When to Stop Taking a Prenatal Multivitamin and Start Taking a Postnatal
Women should consider switching to a postnatal as soon as they give birth, and continue taking one for six months postpartum (or longer, if they’re continuing to breastfeed). Baby’s arrival also ushers in a new (and often unparalleled) wave of nutritional demands, especially for lactating parents. Among the 29 essential micronutrients, lactation increases the demand for more than half of the essential micronutrients compared to pregnancy and other life stages. And our POV is that anyone who has recently birthed a child—whether they choose to breastfeed or not—deserves to feel supported in their body as they navigate those intense first months.*
A quality postnatal multivitamin specifically formulated for this life stage can help support the nutritional needs of new parents. There are 15 nutrients in particular women should consider looking for in a postnatal multivitamin (all of which are included in our Essential Postnatal):*
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin D3
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin B12
- Omega-3 DHA
- Vitamin K2
Some of these nutrients are consistent with most women’s nutritional needs whether they’re expecting, lactating, or not—just in slightly higher levels. Others are to help support nutritional demands associated with postpartum. Either way, a good postnatal multivitamin should help eliminate some of the guesswork around nutrition postpartum.*
We created Essential Postnatal specifically for the arrival of a mother’s new nutrient needs for six months postpartum, and throughout lactation. Featuring the aforementioned 15 key nutrients in obsessively-researched forms, just two (vegan-friendly!) pills a day help support bone health, brain health, lactation support, and normal immune function. Also, to help encourage healthy habits and make taking a multi more of a pleasure and less of a chore. We took into account common multivitamin-related grievances, like stomach upset and unpleasant taste—opting for delayed-release capsules designed to dissolve later (translation: you can take them on an empty stomach), and adding a food-grade minty tab to our bottles to nix odors and keep things fresh. The way we see it? No funky smell should get between you and your Ritual.*
A word on the minty tab: It’s infused with pure peppermint oil from Yakima, Washington—and nothing else. We added the tab to our bottles exclusively to enhance the experience, as multivitamins that contain omega-3 DHA can often have aromas reminiscent of the ocean due to the presence of fish oil, or in our case, omega-3 vegan algal oil.
Even though none of Ritual’s multivitamins are formulated with peppermint inside the capsules (only the food-grade bottle insert contains peppermint), our commitment to Traceability—and the importance of providing safety assurance to our breastfeeding community—led us straight back to our roots: science. We hired an external consulting firm to investigate the relationship between the peppermint in our minty tab and how it relates to milk supply. This firm conducted a toxicological assessment of exposure to peppermint during both pregnancy and lactation, which confirmed our own rigorous research findings: that the levels of peppermint in our minty tab do not pose a safety risk. That said, talking to your doctor about any specific concerns is never a bad idea.*
Consider Macro Needs, too.
Prenatal and postnatal multivitamins are great options to support micronutrient (vitamin and mineral) needs for pregnancy and postpartum. But it's important to consider macronutrients (protein, carbs, fat) as well. Exhibit A: People need more protein during pregnancy and lactation to help support the increased nutrient demands that occur during these life stages. In fact, the amount of protein deposited in maternal and fetal tissue increases over the course of pregnancy.* (1,2,3,4)
It's a big reason why we developed Essential Protein Pregnancy & Postpartum for this life stage specifically—and added choline for good measure.*
When to Stop Taking Postnatal Vitamins and When to Switch Back to a Regular Multivitamin?
Once people hit the six month mark after birth and are no longer lactating, a regular multivitamin, like Essential for Women, should help support nutrient needs. For those who are still breastfeeding, we suggest sticking with a postnatal multivitamin. Pretty simple, right?*
And as always, check with your physician if you have any specific questions about supporting nutrient needs during this important time. New parents—you got this.
†As a health company that adheres to standardized nutrition research—which is often reliant on assigned sex at birth—we face some unique challenges regarding our gender-specific messaging. Our decision to use gendered terms is, unfortunately, a result of these limitations in nutrition research. In cases where complying with the binary distinction is necessary for scientific accuracy purposes, we want to make it very clear that we recognize a person’s gender identity might differ from their assigned sex.