5 Important Nutrients for Postpartum Recovery

5 Important Nutrients for Postpartum Recovery


Nutrition is key for postpartum recovery, as new mums need to regain their energy after childbirth1. Keep in mind these 5 nutrients.

It is important that mothers get a healthy nutrition for postpartum recovery. After delivery, the body needs to replace the nutrients lost during childbirth. While there are many diets out there that you can follow, it is crucial that you get a healthy and well-balanced diet that contains sufficient amounts of these five nutrients in order to support the optimal recovery of your body. Read on to find out what they are and how they are important to you.

1. Iron

Mothers who experience significant blood loss during delivery may experience shortness of breath easily, feel physically weak and tired and even suffer from mood swings after child birth. This could be due to an iron deficiency, called Anemia.2 Your body may also continue to bleed after the delivery of your baby, also known as lochia, which will cause you to lose more blood. Iron is a crucial nutrient that your body needs in order to make new blood cells to replace the ones you lost.3

To ensure that your body is able to replenish the iron lost during delivery, you can supplement your postpartum diet with iron-rich foods such as lean meat, liver, green leafy vegetables3 and fortified foods such as cereal and maternalnutritional supplements. If you’re vegetarian, you can take iron supplements under your doctor’s advice.

You can also obtain more Vitamin C, from plant-based iron-rich foods such as spinach, to increase iron absorption in your body. Avoid drinking excessive black tea as tannic acid in the tea may decrease the absorption of iron.4

2. Vitamin B12

This essential vitamin is crucial for the development of healthy nerve tissues and for stimulating brain functions. It is also a crucial nutrient needed in proper blood cell production.5 As such, mothers with a vitamin B12 deficiency may be prone to Anemia.

The best sources of vitamin B12 are animal food, such as clams, tuna, liver, beef and salmon. Some fortified cereal and dairy products may also contain vitamin B12. A B12 supplement can be added into your diet if you are vegetarian or unable to consume meat.

3. DHA

Omega-3 fatty acids such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are helpful because our body does not produce enough of it6. DHA is one of the main components of brain tissue and it helps in improving mental focus, and the risk of postpartum depression7. increased DHA may not be a full preventive measure for postpartum depression. higher levels of DHA may help regulate your feelings as it plays a part in serotonin production8.

Foods rich in DHA include fish such as salmon and sardines, fortified eggs and dairy. You can also take a DHA supplement to supply your body with this nutrient.

4. Choline

Choline is a form of vitamin B that supports many bodily functions and your overall health. Having adequate amounts of choline helps to ease the symptoms of decreased focus and memory after delivery9.

Increase the choline intake in your diet by including food such as eggs, quinoa and organ meats like liver into your postpartum meals, as well as choline fortified foods such as maternal milk.

5. Vitamin D

Vitamin D supports your immune system and also reduces the risk of postpartum depression and anxiety10. While your body can naturally produce Vitamin D while in sunlight, you might not get a chance to head out to soak in the sunlight as a new mother. However, having that extra boost of Vitamin D is crucial as our bodies does not produce enough naturally, especially if you’re going to be staying indoors most of the time.

The best sources of Vitamin D are fatty fishes like salmon and tuna, fortified dairy, eggs11.

As important as it is to maintain a healthy diet during pregnancy, it is also equally important to maintain a good nutritious diet after delivery in order to help your body in its recovery and healing12. Keeping to a healthy and balanced will allow you to be in the best shape physically and mentally to welcome your new bundle of joy!

Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Please consult your doctor or a nutrition advisor for any specific health and wellness concerns or questions.



1. Sebeta A, Girma A, Kidane R, Tekalign E, Tamiru D. Nutritional Status of Postpartum Mothers and Associated Risk Factors in Shey-Bench District, Bench-Sheko Zone, Southwest Ethiopia: A Community Based Cross-Sectional Study. Nutr Metab Insights. 2022;15:11786388221088243. Published 2022 Apr 24. doi:10.1177/11786388221088243

2. Milman N. Postpartum anemia II: prevention and treatment. Ann Hematol. 2012 Feb;91(2):143-54. doi: 10.1007/s00277-011-1381-2. Epub 2011 Dec 9. PMID: 22160256.

3. https://clinicalcenter.nih.gov/blooddonor/iron.html

4. Hallberg L, Brune M, Rossander L. The role of vitamin C in iron absorption. Int J Vitam Nutr Res Suppl. 1989;30:103-8. PMID: 2507689.

5. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/#h1

6. Gerster H. Can adults adequately convert alpha-linolenic acid (18:3n-3) to eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5n-3) and docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n-3)? Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 1998;68(3):159-73. PMID: 9637947. 

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