Mothers-to-be know how important it is to prioritize proper nutrition while eating for two. But did you know many doctors suggest you continue taking prenatal vitamins after childbirth? One common reason for this recommendation is that vitamin supplements formulated for pregnant women contain high doses of essential nutrients that support the mother’s and the child’s health, especially if the mother is nursing. Not only that, these vitamin-packed formulas can help you feel better while recovering from childbirth. Of course while supplements can help, they are never a replacement for a healthy balanced diet.
Experts also recommend the following tips to help you feel healthy and energized post pregnancy:
- Eat a variety of foods from each of the five major food groups and limit junk food and fast food
- Consume 3 to 5 servings of vegetables daily
- Choose 2 to 4 servings of fruit
- Opt for 6 or more servings of bread, cereal rice or pasta
- Enjoy 2 to 3 servings of milk, yogurt or cheese for calcium
- Select 2 to 3 servings of meat, poultry, fish, dried beans, eggs or nuts for protein
Breastfeeding nutrition support
The nutrients your baby receives during breastfeeding are directly correlated to your own diet. As any mother of a newborn can tell you, getting enough sleep, and even finding time to shower, much less preparing and eating a nutritious diet are almost impossible when adjusting to life with an infant. A good prenatal vitamin taken after childbirth can provide the nutritional insurance you need to make sure you and your growing baby get adequate levels of vitamins A, D, E and K, as well as water-soluble vitamins such as C, riboflavin and niacin. Even if you’re not breastfeeding, prenatal supplements can help to fill in nutritional gaps.
Boost your stamina
Post birth exhaustion due to diminished iron levels is common, especially if you had significant blood loss during delivery. Prenatal vitamins can help you restore your iron levels to a more normal level and replenish depleted energy reserves. They may even ward off anemia.
Another important nutrient for women who have given birth is calcium. Doctors recommend 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day while nursing — about what you'd get from drinking three 8-ounce glasses of milk. Other options include calcium fortified OJ, Greek yogurt, cheese and leafy greens like spinach and kale.
Being a new mom is a magical time as you bond with your new baby and celebrate the many milestones that come with parenting an infant. To give you and your baby the healthiest beginning, be sure to make healthy choices when it comes to diet and exercise, and ask your doctor about the benefits of taking prenatal vitamins after childbirth.