Dr. Linda, should I give my newborn the Vitamin K injection after birth?
Why is Vitamin K so important for Newborns?
At birth, most newborns have very low Vitamin K levels. These low levels can lead to serious, life-threatening bleeding in babies’ brains and intestinal tracts called Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding (VKDB)
The bleeding in the brain can lead to long term disability or even death.
Lets’ talk about the different forms of VKDB so you have the information you need to make the best decision for your baby:
The 2 forms of VKDB
Early VKDB which occurs the early, between birth and 2 weeks of age and, late VKDB. This tends to occur in babies who are exclusively breastfed between 2-12 weeks of age.
Vitamin K supplements are the only treatment for VKDB
Prevention of VKDB
This can be prevented by giving Vitamin K either by mouth or through an injection
Studies have shown that the late form of VKDB is not reliably prevented when one dose of Vitamin K is given by mouth because Vitamin K is not always well absorbed from the newborn’s intestinal tract. To ensure that babies get enough Vitamin K to prevent late Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding, hospitals now routinely give Vitamin K 1 mg by injection in the muscle to protect your baby.
Can Vitamin K Injection Cause Cancer?
I have heard the Vitamin K Injection Can Cause Cancer? Is this true??
Here is the science: Extensive reviews of the information and studies available by many experts do not show arelationship between Vitamin K injections and cancer.
Since Vitamin K deficiency bleeding can have such devastating effects and Vit K 1mg by intramuscular infection is safe and effective it is recommended that every term baby should be given a Vitamin K injection within 6 ours of their birth.
“The rate of parental refusal of newborn vitamin K administration is approximately 0.5 percent, and parental refusal is associated with half of the severe cases of VKDB [24-26]. In the previously mentioned Australian studies, the six reported deaths were due to intracranial hemorrhage, of which three were in infants who were not given vitamin K due to parental refusal . It is imperative that parents are counseled about the potential dire consequences of VKDB (eg, intestinal hemorrhage, intracranial hemorrhage with subsequent neurodevelopmental impairment and possible death) if their newborn does not receive vitamin K.
Other causes of VKDB include failure to administer vitamin K despite parental consent, liver or biliary disease, and rarely, no underlying cause can be identified [24,25].”
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