In America, we’ve done a less than stellar job focusing on and supporting maternal health. While this is a full-stop statement, it’s particularly true during the postpartum period. So often, women have their babies and quickly (re: instantaneously) lose sight of how important it is to continue to take care of themselves. It doesn’t help that we live in a toxic bounce-back culture where paid maternity leave is a rare privilege that depends on the benevolence of your employer. And while finding the best postnatal vitamin won’t solve these problems, it can support your journey to recovery and thriving post-baby.
Featured image by Teal Thomsen.
Amidst the lack of sleep, incessant cries, and the newness of it all, it’s easy to throw all of yourself into your baby and forget the importance of self-care. But thankfully, society’s views and expectations of new mothers are shifting for the better. More and more, women are sharing their pregnancy, birth, and postpartum experiences, and new media and social attention is being given to maternal health and wellness in general. The tide seems to be turning in the right direction!
While we can’t blame an exhausted, sleep-deprived, milk-drenched mama for forgetting to make space and time to nourish and fill her cup, let this serve as a reminder: it’s important to continue to tune in to your health! Below, I’m sharing how finding the best postnatal vitamin can support your journey to recovery and help you thrive.
Lauren Zielinski is a certified nurse-midwife with over 11 years of experience in women’s health and birth. She studied medicine at The University of Colorado-Denver with a focus on community health and birth center work.
How Postnatal Vitamins Work
In an ideal world, we would all eat a balanced diet that fulfills each and every nutritional requirement for ourselves and our little one. Of course, that’s hard to do, (mamas hardly have time to shower!). Therefore daily vitamins help us balance our nutrient intake to maintain steady levels of supportive nutrition, vitamins, and minerals, especially during a taxing season of our lives.
Postnatal vitamins differ from prenatal vitamins in a few ways. They are specially tailored to nourish post-birth bodies and their little ones by:
- Supporting the overall increased nourishment requirements for breastfeeding or pumping mothers.
- Containing targeted vitamins (like choline, DHEA, and iron) that support infant brain and eye development.
- Helping women’s bodies recover from the naturally stressful event of birth by restoring vitamin E, vitamin A, vitamin C and magnesium levels.
- Boosting vitamin D levels to prevent osteoporosis later in life.
- Offering energy support by bumping up baseline levels of B vitamins to help convert food to energy more readily.
The Best Postnatal Vitamin: What to Consider
Price and Quality
These two criteria often go hand in hand. However, that doesn’t mean you need to find the most expensive vitamin to get great quality. If you’re on a budget, there are still plenty of great options out there.
Generally speaking, our bodies absorb nutrients from actual food better than any processed version of a nutrient. In your search for the best post-natal vitamin, look for vitamins and minerals from actual food sources! It’s always a good idea to do your research on what helps vitamins and minerals be more bio-available. Trust me, it’s education that will serve you for life!
How do you want to take it
Some people are just not pill swallowers, but don’t worry—the market’s shifted in your favor. I’ve personally found that if a vitamin tastes like a gummy, I’m more motivated to remember to take it every day. Think about what works best for you and narrow down your options. Postnatal vitamins are available as capsules, tablets, gummies, or a chewable formula.
Prenatal Vs. Postnatal Vitamins
What’s the difference? The truth is that, oftentimes, the nutrition requirements aren’t all that different for pre- and post-baby and there aren’t many postnatal vitamins on the market. The major benefit of postnatal vitamins is that some contain herbs and supplements to support breastfeeding or mental health while most prenatal vitamins do not.
The Best Postnatals on The Market
Best All-Around: Perelel Mom Multi Support Pack
- Formulated by OB-GYN’s and Maternal Fetal Medicine Doctors
- Evidence-based ingredient choices
- Contains DHA & EPA for infant and maternal brain and maternal mood support
- Contains collagen and biotin to support skin, hair, and nails postpartum
- Contains l-theanine and ashwagandha to support a calm mood and mental health
- This a more expensive pick, but it meets the needs of three separate supplements: postnatal, beauty, and mental health, all in one pack
- Contains 2000 IU Of Vitamin D3
- B vitamins for energy support
Best Real-Food Vitamin: MegaFood Baby & Me 2 Postnatal Multi
- Made with real food for optimal absorption
- Formulated by renowned women’s health physician, Tieraona Low Dog, MD
- Includes choline for baby’s brain development
- Contains moringa leaf, the go-to milk supply-boosting supplement
- Can be taken on an empty stomach
- Contains all of the essential nutrients and vitamins a postnatal should have
Best easy-to-absorb: Thorne Basic Prenatal
- No additives
- Contains high-quality ingredients to boost absorption ability such as 5-MTHF
- Contains biotin which can support hair, skin, and nail health during pregnancy and postpartum
- Free of dairy, gluten, and soy
- Contains choline for infant brain health (if breastfeeding or pumping)
Best Tasting: Smarty Pants Prenatal Formula
- Contains DHA/EPA (fish oil) for infant brain health
- Natural flavors made from vegetables and fruits
- Delicious taste
- Contains inositol to help balance blood sugar
- Contains multiple B vitamins for energy
- 1,200 IU Vitamin D3 for bone health and immunity
Best Subscription: Ritual Essential for Women Postnatal Multivitamin
- Subscription option so you never miss a day
- Delayed release formula for an easy-on-the tummy vitamin routine
- Refreshing, minty flavor
- Only two pills per day
- Contains immune-supporting vitamins like vitamins A, D3, and zinc
- Contains a cocktail of infant brain health nutrients: Choline, DHA, B12
- Omegas support fatty acid content of breast milk
- Offers traceable ingredients so you can feel good about what you’re putting in your body
Best for Energy, Mood, and Lactation Support: New Chapter Perfect Postnatal Multivitamin
- Made with real vegetables and herbs and naturally fermented for easy absorption
- Gentle on the stomach
- 100% vegetarian with no artificial colors or flavors
- Supports mood with calming herbs like lemon balm, chamomile, lavender, and cardamom
- Contains turmeric and oats for breastfeeding support
- Contains B vitamins for energy support
Best Price: Nature Made Postnatal Multivitamin + DHA
- Best price for quality on the market
- Only one pill per day
- Made with DHA for infant brain health and fatty acid breast milk support
- Sourced from high-quality ingredients
- No artificial flavors
- Includes B vitamins for energy support
Best Liquid Option: Mary Ruth’s Liquid Prenatal and Postnatal Vitamin
- Berry flavor created from actual berries
- Zero fat, zero sugar, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, vegan, non-GMO
- Contains hesperidin to help treat postpartum hemorrhoids
- Contains ginger root extract for postpartum healing and breastmilk production support
Best Complete Vitamin: Pink Stork Total Postnatal + DHA
- Good price
- Gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, soy-free, non-GMO
- Third party tested
- Vitamin D for bone health and mood
- Iron for blood loss
- Vitamin B12 for energy support and mood
- Folate and DHA for infant brain health
Best Probiotic: Rainbow Light Prenatal One Multivitamin
- One pill per day for ease
- Contains probiotics
- Made with high-quality, real superfoods
- B vitamins, vitamin C, and zinc for immune and energy support
- Infant brain support with folate and choline
- Great price for a high-quality vitamin
Best Chewable Vitamin: Seeking Health Optimal Prenatal Chewables
- Formulated by a naturopathic doctor
- Bioavailable nutrients for efficient absorption
- Contains antioxidants
- Contains Vanadium for blood sugar control
- Great taste and sugar-free
- Methylated folate for increased absorption
- B vitamins for maternal energy
- Biotin for hair and nails
- Immune support with zinc and vitamin C
- COQ10 for cellular energy
Best Additional Postpartum DHEA Support: Nordic Naturals Postnatal Omegas
- High-quality fish oil made from wild-caught fish
- Lemon flavor masks unpleasant fish smells
- High dose of omegas in one capsule
- Includes 1000 IU of vitamin D3
Best Liquid Vitamin: Carlson Labs Super Daily D3
- Contains 6,000 IU of vitamin D3 (the optimal dose for breastfeeding mothers)
- Only one drop needed daily
- Produced by a longstanding, high-quality lab