16 Prenatal and Postnatal Uses for Vitamin E

How and why you should get your dose of vitamin E during pregnancy and beyond.

16 Prenatal and Postnatal Uses for Vitamin E

We've all heard of the magic that vitamin E can work on our skin -- from fighting dryness to preventing wrinkles. But it doesn't stop there. Vitamin E, which is a powerful fat-soluble antioxidant, combats toxins to rejuvenate not only your skin, but also your health. The nutrient is especially beneficial to expecting and new moms.

You can find vitamin E in olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, nuts, sunflower seeds, whole wheats and vegetables. The nutrient -- whether you eat it or take it as a supplement -- serves as an immune booster, regulates blood sugar, promotes good circulation and heart health, and even protect eye sight.


It goes without saying that women who are pregnant or who just had a baby have a lot to gain from a wholesome, nutritious diet. But vitamin E in particular can do wonders in staying healthy throughout pregnancy and beyond. It can even help recoup and heal from childbirth. Note that the recommended daily intake is 15 mg for pregnant women and 19 mg for nursing moms and that it's preferable to take vitamin E in its natural form (in foods and oils), especially during pregnancy or if you are nursing. Topical use is generally considered safe, but stick to the recommended daily intake and make sure to talk to your doctor.

In the meantime, we're giving you a little Vitamin E primer to get you excited. Here are 16 ways you can use the antioxidant during and after pregnancy.

1. Lather an oil that is rich in vitamin E, like coconut oil, on your belly and thighs. It will add moisture and elasticity to your skin and help you prevent or diminish stretch marks.

2. Add vitamin E to your skincare regimen to fight pregnancy-related acne and eczema. Alternatively, you can replace your current products with vitamin E oil or make your own mix of vitamin E oil and lavender essential oil to soothe any inflammation and redness associated with pregnancy-related skin breakouts.

3. Eating a salad for lunch? Opt for an olive oil-based dressing and add avocados to help improve muscle strength and eliminate fatigue. Vitamin E promotes blood circulation, which can give you more energy during the last few months of pregnancy.

4. Add sunflower seeds to your morning yogurt or eat a handful of almonds for your midday snack, as some experts argue that vitamin E may prevent preeclampsia.

5. Massage vitamin E oil on your face to treat the pregnancy mask, a skin discoloration that often occurs during pregnancy, when there's an estrogen surge that stimulates excess melanin production (hyper pigmentation). Since your skin regenerates overnight, it's best to apply it before bed and rinse in the morning.

6. Make almond butter for your morning toasts or sauté veggies like spinach in 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil for lunch to potentially keep gestational diabetes at bay. When taken in adequate amount, vitamin E oil has been shown to help maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

7. Though the best way to deal with dehydrated skin is to drink water, adding vitamin E oil to your skincare routine can help restore and rehydrate your skin throughout pregnancy.

8. If you are prone to dry skin, you'll even be more so when and if you breastfeed. So make sure to drink extra water and keep adding using vitamin E oil on your face after childbirth to lock moisture in.

9. If you are pregnant or nursing and want to avoid chemicals in your face cleanser, use a few drops of vitamin E oil on a cotton pad to wipe dirt and impurities off your face. It will clean your face, sans toxic ingredients, and will keep your skin's oil balance -- perfect for mamas who have dry skin.

10. If you gave birth via c-section, gently massage vitamin E oil on your scar to help it fade more quickly. The oil can strengthen the lining of your skin cells, repairing and healing damaged skin.

11. Do your perineal massages with coconut or vitamin E oil. Studies have shown that it can decrease the incidence of tearing during childbirth.

12. Tired of postpartum hair? Your scalp is dry, and your hair is thinning, breaking and falling. Vitamin E to the rescue. Massage your scalp and hair with a mixture of vitamin E oil an olive oil and leave it on for 30 minutes. Not only will it give the impression of healthier, more lustrous hair, it will hydrate your scalp and promote hair growth. That's right! Vitamin E conditions your hair and repairs damaged follicles, effectively promoting healthy hair growth.

13. Use almond meal instead of regular flour whenever you make baked goods. Vitamin E, which you can find in a variety of nuts, can help reduce pain and blood loss that many women experience for a few days after giving birth.

14. Eat all the leafy greens (especially spinach, since it's not as cruciferous as kale) and pass on dietary vitamin E to your little one. Vitamin E gets transferred through colostrum and mature milk and can boost baby's immune system.

15. After birth, you gotta do those Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, but gently massaging vitamin E oil onto the labia can be beneficial too. Mainly, it can moisturize and soothe an area that's been left dry and irritated after childbirth. If you had a tear, ask your doctor when you can start massaging the area. Finally, don't overdo it and only do it if you are experiencing pain due to dryness: too much vitamin E oil can foster bacteria imbalance and growth, especially for those who already are prone to yeast infections.

16. If you are past the 6-weeks mark and plan on having sex, vitamin E oil is a great natural lubricant.

By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.


Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!


Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.


Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌


Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.


Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.


Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.


Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

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Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

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Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

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Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


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