ideally suited for your body’s very different needs after you give birth? You are no longer PREnatal. You are POSTnatal, and your body is VERY MUCH in need of recovery & rebuilding.
After pregnancy, giving birth, and even more so if you breastfeed, your body is depleted of many nutrients that have been prioritized for baby. No wonder mamas are left feeling like they are running on empty, making recovery a longer, more difficult road.
Read on for the rundown on the different levels of VITAMINS needed in the postpartum period compared to pregnancy. These nutrients help mamas recover and thrive through their postpartum breastfeeding journey. For more information on the different levels of minerals needed in postpartum, check out Prenatal vs. Postnatal Minerals - What's the difference?
Vitamin A - with an RDA almost DOUBLE that of pregnant women, postpartum/lactating women are recommended to consume 1300 mcg of Vitamin A per day to support immunity and pass growth & developmental benefits on to baby via breast milk. Vitamin A also benefits vision, reproduction, and cellular function in mama and baby. Vitamin A deficiency in mothers, while rare, is linked to decreased immune function, increased susceptibility to infection, increased maternal mortality, night blindness, and may lead to increased iron deficiency. New Mama provides 1300 mcg, or 100% RDA of Vitamin A as a mixture of palmitate & beta carotene.
B Vitamins (B1, B2, B6, B9, B12) - B Vitamins are needed in higher amounts postpartum to rebuild maternal stores that were depleted during pregnancy, support energy production, boost mood, combat stress and exhaustion. B Vitamins transfer to baby through breastmilk and continue to support baby’s development after birth. New Mama offers over 100% RDA of the ACTIVE forms of every B Vitamin. We have an added focus on Vitamin B6 and provide it in the form of P5P (Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate) as it plays a key role in energy production, synthesizing neurotransmitters in the brain, and metabolizing hormones, helping smooth the typical postpartum hormone roller coaster ride. Buh-bye mom brain & baby blues!
Vitamin C - 50% more Vitamin C is recommended in postpartum than in pregnancy. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant in mother and baby, boosts immunity, and may help prevent mastitis. Vitamin C levels in breastmilk increase or decrease based on mother’s consumption. New Mama provides 100% of the RDA of Vitamin C for lactating mothers.
Vitamin D3 - Vitamin D is needed in higher amounts postpartum. Over 50% of mothers are Vitamin D deficient as they enter postpartum. Vitamin D decreases risk for postpartum depression and anxiety, reduces inflammation, boosts immunity and bone health, and is essential for calcium absorption and development of baby’s brain & nervous system. Vitamin D transfers to baby through breastmilk, and breastfed babies need supplemental Vitamin D drops if mothers are not consuming at least 6,400 IU of Vitamin D3 per day to transfer adequate levels to baby through breastmilk. That's why New Mama offers 6400 IU of Vitamin D3 as cholecalciferol (the active form) in a daily serving, which saves you from purchasing and remembering to give baby a separate supplement every day.
Vitamin E - Almost 30% more Vitamin E is needed postpartum - 19 mg/day postpartum vs. 15 mg/day in pregnancy. Vitamin E works as an antioxidant to improve skin, metabolic, cardiovascular & bone health, boost immunity, and promote recovery after birth. It transfers to baby through breast milk and may help prevent anemia, protect eye and lung health, and aid in healthy muscle development in baby. New Mama provides 105% of the RDA of Vitamin E as highly absorbable Delta & Gamma Tocotrienols (not the more common, less effective mixed tocopherols you see in many other products).
Vitamin K2 - New Mama provides a mixture of Vitamins K1 & K2. While both forms are beneficial, K2 is the active form. Vitamin K and contributes to normal blood clotting in mother & baby, bone health and a healthy heart and blood vessels. K2 works to direct absorbed calcium to appropriate places in the body (like bones during baby’s development) instead of undesirable destinations like the heart or blood vessels. Fun facts: the human placenta preferentially transports K2 from mama to baby while en utero, and human mammary tissue is the most effective tissue at converting K1 to K2, so lacting mamas are Vitamin K converting machines! New Mama provides 100% of RDA of Vitamin K for lactating women.
By: Jeanne Reilly, Registered Dietitian, Mom, Co-Founder I Am Nurtured