Every parent knows that the postpartum months following pregnancy, labor, and birth can be some of the most challenging of your life. Not only do you have a whole new person to take care of, but if you’re the birthing parent, you’re likely also recovering from labor or a major surgery. During this time, your emotions may feel volatile due to changing hormones. Breastfeeding can also drain your energetic (and emotional) stores quickly.
No matter what your pregnancy and birth journey looked like, the reality is that the postpartum weeks, even beyond those first three months, are all about rebalancing and healing. To aid in that healing, you might consider taking a postnatal multivitamin.
Why? Vitamins and supplements are just that: supplementary to a balanced, well-rounded diet (which includes carbs, calcium, fiber, protein and healthy fats). But during Nutrients “Nutrient Intake during Pregnancy and Post-Partum: ECLIPSES Study” View Source and the Nutrients “Maternal Diet and Nutrient Requirements in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding. An Italian Consensus Document” View Source , nutrients deplete more quickly than usual. A postnatal vitamin may help provide some balance.
Here’s the TL;DR on the best postnatal vitamins:
- Perelel Mom Multi Support Pack (Top Pick)
- Mary Ruth’s Prenatal and Postnatal Liquid Multivitamin (Best Liquid Vitamin)
- FullWell Women’s Prenatal Multivitamin (Best for Breastfeeding Parents)
- Nature Made Postnatal Multivitamin (Budget Pick)
The Best Postnatal Vitamins
Perelel Mom Multi Support Pack
- 30 individual packets with five pills each
- Pills come in various sizes
- Contains essential nutrients for lactating people
- Created in FDA registered and inspected facility
- Requires you to take multiple pills each day
Perelel Mom’s postnatal option contains those three must-have nutrients: vitamin A, vitamin C, and zinc. In addition, the mix includes vitamins D, E, B6 and B12, and DHA and EPA omega-3s, plus folate, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, choline, iron, iodine, magnesium, selenium, copper, and chromium. All Perelel vitamins are created in an FDA registered and inspected facility and third-party tested. This means that a lab other than the one Perelel uses for creation has validated that the multivitamins do not include potential contaminants like heavy metals and microbes. (This is important, as some prenatal vitamins have Toxicology Reports “Heavy metal contamination of prenatal vitamins” View Source in testing.)
It’s so close to being the vitamin that does it all. The thing is, it’s not just one multivitamin. It literally comes with multiple vitamins: the box contains 30 packets with five pills each. Each packet contains pills of different shapes and sizes, which was a hit to my stomach and taste buds. After taking them on an empty stomach, I started burping and developed an upset stomach. Perelel does recommend taking the packet with food—when I did this, it helped the stomach pain, but still left a weird aftertaste.
These factors, plus the fact that it’s the priciest supplement on this list, give some reason for pause. (And it should go without saying that it’s not the best option for anyone who has trouble taking pills.) Still, as a whole, it checks every nutritional box. If you like the idea of opening a robin’s egg-blue sachet filled with nutrient-packed pills each day, Perelel’s support package will appeal to you.
Best Liquid Vitamin
Mary Ruth’s Prenatal and Postnatal Liquid Multivitamin
- 32 oz
- Liquid vitamin
- Contains biotin to support postpartum hair loss
- Palatable taste (and no aftertaste)
- Third-party tested
- Liquid formula may not be ideal for everyone
- Doesn’t have iron
When the Mary Ruth’s bottle arrived at my house, I was skeptical about its enormous size and the fact that it’s a liquid vitamin. The recommended daily dosage is 2 tablespoons, which could have been quite nauseating. Thankfully, the berry-flavored mix tasted more like a smoothie than a medication. (In fact, many people add Mary Ruth’s vitamins to smoothies if they don’t want to drink them straight.) Some of the vitamins left a residue or caused stomach pain an hour or so after consumption—but not this option. After trying several other multivitamins, I found myself actively reaching for the Mary Ruth’s bottle most days. Each 32-ounce bottle contains 32 servings, which is easy to keep track of and ensures you don’t have to constantly replenish.
Mary Ruth’s prenatal and postnatal liquid vitamin contains vitamins A and C and zinc. It also includes vitamins D3, E, B6, and B12, in addition to thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate (as folinic acid, which means it comes from food and not synthetics), biotin, pantothenic acid, choline, calcium, iodine, magnesium, zinc, selenium, manganese, chromium, and ginger root. (More study is needed, but ginger root may help National Library of Medicine “Ginger” View Source .) The only notable nutrients missing are DHA and iron. If the latter is a must-have for you, Mary Ruth’s sells an additional iron-only supplement.
All Mary Ruth products are tested by a third party for quality assurance.
Best for Breastfeeding Parents
FullWell Women’s Prenatal Multivitamin
- 2 bottles with 240 capsules each
- Contains more good ingredients than competitor’s vitamins
- Great for breastfeeding parents
- Third-party tested & transparent
- Dosage is 8 capsules per day
- Does not contain iron
FullWell Women’s Prenatal Multivitamin (which can also be used postpartum) contains more dietitian-recommended ingredients for the postpartum period than any other vitamin I tested except Perelel Mom. Its ingredients are especially valuable for breastfeeding parents. I also loved that the brand is transparent about testing, third-party vetting, and the ingredients included. But you have to take eight pills per day and, like Mary Ruth’s vitamins, the recipe doesn’t contain iron.
Full Well’s prenatal vitamin contains folate, choline, vitamin D, vitamin K2, magnesium, calcium, iodine, vitamin B12, biotin, chromium, copper, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, niacin, pantothenic acid, potassium, riboflavin, selenium, thiamin, vitamin A, B6, C, E, zinc, myoinositol and betaine HCL. In short, that’s everything our experts recommend for postpartum parents, especially those dealing with hair loss and those who are breastfeeding. The only things missing from that list are DHA and iron, which you’ll need to get from your diet or via additional supplements.
All FullWell’s vitamins are tested independently in a third-party lab. You can even access the testing results for your specific lot by emailing [email protected]. I tried this and the brand responded within 24 hours with two PDFs showing the results of the lab tests for each bottle, as well as when it was manufactured.
The taste of the capsules is pleasant, with floral and citrus undertones. My stomach didn’t feel terrible after taking four capsules, and there was no disgusting aftertaste. But there’s one big downside: FullWell’s prenatal vitamin serving size is eight capsules per day. Y’all, that’s a lot of capsules. According to the brand, most people take four capsules at breakfast and four at lunch, or they break the capsules apart and put them in a cool beverage. I tried breaking the capsules apart and found that it made a huge mess. Then, the powder didn’t integrate well into my cold water, leaving me with a chunky mess. And the taste and smell of the capsules-in-water mixture was reminiscent of fish food. I couldn’t choke it down.
Each bottle comes with 240 capsules, which means each shipment of two bottles will give you enough vitamins for 60 days. The pricing—about $50 per shipment, or a bit less if you sign up for a subscription—is also lower than most of the other vitamins we tested. If you’re able to manage the sheer volume of pills, it’s a great option.
Nature Made Postnatal Multivitamin
- 60 pills
- Each pill contains 200 mg
- Tasteless pills
- Checks many nutritional boxes for postpartum people
- Extremely budget friendly
- Large pills can be hard to swallow
If you’re vitamin shopping on a budget, Nature Made’s postnatal option is a good pick. This multivitamin contains vitamins A and C, as well as zinc, meaning that it checks off the basic boxes needed for postpartum people. You’ll also get vitamins D3, E, K, B6, and B12, as well as choline, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, biotin, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, iodine, and magnesium. Unlike Mary Ruth’s vitamin, the Nature Made option includes DHA omega 3 fatty acids. Iron is also an added benefit in this mix. That said, it doesn’t include selenium.
Nature Made only requires that you take one of these pills each day, but beware that the pills are large in size. Thankfully, they’re tasteless. But if you take them on an empty stomach, you may get a stomach ache a few hours down the line. (Nature Made recommends taking one capsule with a meal and water each day to avoid this issue.) All Nature Made products are third-party tested and certified against contaminants.
What Is a Postnatal Vitamin?
A multivitamin is a dietary supplement that usually contains vitamins, minerals, and other nutritional elements. You can buy them in capsule or liquid form. Vitamins for postpartum people should provide a nutritional boost for anyone who’s recently given birth. Most include a variety of vitamins that assist with replenishing nutritional stores for those who are breastfeeding.
Do You Need a Postnatal Vitamin?
Always check with your physician before adding supplements to your diet. But for most people, taking a postnatal vitamin can’t hurt. (A prenatal vitamin might serve your needs just as well, though, as long as it contains the nutrients you need.)
Why take one? As your body heals from delivering a baby, postpartum multivitamins may help you feel more energetic, says Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LDN, CLEC, CPT, a registered dietitian nutritionist and author. If you’re breastfeeding, it may be Lancaster General Health “Vitamins Postpartum: 5 Things to Think About” View Source . “Not everyone will feel any outcomes, but breast milk may be influenced by these supplements. And their healing journey may be improved.”
Research shows that, in general, building PubMed Central “Nutrient Intake during Pregnancy and Post-Partum: ECLIPSES Study” View Source helps both the parent and the baby. Some early research also shows that postpartum people may experience Proceedings of Tennessee Tech Research and Creative Inquiry Day “How are Micronutrient Deficiencies Associated with Outcomes of Postpartum Anxiety and Depression in Women?” View Source if they take care to manage their nutrient intake.
The Nessie Rating: Healthy
Check with your doc first. But as along as a postnatal vitamin contains key nutrients—especially vitamin A, vitamin C, and zinc—and is third-party tested, a postnatal vitamin can be a great way to supplement those first few months of parenthood.
What’s the difference between a prenatal and postnatal vitamin?
Vitamins in both categories vary widely. “Generally speaking, postnatal vitamins tend to be lower in iron and higher in nutrients that help support postpartum healing,” Manaker says. “In some cases, [postnatal vitamins] can also be higher in nutrients that are required in greater amounts during lactation.”
That said, some prenatal vitamins will serve your needs during the postpartum period, too. Check the labels to see what each vitamin contains before purchasing.
What nutrients should I look for in a postnatal vitamin?
There are a lot of postnatal vitamins on the market, but only a few contain the full list of nutrients recommended by nutritionists and medical professionals. According to Manaker, a good postnatal multivitamin will include, at baseline:
- Drugs and Lactation Database “Vitamin C” View Source (which is secreted in breastmilk and assists with proper wound healing)
- Medicina “The Possible Effects of Zinc Supplementation on Postpartum Depression and Anemia” View Source (another dietary element secreted at high levels in breastmilk that helps the immune system and metabolism function)
- Drugs and Lactation Database “Vitamin A” View Source (needed for vision and immune function, and secreted in breastmilk)
Postpartum people are at a PubMed Central “Nutrient Intake during Pregnancy and Post-Partum: ECLIPSES Study” View Source of vitamin D, iron, and folates. A postnatal vitamin should ideally contain all three of those as well.
For people who are lactating, CDC “Maternal Diet” View Source may help to stabilize milk supply while replacing the nutrients lost during the feeding process. Lactating parents should consider getting extra vitamins Advances in Nutrition “B Vitamins in Breast Milk: Relative Importance of Maternal Status and Intake, and Effects on Infant Status and Function” View Source , which are secreted at high levels in breastmilk. DHA omega-3 fatty acid supplementation may be PubMed Central “Overview of Nutrients in Human Milk” View Source for lactating parents too.
For those experiencing postpartum hair loss, there is unfortunately no silver bullet, Manaker says. But upping dietary or supplemental nutrients like Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health “Biotin - Vitamin B7” View Source may help.
For this test, we chose to only try vitamins that contained vitamins A, C, and zinc at baseline. Once we’d pared down the list to those options, we picked brands to test that contained Manaker’s additional recommended nutrients for lactating parents (like B6 and B12). We considered any multivitamins with biotin and DHA omega-3 fatty acids to be nice-to-have but not necessary.
Who should take a postnatal vitamin?
In general, it’s always preferable to get nutrients from whole foods rather than supplement tablets. Still, a postnatal vitamin may help anyone who’s recently given birth fill in some gaps. (Especially if it’s challenging to keep track of what you’re eating while also taking care of a new baby.)
Schedule an appointment with your OB/GYN or midwife if you think you need extra nutritional supplements, even if you’ve already had that box-checking six-week appointment.
How long should you take a postnatal vitamin?
“The duration of taking a postnatal vitamin will depend on a few factors,” Manaker says. If you’re lactating, you’ll want to take a vitamin for the entire length of your feeding journey. If not, a postnatal vitamin can still be helpful for the first few weeks and months of parenthood.
How We Got Here
Who Did This Work
I’m Jenni Gritters, a journalist with more than 10 years of experience covering science, health and psychology. I’ve written product reviews for publications like Reviewed, Wirecutter, Forbes and Slate, and you can find my essays and reported stories in the New York Times and the Guardian. I was previously an editor at Wirecutter where I covered parenting gear, outdoor gear, and travel apparel as a writer and editor. I’m currently five months postpartum with my second child.
For this story, I spoke with Lauren Manaker, a registered dietitian nutritionist and women’s health expert who specializes in nutrition communications and advisory.
Our Testing Process
First, I scoured the internet for postnatal vitamin options. I read dozens of customer reviews and spent hours researching which ingredients are most necessary during the postpartum phase of parenthood. Once I’d drawn up an initial list of 10 vitamin blends, I needed to consult with a nutritionist to learn about which ingredients are absolutely necessary for postpartum people.
Eventually, I landed on three multivitamins that met the nutritional criteria laid out for us by our expert nutritionist. Each of these options hit the baseline requirements but also went above and beyond with specific mixes targeted at people who are lactating and those experiencing postpartum hair loss.
The Nessie ordered each of those three multivitamins and I gave them a try. I’m 5 months postpartum and smack in the middle of experiencing some classic postpartum symptoms—postpartum hair loss, mood swings, and dry skin—so I’m truly the perfect candidate. I tried each pill for two mornings, following the brand’s directions precisely. Then I recorded my thoughts about pill size, taste, texture, aftertaste and stomach pain.
Because I only took each pill for a few days, I did not experience any noticeable, day-to-day differences in mood or energy after trying the different options. That said, I had stopped taking my prenatal vitamin about a week after birth. Adding a multivitamin back into the mix—no matter what it was—seemed to make at least an anecdotal difference in my overall energy levels and my ability to sleep soundly.
For more on how we found the best postnatal vitamins, read the test notes.
How to Pick a Postnatal Vitamin
Which features matter most when choosing a postnatal vitamin?
- Recommendations from your care provider: If you’re dealing with certain symptoms postpartum, like a lack of energy, hair loss, or low milk supply, your provider might suggest using a certain multivitamin to boost your health.
- Nutritional makeup: Does this vitamin contain nutrients like choline and iodine, which are important for lactating people? Does it also provide zinc, folate, fiber and vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B6, and B12?
- Price: People with different budgets may have different needs and preferences. Some vitamins can be pricey, but we’re offered a budget option in this guide as well.
- Customer Reviews: Vitamins can be quite subjective; reading reviews from other customers is a great way to see which product might work best for your specific needs.
- Ingredient Sourcing: Third-party tested products are considered the most reliable and impactful.
Postnatal Vitamins We Skipped
We also considered these vitamins. Ultimately, they didn’t meet our nutrient baseline, so we didn’t test them. Still, depending on your needs, they could work for you.
Ritual Essential Postnatal
This trendy vitamin provides a solid baseline of nutrients—vitamin A, vitamin C, zinc, and iron are all present—but it doesn’t include selenium for lactating people. There’s no B6 in the mix, either. Still, if you’re not lactating or experiencing hair loss, you may consider this option given that it is one of the few that contains DHA omega 3 fatty acids.
New Chapter Perfect Postnatal Multivitamin
An addition of an “herbal blend,” plus kelp and turmeric, makes this a unique postnatal vitamin option. But it doesn’t contain choline or omega-3s, which lactating people will miss. For this reason, we didn’t call it in for testing—but anyone interested in a whole food blend may want to look into New Chapter.
Our research and review process is intended for informational purposes only—never as a substitute for medical treatment, diagnosis, or advice. Recommendations or information found on this site do not infer a doctor-patient relationship. Always consult a healthcare provider if you have questions about how a product, service, or intervention may impact your individual physical or mental health. Our evaluations of products, services, and interventions have not been reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration. Information and research about health changes frequently. Therefore, some details or advice on this site may not be up-to-date with current recommendations. The Nessie is an independent publication and is not in any way affiliated with the production or creation of products, providers, services, or interventions featured in reviews or articles on the site.