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The best postnatal vitamins have been tested for safety and contain the nutrients you need after birth and during breastfeeding.
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Car seat — check. Midnight diaper changes — no problem. Baby snuggles — of course! You're rocking this parent gig already, but if all of the responsibilities have you taking a shortcut with your diet, it's time to get that under control too.


If you were a strict follower of your doctor's instructions for your prenatal vitamin, don't let the birth of your baby stop you from keeping up with your health.

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Prenatal supplements are designed to support a healthy pregnancy, but you've had a lot happen to your body over the last nine-plus months — including giving birth to a baby (or multiple) — and you still have some pretty impressive nutrient needs.

While a nutritious diet is the best way to meet these needs, a postnatal supplement could help you fill in any remaining gaps.

The Best Postnatal Vitamins

How We Chose

When choosing these postnatal supplements, we tapped two experts in maternal nutrition for their recommendations on what is needed in the postnatal period: Kerry-Ann Kelly, MD, an ob-gyn with Spora Health, and McKenzie Caldwell, MPH, RDN, a fertility and prenatal dietitian.


Along with providing the nutrients new birthing and breastfeeding/chestfeeding parents need, each of these supplements has, at a minimum, met rigorous standards for quality, and that typically means they have been third-party tested for your safety and peace of mind.

Find more information on how we choose and cover products here.

Prenatal vs. Postnatal: What's the Difference?

The majority of nutrients don't change significantly from a prenatal to a postnatal supplement. The amount of iron in your postnatal will decrease. Typically folate will stay the same, but your needs decrease slightly.

The following nutrients have slightly increased needs postpartum and should be included in a postnatal supplement.

1. Theralogix TheraNatal Lactation Complete Postnatal Supplement


  • Third-party tested
  • Has vitamin D


  • Pricey

This supplement offers many advantages over the others in our list if you are a breastfeeding parent. It has all of the nutrients recommended by our experts, plus choline, selenium, magnesium and iodine, all of which Caldwell suggests having in a good postnatal.

TheraNatal also has 6,400 IU of vitamin D. While this may sound like an excessive amount, it is currently recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics that infants take a separate vitamin D supplement (drops) because the amount provided in breastmilk is inadequate. In a randomized controlled trial, it was found that 6,400 IU of vitamin D supplement in the nursing parents was enough to supply breastmilk with enough vitamin D to forgo supplementation in the infant, according to October 2015 research in Pediatrics.

TheraNatal is third-party tested by NSF, and the daily supplement is two tablets and one softgel. You can also get a discount if you buy Theralogix supplements through your doctor.

2. Nature Made Postnatal With DHA

Best on a Budget


  • Third-party tested by USP
  • Easy-to-swallow softgel


  • May have an aftertaste

This supplement checks all the boxes for what you need in a postnatal supplement, with all of the nutrients recommended by our experts. It has the higher amount of vitamin D (2000 IU), DHA, folic acid, and the recommended amount of iron for lactation.

This supplement is third-party tested by USP and is a softgel which can be easier to swallow. It's also an inexpensive way to make sure you have the nutrients you need.

3. Best Gummy: SmartyPants Prenatal

Best Gummy


  • Third-party tested by NSF
  • Contains DHA
  • Tasty


  • Does not have iron

Even though this says prenatal, this formula will support your postnatal needs with a few exceptions. This gummy has most of the essential postnatal nutrients plus vitamin B12, iodine, choline, folate and selenium, but like most gummies it does not have iron, so you may want to consider a separate iron supplement.

It also only has 1,200 IU of vitamin D, so feel free to take an additional vitamin D supplement to get more.

SmartyPants prenatal also has DHA to support your needs. It is third-party tested by NSF and gluten-free. These gummies come in fruit flavors and are a good choice if swallowing pills is an issue for you.

4. Needed Prenatal Multi-Powder

Best Vegetarian


  • Has more calcium that most supplements
  • Easy to take
  • Vegetarian


  • Does not have iron
  • Pricey

Needed's multi-powder is an unconventional way of taking your multivitamin, but it might be the way to get you to remember to take it.

It has a lot going for it, including 4,000 IU of vitamin D and the remaining nutrients you need to look for in a postnatal supplement — iodine, magnesium, vitamin B12, choline and selenium. It also has more calcium than most multivitamin supplements.

It does not have iron, though, so you'll need to get that from a separate supplement or from iron-rich foods (meat, fish, beans, lentils, etc.).

Needed claims all of their products are third-party tested for quality and for heavy metal contamination.

5. Nordic Naturals Postnatal Omega-3


  • Endorsed by the American Pregnancy Association
  • Lemon flavor
  • Can be taken with a multivitamin that doesn't have DHA


  • May cause burps

Nordic Naturals is a leader in omega-3 supplements, and their postnatal omega-3 supplement may be a great choice for you if you have either chosen a multivitamin without DHA or simply need an additional DHA supplement.

It is third-party tested and is endorsed by the American Pregnancy Association. It's also lemon-flavored to help cut down on fishy burps that often come with fish oil supplements.

What to Look for in a Postnatal Vitamin

The supplement aisle can be confusing, and the online space is even harder to navigate. Here's your checklist to help you find a high-quality postnatal vitamin:


1. The Right Nutrients

Vitamin D:‌ Vitamin D will continue to be an important nutrient for you post-birth, regardless of whether you choose to breastfeed. Caldwell recommends a minimum of 2,000 IU in your supplement.


"Research suggests that low levels of vitamin D may be linked to postpartum depression," Dr. Kelly says. "For this reason, your doctor may recommend vitamin D as one supplement to try postpartum to help prevent and alleviate symptoms of depression, as well as support the immune system to keep you healthy."


Iron:‌ Your iron needs increase substantially during the prenatal period, but they decrease during the postnatal period. Most postnatal supplements do not have a large amount of iron, but Caldwell suggests continuing your prenatal supplement until you run out. There is more iron in a prenatal vitamin than you will need in a postnatal, but immediately after giving birth, you may need it.

"You've likely lost a good deal of iron during birth, so this is a key nutrient many new moms will need," Dr. Kelly says. "Particularly if you're someone who typically doesn't get enough iron in their diet (like vegetarians, for example), definitely consider taking iron supplements or a postnatal vitamin with iron."


When you run out of your prenatal, feel free to make the switch to a postnatal with the OK from your health care team.


Postnatals are lower in iron than prenatals or even a typical women's multivitamin, so when you start menstruating again, you'll need to get back to the RDA of 18 grams per day.

DHA:‌ Omega-3 fatty acids are not only important for you and your health, but also to support brain development in your baby if you are breastfeeding or chestfeeding, Dr. Kelly says.

DHA needs increase during pregnancy, and those needs stay about the same during lactation, so if you found an omega-3 supplement you liked during pregnancy, you can continue to take that.


B12:‌ Vitamin B12 is another necessary nutrient to get in your postnatal, Dr. Kelly says. "Babies deficient in vitamin B12 have been shown to be more irritable, have increased risk for developmental delays and failure to thrive and more."


If you're breastfeeding or chestfeeding, make sure your prenatal has 100 percent of your daily recommended amount of B12.


Folate:Folate needs continue during the postpartum period, but the type of folate you take isn't as important as your prenatal supplement. During the prenatal period, folate in the form of folic acid serves mainly to prevent neural tube defects in your developing infant.

During the postnatal period, all types of folate are acceptable to help keep your folate stores full. You might see folic acid, whole-food folate or methylfolate as forms of folate available in your postnatal supplement.

2. Third-Party Testing

Third-party testing means that a supplement has passed an independent review that tests for quality, purity and, most often, heavy metal contamination. There are multiple third-party testing labs, but the big three that you might see most often are NSF, USP and Consumer Lab.

Third-party testing ensures that your supplement has what it says on the bottle and in the proper amounts. This is your first check when buying a supplement and you should think carefully about buying one that isn't tested independently.

3. Limited Fillers

Especially if you are breastfeeding or chestfeeding, you need to make sure your supplement does not have any fillers that could be harmful if passed through your milk. Many supplements have herbs or herb blends, so it's important to give a quick call to your doctor to make sure these are safe for you — and your baby, if you're breastfeeding/chestfeeding.

In addition, supplements may be a source of allergens if that is something you have to worry about. The common culprits are gluten, soy and dairy.


Some multivitamins, especially gummies, have added sugar, so if that's something you're watching, just be aware.


Always check out the dosage on your supplement bottle. Often, postnatals may require more than one pill or gummy, so check your dosage before you take them to make sure you're getting everything you need in the right amounts.

Who Needs a Postnatal?

It's important to note that the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists (ACOG) does not make any recommendations about postnatal vitamins.

While some experts believe most people can get the nutrients they need after birth through a well-balanced diet, others believe vitamin supplementation (like postnatals) is important, especially for parents that breastfeed or chestfeed, per the American Pregnancy Association.

Some people (with the approval of their doctor) may even choose to continue taking prenatal vitamins after birth to make sure their breastmilk has the nutrients their baby needs. This may be important for those who don't eat a balanced diet, or follow a specific diet (like gluten-free or vegetarian, for example), per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

But keep in mind the ACOG doesn't make any specific recommendations about how long prenatals should be continued after birth, either.

The bottom line: It's undeniable that once you've given birth (whether vaginally or through C-section) your nutrient needs change. It's important that you get enough essential vitamins and minerals, macronutrients (like carbohydrates, protein and fat) and water, not only for you, but for your baby, too.

"This will help your body heal," Dr. Kelly adds.

If you don't know whether you're lacking in certain nutrients, talk to your doctor. They can run some blood work and let you know whether you need a postnatal vitamin.

When to Talk to Your Doctor

Everyone's needs are different, and your needs after birth are unique. This is why it's worth talking to your doctor at your next postpartum check-up, to see whether you need a postnatal, the ingredients to look out for and how long after birth you should take it.




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