Laura Schoenfeld: So the postnatal period is interesting because obviously you don’t want to be giving somebody too much of certain nutrients that they don’t need a lot of. And a lot of prenatals tend to be high in certain nutrients that you wouldn’t want to be taking for a long period of time. And I think iron is one of the ones that I would say is the biggest issue. A lot of prenatals tend to have usually like 30, 45 milligrams of iron and that is definitely not necessary for somebody to be taking long term. Other things that are a little bit higher, things like folate, which a lot of them will have at least 800 micrograms, which for some people is fine. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the average person take 800 micrograms of folate indefinitely. So that might be something not good to be taking a long period of time. Sometimes calcium can be a little higher in multis that are specifically prenatal and supplementing with calcium is not always the best idea for a long period of time. I believe that that tends to be the biggest issue that I see.
Iron’s really the main one though. That’s the one that I would say is the most dangerous to be doing long term if the person doesn’t have any sort of anemia or any low-iron issue. I think for a couple months postnatal, it’s probably fine to keep taking the prenatal multi. But I would say switching to just a normal multi after a couple months would be fine because you’re going to still have things like, well I guess not all multis contain iron. So it may just depend on the woman’s iron stores. But if the multi has a little bit of iron in it, it should be enough to maintain their levels. Of course it also depends on if the woman is breastfeeding. So if they’re breastfeeding, then they’re going to need higher nutrient amounts than someone who’s not breastfeeding necessarily. I can look to see if there’s any specific recommendations about how long the prenatals should be used. But I don’t know if there’s anything as far as specific guidelines for that. But I can double-check. Let’s see.
So some doctors recommend continuing the prenatal for as long as the person is breastfeeding. I don’t know if a prenatal is necessarily the best thing or necessary. I’m sure if it’s only a couple months, it won’t be a huge deal. I do think that a normal multi should be fine if a woman is eating a fairly diverse diet, especially if they’re eating a pretty healthy diet. They really shouldn’t need 45 milligrams of iron during the postnatal period. I don’t think it would do any major harm if the person was taking a prenatal for a couple months after giving birth. But you definitely don’t want this person to be taking the prenatal if they’re not nursing and then also if it’s been several months or even like more than a year after birth. I would say you definitely want to get them onto a normal multi.