Prenatal vs. Postnatal Vitamins: What’s the Difference?
If you're planning for baby's arrival or into your postpartum period, you've likely been told to continue taking your prenatal vitamins. Now, there’s a better option that is suited to the unique needs of a mother who has recently given birth. (You guessed it! We’re talking about Premama Postnatal Vitamins!)
So, what's the difference between prenatal and postnatal vitamins? Prenatal vitamins are necessary for growing a baby—in fact, doctors advise on taking them at least three months before trying to conceive (more on that here). During pregnancy, growing your healthy baby takes precedence. The vitamins and nutrients in a prenatal are designed to focus on the developmental needs of your baby. In turn, your body also prioritizes baby and will take from you to give your little one what they need.
With baby as the priority, it's easy to see how depletion in the mother can happen, especially when pregnancies are close together and/or you are breastfeeding - as neither allow your body to replenish its' nutrient stores.
Enter: Postnatal Vitamins. Premama Postnatal Vitamins are designed specifically to focus on your needs in the 4th trimester and beyond. Those needs are very unique. We're so busy taking care of baby, we often forget to take care of ourselves. In such a whirlwind period of our lives, implementing two capsules of postnatal vitamins into your daily routine can make a huge difference for your recovery and wellbeing.
Why trade your Prenatal for Postnatal Vitamins?
We took a look at the minimal amount of postnatal vitamins in the marketplace and found their nutrient content did not stack up against the true nutrient needs of postpartum moms. so, we decided to create our own after-birth vitamins. Why? First, lets talk about postnatal depletion. After birth, there are a constellation of changes that happen in your transformation to motherhood:
- The physical act of delivery takes a toll (after all, that’s why it’s called labor!) Women lose about a half a quart of blood during vaginal birth, and about a full quart during a caesarean birth. Many women become anemic following delivery, causing you to feel extra tired and weak. Which is why doctors recommend taking a supplement with iron to replenish your iron levels.
- There are the physiological changes to your body (if you didn't know what a perineum is, bet you do now!) Muscle cramping is very common those first few weeks postpartum. From your uterus contracting back to its original size, to even leg and foot cramps, it's important to restore your calcium and magnesium levels.
- Hormonal changes. Cue: night sweats. As your levels of estrogen plummet, your body is trying to figure out what happened that made it go from the highest high, to the lowest low levels of hormones. Bleeding can continue for up to 6 weeks or more after birth. This is called lochia and it contains blood, mucus and tissue. Also, did you know your period does not return (for most women) until breast feeding concludes? Postpartum hormones can be a roller coaster and it's important to take your postnatal vitamins to help bring you back to equilibrium.
- Interruption of your circadian rhythm and day/night sleep cycle. Baby is likely feeding ever 2 hours or so in the beginning, and does not know the difference between night and day yet! I'm yawning just thinking about it. This is why you need all the B-vitamins to give you energy throughout the day.
- The new daily demands now that baby has arrived. Such as: LOTS of newborn laundry, cleaning and sanitizing bottles and pacifiers, changing the diaper pail, cleaning your breast pump parts, and the list goes on. Quick Mom Hack: Did you know you can store your breast pump parts in the fridge during the day so that you do not need to clean them after every use? I didn't until I weaned my baby, sigh... Anyways, all of these daily demands continue on top of your recovery and caring for your new babe. It's not easy, and some days it's okay to just take your postnatal vitamins, put the chores aside and cuddle babe all day long. You both deserve it.
- An often-hurried diet (hence why postnatal vitamins are so crucial for your diet!)
- All layered with the psychological, mental, and emotional components of taking care of a newborn. Which is why we included the nutrients PQQ and Saffserene. More on those below!
Dr Oscar Serrallach, author of the Postnatal Deletion Cure, describes this time:
"Think of your body as a plastic bag full of water. The more water in the bag, the better you feel and the better you are able to cope. Each day of pregnancy, the birth, each sleepless night, each long day of breastfeeding, is like putting tiny pinpricks in the plastic bag. You can repair these holes, but it takes a little time. When there are only a few sticks of the pin, only a very small amount of water escapes the bag. The trouble, though, is when the holes start to come more quickly than you can repair them. Such is the body after childbirth; when there are too many stressors and not enough time to recover, your levels quickly become depleted.
We created our Postnatal Vitamins to help women replenish vital nutrients that were naturally depleted throughout pregnancy and birth, and also support them with some specific areas of concern during the 4th and 5th trimester.
Postnatal challenge #1: Baby brain
How Postnatal Vitamins can help: PPQ (pyrroloquinoline quinone) is a clinically-studied, driving nutrient that helps promote alertness, concentration, and memory. If you’re struggling with brain fog or forgetfulness, this one’s for you. (And we hope you find your phone.)
Postnatal challenge #2: Baby blues, anxiety, or mood changes
How Postnatal Vitamins can help: Saffserene is clinically proven to give your mood a natural boost. After giving birth, your estrogen and progesterone levels drop dramatically, contributing to 'baby blues' such as mood swings, anxiety, sadness or irritability. Usually they get better within the first two weeks after birth. However, postpartum depression (similar symptoms that are more intense and last longer) affects at least 15% of women, and this number is only based upon the amount of women who report it. Many go without seeking help, which we are hoping to change. If you suspect that you may be suffering from postpartum depression, don’t ignore it. Pushing through could mean suffering when you don’t have to. You deserve to be cared for and supported just as much as your baby.
Postnatal challenge #3: Nutrient depletion & Breastfeeding
How Postnatal Vitamins can help: Premama postnatal vitamins contain higher amounts of vitamins A, C, D, K, thiamin, niacin, K1, Calcium, Magnesium, and B Vitamins to replenish your body. Using postnatal vitamins for nursing ensures your breast milk is fortified with everything baby needs while also ensuring that you aren’t further depleted through breastfeeding. Note: it does not increase milk production. We have a separate supplement for that: Lactation Support (not everyone breastfeeds, so we wanted to be mindful of that while formulating our Postnatal vitamins).
Postnatal challenge #4: Increased energy demands
How Postnatal Vitamins can help: The higher doses of B vitamins help to give you a natural boost of energy to get through your day. It’s a better game plan than caffeine, which can mess with your precious sleep later on. It's still so important to rest when you can especially in the first few weeks postpartum, though we know that's easier said than done. Think of it this way: Your body grew another human being for nine-plus months, it's completely normal for it to take that time or longer for your body to fully heal and feel like yourself again.
- If you’re pregnant or trying to conceive, opt for our Prenatal capsule.
- If you’ve given birth, Postnatal Vitamins are best for your 4th and 5th trimesters.
Want to get more tips on how to thrive during the 4th trimester? Check out our Definitive Guide to Doing Postpartum Better.