Post-pregnancy nutrition

Becoming a new mum is an exciting experience.

You’ll be experiencing a range of different emotions, and you’ll need some time to adjust as you recover from your labour and birth.  It’s important to ensure that you’re getting the energy you need as you get to know your baby in those first few hours, days and weeks. Making sure you’re getting the right nutrition post pregnancy is a great place to start.

Energy boosting foods are a big part of post pregnancy nutrition, and below we’re exploring some of the best foods for you to eat as a new mum and the role of vitamins in your post birth diet.

Vitamins for new mums

Vitamins are important for your diet, including both during and after your pregnancy. The best way to ensure that you’re getting all of the vitamins and minerals you need post pregnancy is to eat a healthy, balanced diet that’s packed with a variety of different foods1.

When it comes to any additional supplements, the NHS recommends that everyone takes a daily 10mcg of vitamin D, and this includes women who are breastfeeding2. This is especially so during the winter months when you won’t be getting as much sunlight as needed.

Energy boosting foods for new mums

Following the birth of your baby, it’s not unusual to sometimes find yourself feeling low on energy and motivation. If you’re struggling, eating healthily will help give you and your baby the energy you both need as you adjust to your exciting new life together.

Post pregnancy nutrition, including a diet full of energy boosting foods can really help here. Let’s take a look.

What do new mums need to eat?

If you’re breastfeeding, you don’t need to eat a specially tailored diet, you just need to make sure that you’re eating a variety of different and healthy foods. You’ll also need to try and drink plenty of water to ensure that you stay hydrated.

Traces of the things you eat and drink can pass to your baby through your breastmilk, which is why you’re advised to limit your intake of certain things, including caffeine and alcohol3.

Below you’ll find some of the energy boosting foods you should be including in your post pregnancy diet as you navigate life as a new parent.

Iron rich foods

Pregnancy can leave you low in iron, feeling tired and lacking in energy4. Following your labour and birth, try to eat plenty of iron- rich foods, including⁵:

  • Red meats
  • Dark, leafy green vegetables such as broccoli, peas and spinach
  • Fortified breakfast cereals
  • Beans and pulses
  • Tofu

Starchy foods

Foods that are high in starch such as potatoes, bread, cereals and pasta are a good source of energy. Opting for wholegrain versions of your favourite starchy foods can also help you to stay fuller for longer, giving you more energy throughout the day6.

You might try:

  • Wholegrain cereals
  • Leaving the skin on your potatoes
  • Brown rice
  • Wholemeal or granary bread

Fruit and vegetables

Getting your 5 a day is really important at any time, not just for a post pregnancy diet. Fruit and vegetables are a great source of essential vitamins and minerals7. They’ll also help you to reach your daily fibre intake and to avoid constipation, which can really help if you’re recovering from having stitches after birth.


Meat, pulses and eggs are a great source of protein, which helps your body to grow and repair itself8. This is especially helpful if you’ve just been through labour and birth.


Calcium is another important nutrient, as it helps to keep your bones strong and healthy9, so consuming milk, cheese and yoghurts can help you get enough calcium in your post pregnancy diet. And, if you don’t eat dairy, there are plenty of alternatives such as soya milk, which are often fortified with the vitamins and nutrients you need. 

Post-birth foods for new mums

After giving birth, you’ll probably be feeling both exhilarated and exhausted! Labour and birth use a lot of energy, so eating some energy boosting foods will help as you rest and recover.

If you’re struggling with your post-birth appetite, try eating little and often. Having nutritious snacks to hand for during your labour and after can help to keep your energy levels up in the hours and days after your little one arrives.

You might try:

  • A yoghurt
  • Fresh or dried fruits
  • A handful of seeds or nuts

It’s best to avoid getting constipated after birth, so make sure to eat plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables and wholegrain foods.

You should also ensure you’re drinking plenty of water, especially if you’re breastfeeding. Life as a new mum can certainly be thirsty work!

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