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Should I take prenatal vitamins after giving birth?

Closeup on faces of mother holding her red-headed baby boy.

(Photo: Flickr/Tanya Little)

Should I take prenatal vitamins after giving birth?

June 12, 2013

Q: How long should a mother continue to take prenatal vitamins after their child is born? I am the mother of an 11-month-old girl and am still taking prenatal vitamins. Is this necessary?

A: Many women will take prenatal vitamins through breast feeding to ensure they are getting what they need for their health. The baby will be getting healthy milk, even if mother's diet or supplementation is poor. Her body will leach itself of essential vitamins and minerals to keep the supply well-fortified.

You can, though, eat well enough not to make vitamins necessary. A well-balanced diet is typically enough, but where it can fall short is in calcium and iron. Please make sure you are getting enough of these.

Others will add omega fatty acids and DHA; their use and benefit is anecdotal but should certainly not be harmful and might be helpful. I generally suggest that prenatal vitamins become a part of any woman's routine if she is still of child-bearing age. The benefits are greatest if they can be in good concentration at the time of conception.

-- Answer from Dr. Joe F., a pediatrician on JustAnswer.

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