One of the first actions you'll make as a new parent is either to give vitamin K to your child or not. Usually found in leafy greens, vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin. We are at risk of bleeding without it. Unfortunately, our bodies can not make vitamin K-in order to generate clotting factors; we must consume foods containing vitamin K. The beneficial bacteria in our gut provide another way of getting vitamin K.
However, newborns don't have these choices. They are unable to eat leafy greens and have no bacteria in their guts yet. Newborns are at high risk of vitamin K deficiency, or of having low vitamin K stores. When in the womb, there is a low transfer of vitamin K from mother to fetus via the placenta. Furthermore, breast milk does not have adequate vitamin K to protect infants from bleeding. Newborns also have fragile livers and are unable to use the tiny vitamin K they have efficiently.
Since newborns have a low level of vitamin K, they are at risk of bleeding. This is called bleeding with deficient vitamin K, or VKDB. There may be bleeding in the Digestive system (gut, digestive tract, etc.), at the site of their foreskin, or in the mouth. Head bleeds are what your paediatrician is most concerned with your newborn, or intracranial haemorrhage. Bleeding from the head can result in permanent neural harm and even mortality. Some infants, such as infants with biliary agenesis, cystic fibrosis, or moms on anti-seizure or anti-clotting drugs, are at greater risk than others. All infants, however, are at risk for vitamin K deficient bleeding.
Babies can have bleeding that is deficient in early-onset, classic, or late-onset vitamin K. Babies bleed during the first 24 hours of life in early VKDB. In babies whose mothers take medicines that decrease the efficacy of vitamin K, such as anti-seizure drugs, this is most likely to happen. Classic VKDB occurs between 1 to 3 weeks of age — it is prevented at birth by infants receiving vitamin K. Late VKDB is closely correlated with head bleeding and can occur as late as Eight months after birth.
The American Academy of Pediatrics ( AAP) recommends that 0.5 mg to 1 mg of vitamin K be given by intramuscular shots to reduce the risk of head bleeding and other types of bleeding. Babies getting the Vit K shot are 61 times less likely to have bleeding that is deficient in vitamin K.
As an alternative to the vitamin K injection, several parents have asked me about oral vitamin K. Research on the efficacy of oral vitamin K is ongoing, but there is no oral formula approved in the US to reduce the risk of VKDB. There has been a rise in late vitamin K deficient bleeding (3 weeks to 8 months of age) in countries where oral vitamin K is more normal. This is particularly true in breastfed infants alone, as breast milk does not contain enough vitamin K to prevent bleeding.
One investigator raised questions about an association with the vitamin K shot and childhood leukaemia in the early '90s. Numerous high-quality studies have debunked this correlation; there was no association found between the vitamin K shot and childhood leukaemia. In addition, many parents worry about the risk that the vitamin K shot would contain mercury. No mercury variants are present in the Vitamin K shot.
To stop bleeding, our bodies need Vitamin K. In this; newborns are deficient. Paediatricians are concerned about life-threatening bleeding in newborns, including head bleeding. The most natural and successful way to avoid vitamin K deficient bleeding in a newborn is to take a vitamin K injection.
Vitamin K shot at birth Pros:
For many main processes, vitamin K is required in the human body. One of the most significant things is that it helps to clot blood. This is why newborn babies are offered. We might not have a randomised, controlled vitamin K sample. However, other trials, audits and long-standing experience indicate that when given by injection, vitamin K is very successful at avoiding VKDB. Oral vitamin K is less active than injection-administered vitamin K.
Vitamin K shot at birth Cons:
Vitamin K is considered very safe compared to other medications. Occasionally, vitamin K injection can lead to infection (at the site of the injection), swelling or bleeding (as with any injection). When it is given, it may trigger pain for the infant. There have been incidents of being injected with the wrong drug, but these are uncommon. Some individuals, since it has not been well studied, are worried about other possible pitfalls of vitamin K. For many years, we have given vitamin K to millions of children because we know it prevents almost all VKDB cases.
Although we don't know why babies have (compared to adults) a relatively low level of vitamin K., It could be that this is in some way helpful to them. No research has been done on this, and not enough research on potential side effects has been performed. For some parents, the fact that so much is uncertain makes the decision hard.