What Is Postnatal Depletion and Do I Have It?

Growing a baby and giving birth take a lot out of you—literally. 

During pregnancy, many vital nutrients are taken from a mother and passed to the growing fetus. Still more nutrients are lost in the process of giving birth, leaving new mothers drained. Add in not enough sleep (thanks, pregnancy insomnia and hungry baby!). Sprinkle in poor nutrition (even if you’re eating a healthy diet, it’s difficult to consume all the nutrients you and baby need). All of this leads to postnatal depletion.

Postnatal depletion affects more than half of postpartum women, and it can last for up to 10 years. Yes, you read correctly—an entire decade! Some women haven’t fully recovered or built back their nutritional reserve before having another child, which further compounds the issue. Not surprisingly, mothers of more than one child are at a higher risk for postnatal depletion.

DO I HAVE POSTNATAL DEPLETION?

If you’re experiencing any of the following, you’re probably dealing with postnatal depletion:

  • Fatigue
  • Emotional exhaustion
  • Mood swings
  • Baby brain (forgetfulness, fogginess, lack of focus)

WHAT NUTRIENTS AM I MISSING, EXACTLY?

The nutrients that mothers most desperately need to recover during the postpartum years are:

Vitamin A

Vitamin E

Thiamine

Iron

Vitamins B6 + B12

Vitamin K

Choline

Niacin

Vitamin D

Folate

Magnesium

Zinc

 

WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT IT?

Thankfully, there’s a lot you can do to recover. Full disclaimer here: we know some of it isn’t easy with a new baby to care for. So, we’ll start with the easiest option.

  1. Take our postnatal vitamin. Common practice has been to continue taking a prenatal vitamin after giving birth, but that is like using your bike to travel cross-country. A prenatal vitamin is designed differently with a focus on your little one’s development, not your health. Our postnatal vitamin is all about you. It contains all of the key ingredients listed above that you’re most likely lacking. It helps with your mood, energy levels, and focus, and prevents further depletion that can occur through breastfeeding.
  2. Eat a well-balanced diet. If your meal plan says “takeout every night for the foreseeable future,” we get it. We’re not saying it has to be perfect because your sanity is just as important, but there are small ways to get more fresh foods in your body. Put some water bottles (hydration is key) and healthy snacks, like whole washed apples, nuts, or dried fruit next to the spot where you feed your baby. Feed the baby, feed yourself—it’s one simple way to move towards better nutrition. 
  3. Get moving. You don’t have to do a full-on workout or weight lift the baby. Taking a walk around the block with the baby in the carrier or stroller goes a long way for your energy, your mood, and your overall health.
  4. Start a self-care habit. It can be 5 minutes a day if that’s all you have, just do something for yourself. Take a break when you can. Start a new skincare routine you enjoy. Write down 3 things that brought you joy that day. Listen to audiobooks while you feed the baby. Here are more ideas for how to thrive in your Postpartum.
  5. Sleep whenever you can. (Hahaha, yes we know.) But seriously, find ways to sleep whenever you can. Nap if you can. Go to bed earlier to get the longest stretch possible. You can try to work with your partner to tackle wake-ups in shifts, for example you go to bed early with the baby, your partner handles any wake-ups until he goes to bed later, and you catch the early morning wake ups while he sleeps in. Or,switch off who gets to sleep in on weekend days.

We’re sending all the healthy vibes your way! Enjoy that sweet baby smell for us, will you?

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