Many people ask about the vitamin K injection that is one of the three standard medications offered to all newborns in the USA. Let’s talk about it.
Vitamin K is given to prevent a rare, but potentially deadly bleed in the brain in the first 6 months of life. Risks include pain at the injection site, bruising, and swelling.
Vitamin K is a vitamin we need to clot blood effectively. Humans do not make vitamin K ourselves and we get most of our vitamin K in our diet through plants. Babies are born with a very small amount, and there is little in breast milk. Babies who are exclusively breast fed have low vitamin K levels until they begin eating complementary foods, around 6 months old.
A baby with vitamin K deficiency bleeding can start bleeding without warning. It can happen after birth (early bleed), in the first week of life (classical bleed) and from week 2 till month 6 (late bleed.)
Late bleeds are rare, but can be prevented with vitamin K. 4 to 7 babies out of 100,000 who do not receive any vitamin K at birth are affected.
Late bleeds affect 0 to 0.9 babies out of every 100,000 who receive 2 mg of oral vitamin k1 after birth, at 4-6 days, and at 4-6 weeks OR who receive 2 mg of oral vitamin K1 after birth and 1 mg of oral vitamin K1 every week for 3 months.
Late bleeds affect 0 to 0.4 babies out of every 100,000 who receive 1 mg injectable vitamin K1 after birth.
⚠️Myth-You do not need vitamin K if you have a gentle birth
✔️Fact- late bleeds can happen to any baby who is exclusively breastfed and does not receive vitamin K
⚠️Myth-The shots cause leukemia
✔️Fact- research has shown the shot does not cause leukemia
⚠️Myth-You don’t need vitamin K if you delayed cord clamping after your baby’s birth
✔️Fact- there is little-to-no vitamin K in cord blood and taking extra vitamin K during pregnancy has not been shown to prevent newborn bleeds
⚠️Myth-The shots is full of toxins
✔️Fact- the ingredients are thought to be safe for babies, and are in neonatal dosages
⚠️Myth-One dose of oral vitamin K1 at birth is just as effective as the shot
✔️Fact- the shot is more effective than a single oral dose. There are two oral regimens that seem to be nearly as effective as the shot. However, there is no FDA approved oral version in the US as of now.
For more information, visit https://evidencebasedbirth.com/evidence-for-the-vitamin…/