The Seven Nutrients Every Woman Needs to Survive the Fourth Trimester

Read up on first, second and third trimester nutrition in our pregnancy nutrition series, plus what you need for breast-feeding.

You did it! You had that baby! But real talk—the first few months of living with your new bundle of joy are a complete and utter blur. Welcome to the fourth trimester, i.e. the post-natal stage—the window of time after your baby is born that feels like it’s simultaneously dragging by and going in the blink of an eye. Everything revolves around the newest member of the family, and you’ve likely already learned that your own needs are a distant second in your new priority list. Meals? Maybe you ate this morning… or was it last night? Showers? Ha. Sleep? In bits and pieces, and not nearly enough. 

We don’t have to explain the importance of taking care of yourself during this stage, and that includes asking for specific help, resting as much as possible, and and getting the nutrition your body so desperately needs. Whether you’re breastfeeding or not, you just went through the wringer, and this time is critical for fueling your recovery.

And because you have *so* much on your plate these days, we’re making it easy by sharing the seven nutrients every woman needs to survive the fourth trimester.

Fourth Trimester Milestones

Four to six weeks after the birth of your baby is a time of so many firsts. You’ll be peed on, pooped on, and definitely spit up on. You’ll figure out breastfeeding or bottle feeding, bucket seats, onesies, diapers, and bath time. You’ll have that blissful first uninterrupted shower, and your first post-delivery bowel moment (yikes). You’ll be exhausted beyond your wildest dreams, and more in love than you could ever imagine. And through it all, your body will be recovering from the longest, most intense workout of your life. 

During this time, you can expect a few things:

    • Feeling sore all over. Like, all over. Your jaw. Your neck. Your back. And definitely your C-section incision, episiotomy site, or, heaven forbid, that perineal tear. 
    • Abdominal cramping. This is particularly noticeable while you’re nursing, and signals that your uterus is starting to contract.
    • Vaginal discharge. It’s charmingly known as lochia, bright red, and heavy, especially right after birth.
    • Your milk comes in. And your breasts expand to alarmingly proportions. They can feel firm to the touch, and they’re tender like nobody’s business.

Fourth Trimester Nutrients

With any luck, you found a really great prenatal vitamin (for both of you) to keep you nutritionally optimized from conception onward. But if you’re new to Beli, scan the label on your current prenatal. There are seven key nutrients postpartum mothers really need:

    • Choline. This nutrient passes through your breastmilk to support your baby’s continuing brain development and memory. The need is greatest in breastfeeding moms and here’s the key—choline is largely absent in many of the leading pre and post-natal vitamins on the market. That’s a problem for you and your baby.
    • Vitamin D. Adequate amounts of vitamin D can help reduce the likelihood of postpartum depression. Plus, it supports the healthy production of breast milk, as well as the immune system, brain, and nervous system.
    • Vitamin E. This helps support your immune system and heart health.
    • Vitamins B6 and B12. This duo help regulate appetite and give you much-needed energy. B12 is also necessary for proper red blood cell development. Babies with low or inadequate levels of B12 tend to more irritable with an increased risk of failure to thrive.
    • Iron. Iron levels drop during childbirth, and it’s really important to replenish this nutrient. Nursing mamas also need it to supply their babies with iron for proper development and thyroid function. 
    • Magnesium. You’ll need this to promote better sleep and fend off postpartum depression.

It’s next to impossible to get a balanced diet with a new baby in your arms, which is why continuing your prenatal vitamin is so important. It will help fill nutritional gaps to help you recover and support breastfeeding if that’s what you’re doing. Truly, a supplement is considered essential for a healthy fourth trimester, but they aren’t all up to the task. We know, we know—as if you needed one more thing to figure out right now. The good news is that while many prenatal and postnatal supplements are basically just going through the motions, there are a diamonds in the rough.

Beli for Women has all of the nutrients you need during this time with a science-based formulation you can trust. But it’s not just about the quality of the nutrients and the greater bioavailability. It’s about meeting recommended amounts of those nutrients, and Beli is one of only a few prenatal vitamins on the market doing just that.

One more thing—continuing with that prenatal doesn’t just benefit you. Studies have found that continued supplementation directly benefits your baby, too. And since you’ll do anything for that baby of yours, keep popping those prenatals!

If you didn’t get the memo, a supercharged men’s prenatal like Beli for Men is key for a healthy conception, pregnancy, and baby. But it’s never too late to start. Men experience a significant drop in testosterone towards the end of their partner’s pregnancy and during birth. That can torpedo mood and energy levels, prompting a domino effect into reduced sex drives, lowered emotional resilience, and even paternal postpartum depression. Luckily, Beli for Men is specifically formulated to keep testosterone levels stable, among other benefits.

A Word on Postnatal Depletion

The fourth trimester doesn’t necessarily follow a timeline like trimesters one through three. We all understand that making an entire person is a big job, but the consequences of all that hard work can last for years. Symptoms like lethargy, low energy levels, “baby brain,” memory problems, and more may linger—gulp—an entire decade. It’s a theory called postnatal depletion, and it’s relatively new. The idea is that the nutrients passed from via the placenta severely deplete a mother’s stories of iron, zinc, vitamins B12 and B9, iodine, selenium, and others, with long-term effects that many moms describe as “tired and wired.” Sound familiar?

The doctor behind this theory outlines a few steps to help women begin feeling like themselves again, and it begins with rebuilding those micro and macronutrients that were tapped out during pregnancy. An easy way to manage that in just seconds? You guessed it—Beli for Women.

Takeaway

This is an exhilarating, exhausting time. Keep your expectations and standards realistic, prioritize healthy fats, drink your water, keep nutrient-rich snacks handy, be gentle with yourself, and no, you aren’t taking too many photos. Keep taking Beli for all the nutrients you both need, and remember to enjoy this time. It’ll be gone before you know it!

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