11 Postpartum vitamin & supplements every new mom should take

11 Postpartum vitamin & supplements every new mom should take

Imagine recovering from pregnancy faster.

  • …more energy
  • ….better sleep
  • ….And no constipation!

Sounds like a dream, right?

By the end of this post, you’ll have my favorite vitamins & supplements to optimize hormone balance, energy, sleep, and thyroid health.

So, why do we need more supplements?

I know, I felt the same way. I didn’t think my body needed anything else.

You eat “healthy”, you exercise, you take some adaptogens. So why do you need more pills?

Let’s dive in.

A pregnancy, any pregnancy, can leave the body depleted. And after multiple pregnancies, your body needs deep nourishment. Click To Tweet

Consider why so many women end up with Thyroid problems, Crohn’s disease, or other Autoimmune disorders after pregnancy.

They’re lacking, valuable nutrients.

Most of these vitamins are found in your daily multi-vitamin, but personally, I find using higher quality, liquid vitamins to transform your body faster.

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Postnatal Vitamins

Here are my favorite nutrients for women after birth.

#1 B-Vitamins

Look for a multi-vitamin that contains a B-complex with methyl-B to support a healthy nervous system and liver detoxification or consider adding in the specific Vitamin B you need.

  • B12
    • Improves the quality of your sleep by resetting circadian rhythms.
    • Dosing: 1,000 mcg under your tongue
  • B9
    • B9 is also called folate or folic acid, is one of 8 B vitamins
  • B6-
    • Have you noticed you wake up startled in the middle of the night? This may be due to cortisol spikes.
    • Dose: Take 50-100 mg before bed to relieve night waking.

#2 Vitamin D3

The sunshine vitamin! Known to support immunity, boost mind and mood, especially for slight depression. It’s also essential for optimizing blood sugar when elevated.

Dose: 2,000 units/day up to 4,000 units/day for 3 months.

#3 Zinc

Zinc is a valuable vitamin for gut health repair and is also proven to shorten symptoms of cold symptoms by a few days. It also is a cofactor for collagen building and repair.

Pro tip: If you take a Zinc supplement on it’s own, make sure you eat something first as it can cause nausea.

Zinc Food Sources:

  • red meats (especially organ meats)
  • pumpkin seeds
  • sesame tahini
  • lentils
  • garbanzo beans
  • cashews
  • quinoa
  • seafood
  • leafy vegetables
  • root vegetables

Dosing: Zinc Citrate 30mg/day or Zinc carnosine to heal gastric inflammation 30 mg/day

#4 Vitamin C

Not only can it reduce the number of colds you have, Vitamin C is a cofactor for Collagen building and repairing; which you need for your pelvic floor and abdominal region rehab after a pregnancy.

Vitamin C Food sources:

  • citrus fruits
  • strawberries
  • rose hips
  • dark leafy greens

#5 Magnesium

Known as the calming mineral and one of the most depleted minerals most people have, Magnesium can help reduce constipation, detox the liver, and helps with muscle relaxation; especially during a stressful time like raising small children.

Pro tip>> Take Magnesium citrate at night to produce a soft bowel movement in the morning. If you get diarrhea, back off on the dosing and add in Mg Glycinate to total the daily amount.

Magnesium Glycinate is the preferred daily dose form. If you do not struggle with constipation, take Magnesium Citrate at night.

Daily Dose: 300-1200 mg/day

#6 Selenium

If you’ve had positive thyroids antibodies prior to pregnancy, you can reduce your risk of postpartum hypothyroidism by 50% by adding in 200 mg of selenium to your diet.

Food Sources of Selenium

  • brazil nuts – Just 1-3 nuts can provide enough nutrients to support your thyroid health.
  • oysters
  • mushrooms
  • fish
  • sunflower seeds
  • beef
  • lamb and chicken

Postpartum Supplements

#1 Collagen

Your pregnancy and birth have probably been one of the most transformative experiences you’ll ever have in your lifetime. Collagen is essential for rebuilding bones, teeth, skin, joint surfaces, and healing the unique injured you’ve incurred due to pregnancy.

After birth, your pelvic floor muscles and your abdominal area have sustained an injury and need to heal. Eating foods high in collagen can speed healing.

A C-section is the only abdominal surgery where the patient is given no rehabilitation and is sent home with a new baby to care for.- Burrell Education Click To Tweet

Collagen Food Sources

  • Bone broth
  • chopped organ meats like liver
  • Bulletproof Collagen protein powder

#2 Essential Amino Acids

Amino acids are one of the many building blocks to aid collagen repair.

Look for foods with Lysine and Proline that are found in:

  • meat
  • egg whites
  • Vegetarians can seek sources of wheat germ and peanuts

#3 Probiotics

The gut-brain axis is the specific pathway that involves the neural, endocrine, and immune system. It has been hypothesized that restoring your gut flora can relieve anxiety, alleviate depression, reduce inflammatory cytokines, and reduces HPA axis overstimulation.

Basically; you heal your gut, you’ll heal your mood.

Look for probiotics that contain Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species; to reduce the stress response.

Struggling with anxiety and depression?

  • Bifidobacterium infants and B. long are found to be beneficial in reducing depression, irritability, and anxiety.

Dosing: 1-2 capsules a day with a minimum of 10 billion CFUs daily

#4 Omega 3’s

Omega3 fatty acids are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), these are found in fatty fish and have been shown to reduce inflammation, protect the nervous system, boost your mind and mood.

Dose: 850 EPA/200 DHA 1-2 x day

Omega 3 Food sources:

  • Fish {wild salmon and sardines}
  • Walnuts
  • Flaxseeds
  • grass-fed beef
  • pasture-raised eggs

If you don’t eat fish, algae-based vegetarian Omega 3 sources are available.

#5 Adaptogens

Are you taking adaptogens yet? These are the life-changing group of botanicals that help us “Adapt around stress.”

If you’re breastfeeding consider starting with these three herbs:

#1 Tulsi

Tulsi is the Sanskrit name for the Holy Basil plant and is known today as an adaptogen. It has been used to support a healthy response to stress, maintain blood sugar levels, and nourish the mind and spirit.

#2 Ashwagandha

Referred to as winter cherry, Ashwagandha is considered a Level 1 safe herb to take while breastfeeding. The translation is roughly, “the smell and strength of a horse” suggesting it’s aphrodisiac properties, but I feel your sleep improves immensely allowing you to withstand the whole day with stamina.

#3 Stinging nettle tea

Known as one of the most nutritious herbs for expecting and nursing mothers, Stinging nettles can help boost your nutritional content after birth.

The sting of the nettle disappears when you cook stinging nettles or drink as a tea. Personally, I love the kiss of the nettles each year, signaling the beginning of Spring.

Dose: Make a cup of stinging nettle tea at night with milky oat tops. Let it steep all night long. In the morning, strain and drink all day.

 

Conclusion

Optimizing adrenal and thyroid health is essential to restoring your body after birth.

Improving elimination will reduce the number of hormones floating around in your body and gently support liver function so you sleep better and have fewer episodes of PMS and PMDD going forward.

Along with a great nighttime routine, {and sleep routine for the kids}, you can easily return to pre-conception levels of energy and healing.

xo Tara

P.S. Ready to learn more? Check out my online courses: https://taragregorio.com/shop/

 


References

Optimal nutrition for postnatal recovery and healing Burrel Education https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3273967/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4518419/ https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/brazil-nuts-benefits#TOC_TITLE_HDR_3 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6445894/

References:

10 Things I would have done differently postpartum

10 Things I would have done differently postpartum

I cried when we left the hospital.

I was so afraid to go home with two babies and get back to real life where I had to cook, clean, and care for two little ones. I was right to be afraid.

Our postpartum time was filled with so much chaos, crying, and sleep deprivation.

We opened two businesses and had twins in the same year. I wouldn’t suggest it to anyone.

Five years later, we survived the fevers, the crying, the sleep training, the potty training, and feeding them with only one experience of Mario choking on ice.

So, I’d love to share with you what I would do differently if I were to raise twins all over again.

#1 Ask for Help

I found it very hard to ask for help. I was a strong, independent woman and didn’t realize it’s ok to ask for help. Although friends and family are very busy, they want to help. I’m forever grateful to those who made us meals, held a baby for just a moment, and ran after baby a, while I ran in the other direction for baby b. Thank you.

#2 Take supplements

I was so against supplements before giving birth. I wanted everything natural and thought I could get my vitamins and minerals from my food. I suffered from digestion problems, so taking anything scared me as I didn’t know enough. I feared taking anything at all that it may disrupt my digestion more. What I know now, is I lost a lot of blood giving birth, and it’s a traumatic, stressful event, the body needs more support. Postpartum women need iron, vitamins, digestive enzymes, EFA’s, and probiotics to restore their gastrointestinal flora. Next time I would take supplements, especially magnesium to release the stress and tension!

Essential fatty acid supplementation (1-3 g/day combined EPA and DHA) and adequate cold water fish consumption during pregnancy and during the postpartum period may prevent or alleviate postpartum depression. ¹

#3 Improve my diet

The first six weeks were all about survival. Whatever you made me, I ate it. I woke up to coffee and had wine to wind down at night. The excessive caffeine contributed to my insomnia and created a terrible daily routine of anxiety. Next time, I would wake up with hot water and lemon and eat oatmeal to aid my digestion. I’d skip the caffeine, chocolate, and coffee.

#4 Skip the wine & beer

I found myself drinking Guinness as it was supposed to increase my milk supply. I would have a glass of wine or a drink to take the pain away in the evening. My body ached from sleeping just two hours most nights, and I was numbing the pain with alcohol. It didn’t help. It created anxiety and insomnia that lasted months. I’d skip the alcohol and drink herbal teas of chamomile, lavender, and stinging nettles.

 

#5 Take adaptogens sooner

Adaptogens are a category of herbs that help you adapt to stress. At the time of my children’s birth in 2013, I studied herbs for over six years but what I was not taking was adaptogens; like Ashwagandha or Reishi mushrooms. These herbs help the body modulate stress, reduce anxiety and ease insomnia. Ashwagandha, motherwort, and nettles are considered L1 in the risk category for lactation risk.² For a list of herbs to avoid while breastfeeding see Kelly Mom’s website.

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#6 Meet with a pelvic floor physical therapist

My six-week postpartum visit to the doctor was a disappointment. I asked her if I had a diastasis recti or a prolapse. She insisted everything was “fine.” I didn’t feel fine. It turns out I did have both. Meeting with a pelvic floor physiotherapist would have confirmed my biggest worries and eased some anxiety about my body. Locally, we love Dr. Ashely Hocutt. See her website here.

#7 Had my thyroid checked

Your thyroid can become hyperthyroid two to four months after birth and then hypothyroid for two to eight weeks. I treated myself for hyperthyroid with botanicals, but I would have loved to have a proper diagnosis. Dr. Aviva Romm discusses your postpartum thyroid here.

#8 Waited to go back to work

In most cultures, the new mom is encouraged to rest for forty days. The family helps with food and caring for the newborn. The mom is invited to sleep and relax. Again, this was not my experience. The worries of the new business, the stress of not sleeping, and the never-ending crying of babies were exhausting. If I were to do it again, I would have planned better to be able to step away from my business and ask for help.

#9 Moved in with my parents

I joke about this, but it’s the truth. Raising twins is hard. Very hard. Living with my family would have helped immensely. End of story.

#10 Hire a postpartum doula

Postpartum doulas are known as the “must have” accessory for new moms. They help new moms with the caring of the child so that would we can trust our inner momma instincts. They also may help with light housekeeping and meal preparation. I breastfed both of my kids for three weeks, and then I looked in the mirror and thought, I am never going to get out of the house if this doesn’t change. That night at 3:00 am I ordered formula and The Baby Whisperer on my phone. The next day Mario ate 5oz. of formula and slept seven hours! I would have loved for someone to tell me it’s ok to give your kids formula! Katherine Whiteside runs a free infant support group at the local libraries. Sign up for Linda’s Ladies breastfeeding support group for postpartum questions and support.

If you are in the “thick of it” and your babies are young. Don’t worry, it will get easier.

I hope some of these tips help you survive the chaos of raising little ones.

xo~

Tara

P.S. Ready to learn more? Join the Postpartum Depression mini-course for just $47. Get started today:https://courses.taragregorio.com/p/postpartumdepressionrelief

 


References:

¹Romm, Aiva; Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health

²Hale, Thomas; Medications and mothers milk 2017