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Talk to me about ... Vitamin K

(22 Posts)
MrsLianeB Mon 24-Jun-13 23:41:07

Am almost 33 weeks and have read about vitamin k injection being given to baby after birth. It seems to be a personal choice but I can't see a reason for baby to not have it. Am I missing something? Also if you did consent did your dc have the injection or oral medication? And why?

Kleptronic Mon 24-Jun-13 23:49:41

Vitamin K is made by gut flora. The baby doesn't have any gut flora to produce it initially, so it's put into formula feed, but it's not in breast milk either, and so they offer the injection. There is debate as to whether it protects from bleeds or not. My baby had the injection but he was in SCBU so he was not in a position to take it orally - he turned out fine, he's 9 now.

This is what I was told by a midwife many moons ago (I was expressing milk, maybe they offer it to everyone now?); I remember it because it was me who said 'so it's made by gut flora' when she was explaining and she seemed amazed I'd grasped it hmm.

That said I have not googled and I am not medical. Good luck with everything!

beedles17 Thu 27-Jun-13 08:36:54

it helps to limit bleeding as it is needed to make some of your clotting factors. the baby is initially deficient in gut flies,sip therefore deficient in four k and clots poorly

SweepTheHalls Thu 27-Jun-13 08:42:34

I couldn't ind any reason not to give it either, so both my boys had it.

meditrina Thu 27-Jun-13 08:49:36

Vitamin K is in breast milk.

Deficiency in new borns is rare, but the consequences extensive, hence the one off dose. It isn't related to feeding intentions.

LeBFG Thu 27-Jun-13 11:21:06

Having just had second DC, I was all prepared for this: vit K prevents 100% of an extremely rare bleeding in newborns. Extensive studies have not shown adverse effects. However, as I was bf, they offered vit K as a weekly oral drop till 6 months. As the newborn bleeding is mainly, erm, in newborns, I turned this down. This time round I was also offered antibiotic drops in the eye to prevent eye infections. I was totally hmm wtf and refused. Not sure if this is common experience in UK (am overseas) but you could think about this too.

BraveLilBear Thu 27-Jun-13 12:00:14

Hi OP - am in a similar boat, 36weeks gone, just trying to decide now. The way I see it - if baby is early, poorly, gets battered during birth (forceps, conehead, ventouse, very long or back-to-back labour) this is a total (scuse the pun) no-brainer.

I'm hoping to breastfeed, so again, would be very keen to have the injection if any of the above applies.

I'm not a hippy or anything but I just feel a bit weird about stabbing a needle into an otherwise healthy newborn - it just seems harsh to be so heavyhanded in the first moments in the world for a 'just in case' procedure.

That said, the oral medication sounds like the biggest faff imaginable, so am a bit torn on this. confused

adagio Thu 27-Jun-13 15:55:05

Mine is six months and I totally echo BraveLilBear views - in the event my labour was quick with no interventions so we declined it.

DH is a needle phobic and was rather keen for our DD not to be made to cry by a nasty needle in her first minutes on this earth, a fair sentiment which I totally agreed with.

I also didn't go with the oral drops as they are, apparently, a complete faff and orange flavoured. Dr Google said that LO should have milk and only milk until their tummy is a bit stronger, again I thought this seemed reasonable hence declined.

However, I took vit K supplement myself from about 37 or 38 weeks until about 8 weeks post natal. No idea if it helped but made me feel like I was doing something to help. I got it from health food shop.

Good Luck with your upcoming births ladies smile


Pobblewhohasnotoes Thu 27-Jun-13 19:23:43

DS had the injection, there was never any question he wouldn't have it.

The injection is easier, he didn't even notice, didn't cry. It takes two seconds where as the oral version you have to give in more than one dose and you have to make sure they take all of it. Much more of a faff.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Thu 27-Jun-13 19:25:08

Btw, he didn't have it immediately after birth it was an hour or two later.

chocolatemartini Thu 27-Jun-13 20:04:16

We declined. DS was full term and no injuries on the way out, I didn't feel like a megadose of a pharmaceutical product with preservatives was the best start in life. Turns out he had no clotting problems at all and it would have been unnecessary.

mrsravelstein Thu 27-Jun-13 20:07:07

all my 3 had the oral vit k instead of the injection, my indy midwives had researched it a lot and weren't keen on it (vit k at all, i mean) but as had 3 emergency sections which apparently puts them at more risk, i went for the oral rather than injection.

lljkk Thu 27-Jun-13 20:21:42

Check this info... but I thought there was heaps of Vit-K in colostrum. So babies who suckle lots in the first 2 days do get a big boost of Vit-K.

I have done everything, OP, (oral, empty prescription because of pharmacist error confused angry, nothing by choice, jab). I would choose jab if I had to, again.

marzipananimal Sun 30-Jun-13 14:59:14

DS had it orally as I didn't like the idea of causing him any unnecessary pain. I didn't find it a faff at all.
And yes apparently there is lots of vit K in colostrum

MrsHuxtable Sun 30-Jun-13 18:02:19

We did the same as Marzipan. Oral Vit K and will be again with this baby.

chocolatemartini Sun 30-Jun-13 18:52:39

This is interesting. As she says you can ask your midwife for the opposite point of view and weigh up what both sides of the argument say

gasman Tue 02-Jul-13 22:31:14

As above with a few twists.

Vit K is essential for blood clotting. Babies are prone to being deficient (a design flaw IMO). Formula is supplemented. Breast milk is not ergo. Breast fed babies are more at risk of problems.

The problems is a condition called Haemorrhagic disease of the Newborn which can cause devastating bleeds inside babies brains (like a stroke). The consequences can be lifelong, life limiting and sometimes life threatening.

Vitamin K supplementation prevents against this. The data shows that worldwide no babies given IM vitamin K have had a bleed. Several babies who received oral vitamin K have had a bleed (primarily because effective oral supplementation requires 3 doses to be taken spaced apart, therefore a signficant minority of children don't receive the full protective course of oral vitamin K).

There was a furore about Vitamin K historically being associated with some childhood malignancies but this was disproven a really long time ago but the stigma still hangs on.

Personally my kids would get IM Vitamin K. As a HCP I personally wouldn't worry about 'traumatising' a small infant who has just been born - much better to keep them safe but this is my opinion and I respect the views of those who disagree I would just ask you to think carefully about why it is given and the admittedly rare but devestating consequences that can arise if it is not given.

I've seen 3 babies in my short careers suffer from an intracranial bleed. One died. All 3 were in the UK. Birth trauma etc. is not a major risk factor for the bleeds they tend to happen spontaneously and the most serious ones happen late (between 2 weeks and 2 months of age).

Trusted link information is available here:

gasman Tue 02-Jul-13 22:33:00

PS: I've never yet met a doctor who hasn't given their kid vitamin K. The vast majority have chose IM.

Nacster Tue 02-Jul-13 22:33:25

I declined for all 3, MW with DC1 hadn't read birth plan so did it anyway. hmm

DC 2 and 3 were HB and had the oral vit K. No issues.

blueberrycupcake Tue 02-Jul-13 23:58:49

Just like gasman said, vit K is given to prevent haemorrhagic disease of the newborn, which is often catastrophic. Vitamin K is one of the clotting factors required to produce blood clots. There is no question in my mind, my DC will definitely get the injection. In fact my birth plan for DD1 was along the lines of skin-to-skin as early as possible and definitely give vitamin K. The rest I wasn't too bothered about.

MrsLianeB Thu 04-Jul-13 07:14:41

Thanks for all the responses. DH family has blood disorders so after doing my research I think a quick injection after birth that the baby won't remember may be the best way forward for us and in the rare case that the baby did need it at least they will have had it

adagio Thu 04-Jul-13 10:01:42

Can I just add, now I have actually had a baby I probably wouldn't think twice about it in future (DH willing of course) as in fairness, I really don't think my DD has the faintest memory of 6 months ago!! (I am sure everyone told me this in advance, but it is very hard to understand/appreciate an abstract until you really see it for yourself…next stop, sleep training! Before she gets big enough to remember...)

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