Post Birth Nutrition: Help For Your Body and Mind

The first couple of weeks post-delivery can be hard on a new mom. A new baby can turn your life upside-down as neonates require a lot of time and care. A lot of new mothers end up neglecting themselves and both the mom and her baby suffer as a result. New moms need to strike a balance so that the baby is well taken care of and the mother as well. Diet, exercise, rest, making time for yourself and ensuring not to isolate yourself can be keys to successfully navigating post partum and the mental gymnastics that can come with it. Part of a mother’s postpartum self-care plan should also include postnatal vitamins that replenish her nutrient stores so that she can thrive. This is a great time for fish oil, especially DHA which we’ll talk about more below.

Post Partum Depression

If you’re feeling extreme joy to extreme sadness or wanting to isolate or maybe you’re having trouble thinking clearly or making decisions these can all be signs of post partum depression. Symptoms can starting anywhere from a few weeks to six months and usually affects one in seven women. If the symptoms are severe please reach out to your doctor right away who can help put a plan in place for you. Today we’re going to focus on the nutritional aspect and how you can put your best foot forward there so let’s jump in.

Why Are Postnatal Vitamins Important?

Pregnancy is very taxing on a woman’s body. We talked about nutritional recommendations for prenatal care in our recent article Prenatal Supplements: What’s Safe And What’s Not. We’re going to build on that with the rest of this article.

Several nutrients like folate, Vitamin B6, and Calcium are depleted during pregnancy. If a woman chooses to breastfeed, her nutrient requirements become higher than they were during pregnancy. It has been found that lactating women often don’t get enough Calcium, Zinc, Magnesium (see Calcium-Magnesium) as well as other critical nutrients. This is because a lot of what a mother eats when she is lactating goes towards enriching her breast milk and that sweet little newborn.

If a lactating mother is well nourished, this helps her baby’s brain and body development. A baby’s brain develops most rapidly during the first two years of life and breastmilk helps to develop a baby’s neural base. Even though a well-rounded diet can help to meet all these requirements, it is recommended that post-partum women take specific supplements to help in the healing process. These should be taken for at least 6 months after delivery and even longer if the woman decides to breastfeed.

5 Critical Nutrients For Postpartum Recovery

During delivery, a woman loses a lot of blood, and iron is required to replace this blood post-partum. New moms are often iron deficient, and this can lead to anemia.  Iron supplements are helpful during this period especially if the mom is vegetarian. Eating iron-rich foods such as red meat, shellfish, and organ meats can also help. Consult with your doctor on this as Iron supplements must be taken with Vitamin C to boost assimilation by the body.

It has been found that a lot of babies are Vitamin D deficient in the first year of life. This is because the mother would not have enough herself. Taking Vitamin D supplements while breastfeeding can help your baby’s thyroid develop well. If you think you’re not deficient in Vitamin D you probably are so take a quick read through our recent article There’s Never Been A More Important Winter to Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Vitamin D and consider a blood test. Vitamin B12 supplements are especially important for vegetarian mothers, this is because this nutrient is mostly found in animal protein. Not having enough Vitamin B12 can reduce the quality of breastmilk that a mother produces and consequently, how much Vitamin B12 her baby gets. Deficient babies are more irritable, fail to thrive and, have poor brain growth.

Babies of mothers that took DHA supplements were shown to have improved brain and vision development. DHA was also found to help the mom cope emotionally in this tough period and reduce the risk for postpartum depression. It also enhances the mother’s mental focus. Choline is similar to folic acid and is crucial for a baby’s brain development. If a breastfeeding mother takes a supplement that has choline, this helps with infant memory and brain development.

Our Top Postpartum Vitamin Recommendations

Hopefully the explanation above helped you pinpoint what your body would need from any postpartum supplementation. We know it sounds overwhelming so here are some suggestions for clinically safe and effective supplements to boost your nutrition.

Nutridyn Everyday Essentials Pregnancy – 30 Packets

There is nothing more important or precious than doing the right things for your new baby and Everyday Essentials Pregnancy is a great nutritional choice throughout your pregnancy and beyond. It contains a comprehensive mix of essential vitamins and minerals to support health during preconception, pregnancy, and nursing. Each bottle contains 30 packets high quality broad coverage supplements including Prenatal and Omega Pure EPA-DHA 720 fish oil which may help avoid postpartum depression.

Fish Oil

If you need fish oil especially DHA the following supplements may be helpful. There is a regular and a specific one for vegans

References

  1. Healthy breastfeeding diet: https://www.nhs.uk/start4life/baby/breastfeeding/healthy-diet/vitamins-for-mum-and-baby/
  2. Top 5 Nutrients for Postpartum Recovery https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/top-5-nutrients-for-postpartum-recovery/
  3. Your guide to postnatal vitamins https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/postnatal-vitamins

NOTHING IN THIS WEBSITE IS INTENDED AS, OR SHOULD BE CONSTRUED AS, MEDICAL ADVICE. ANY HEALTHCARE AND/OR NUTRITIONAL MATERIAL CONTAINED IN THIS WEBSITE IS FOR CONSUMER INFORMATIONAL AND EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. SUCH MATERIAL IS NOT INTENDED AS MEDICAL ADVICE FOR CONDITIONS OR TREATMENT, NOR IS IT INTENDED AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR A MEDICAL EXAMINATION BY A HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL. CONSUMERS SHOULD CONSULT THEIR OWN HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS FOR INDIVIDUAL MEDICAL RECOMMENDATIONS.

About the author

Chris Bowman is the COO of SimplyNutrients.com which is part of Dr. Jamy Antoine's Select Health Practice in Edina, Minnesota. Chris is passionate about helping people live healthier lives through using the best practices of nature, nutrition and medicine.

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