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Prenatal vs Postnatal Vitamins What is the difference holistichHer

Prenatal vs Postnatal Vitamins: What is the difference?

Prenatal vitamins and postnatal vitamins are essential supplements to assist with both mother's health and the development of the baby. Most people understand the importance of prenatal vitamins, which promote a foetus’ development and support the mother-to-be, but many women don’t realise that their nutritional needs are just as vital during the postpartum period, especially when breastfeeding.

Luckily, we’re here to help. In this article, we’ll discuss prenatal and postnatal vitamins, the differences, and when you should be taking each of them.

What is the difference between Prenatal and Postnatal vitamins?

The difference between prenatal and postnatal vitamins is actually pretty straightforward. Simply put, prenatals are designed to be taken prior to and during pregnancy, while postnatals should be taken for at least six months after birth (or longer if you are breastfeeding).

The vitamins and nutrients in a prenatal are mainly designed to focus on the developmental needs of your baby. One of the most essential nutrients included in a prenatal is folate which helps to lower the risk of neural tube defects. Other essential vitamins that should be included are DHA, iodine, choline, B12, zinc —to name a few.

During pregnancy, growing your healthy baby takes precedence and your body will use essential nutrients to nourish your growing little one. With the majority of nutrient stores lost during delivery, after birth it is common for new mothers to lack the essential nutrients to support both their own body and their baby (particularly through breast milk while breastfeeding). The postpartum period is one of the most demanding phases of life both physically, mentally and emotionally.

This is where postnatal vitamins come in. Mothers who have just given birth need good nutrition supplementation to support their healing and recovery, and for mothers who are breastfeeding, their diet also has a direct impact on their baby's health and growth.

When it comes to ingredients, there are a few important ones to look out for. Iron is important to prevent anaemia and rebuild iron stores after birth, B vitamins support cell formations and energy levels, vitamin D promotes healthy bones and immune systems, and can support mental wellbeing, Also, nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, zinc and choline should all be included in your postnatal vitamins to assist with your postpartum recovery and overall health and wellbeing.

Many of the ingredients you find in pre- and postnatals may be the same, but postnatal vitamins are usually formulated with different combinations and amounts specifically for postpartum needs.

When should I switch from prenatal to postnatal vitamins?

Essentially, you can switch to postnatal vitamins as soon as you give birth or when you finish your supply of prenatal vitamins. As postnatal vitamins can often assist with recovery from delivery, with milk supply, and are uniquely designed for the postpartum period, start taking them sooner rather than later.


Can I continue to take my prenatal vitamin?

There is no harm in continuing your prenatal vitamins to finish your current supply but in general there are different nutrient needs before and after pregnancy. For example, prenatal vitamins often

have more folic acid than needed, whilst during breastfeeding and postpartum you need higher levels of vitamin D, iron, calcium, vitamin C & B, than your prenatal may offer.

How long should I take postnatal vitamins?

This will depend on individual circumstances, but a general recommendation is 6 months post birth or until you stop breastfeeding. You can of course continue as long as you would like, or switch to a standard multivitamin once you no longer require the postnatal kind.

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