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Vitamin K Shot at Birth Pros and Cons

Newborn babies receive many vaccinations in their first days of life. This is a way to protect babies from diseases that are difficult to treat or do not exist at all. Infants are given an injection of vitamin K. The drug is necessary for the synthesis of proteins. Vitamin K’s most important role is to prevent bleeding.

The substance is responsible for blood clotting. The fetus receives the vitamin through the mother’s umbilical cord. The baby’s body begins to synthesize vitamin K on its own on the third or fifth day after birth. A few days before self-production of an organic compound forms a dangerous “window” of vitamin K deficiency.

Breastfeeding only gets better in the first two days of life. The child receives little nutrition and feels a lack of vitamins and minerals. An injection of vitamin K is designed to replenish this shortage while the baby’s body learns to synthesize the substance on its own.

What is Vitamin K?

Vitamin K is also called phylloquinone. The organic compound belongs to fat-burning vitamins. It is involved in blood clotting as it helps transport calcium and absorbs it in the body. The formation of blood clots helps to stop bleeding in the human body.

Sufficient amounts of vitamin K are essential to ensure proper metabolism. It supports the development of bone and connective tissue. Vitamin K helps form bones and keeps them healthy. The substance is necessary for the functionality of the liver. Getting the norm of the vitamin ensures the functioning of the nervous system.

Pros and Cons of Vitamin K Shot at Birth

Vitamin K is synthesized in the intestines from bacteria. In newborns, the microflora is just being formed and they cannot produce the necessary compounds themselves. Vitamin K deficiency often causes hemorrhagic disease in the newborn. The child may not heal the umbilical wound and form internal bleeding.

On the first day of life, babies are given 1 mg of vitamin K intramuscularly to prevent risks. The procedure received support and negative reactions from parents.


Prevention of hemorrhagic disease in newborns

1.7% of newborns in the world suffer from the hemorrhagic disease according to research. It is dangerous for the occurrence of external and internal bleeding, which can lead to death.

One injection is enough

An injection of vitamin K is given on the first day of life. The substance accumulates in the liver and is slowly released into the body of the child. One injection is enough to provide the baby with protection against bleeding for three months.

Minimal risks

Many opponents of vaccination refuse to administer vitamin K, explaining this by interference in the development of the child. The risk from an injection of the vitamin is much less than from the formation of hemorrhagic disease in the infant.

The psychological comfort of the mother

Women often study all the possible risks associated with the health of the child during pregnancy. They are trying to protect the newborn in the available ways. A mother who is calm about the health of her child can quickly establish lactation and avoid postpartum depression. Reducing the anxiety of the mother is reflected in the condition of the newborn.


Risk of infection from the environment

An injection of vitamin K is carried out using a disposable syringe. Doctors monitor the disinfection of instruments and surfaces in clinics. The risk of infection in the injection wound for a child with an immature immune system remains, albeit minimal.

Intolerance of the drug

An injection of vitamin K can cause a skin rash, itching, redness on the body, and flushing of the face. The appearance of kernicterus in infants in some cases is associated with the introduction of vitamin K.

Pain during injection

This is the minimum risk from the injection. Sometimes the procedure causes a psycho-emotional disorder in a newborn. The baby is difficult to calm down and subsequent injections cause a negative reaction.

Anaphylactic shock

The press reports on a single case of anaphylactic shock as a result of an injection of vitamin K (with subsequent death). This episode is exceptional. The likelihood of an acute allergic reaction and shock to the drug is extremely low.

How to understand that a child lack vitamin K?

The risk of developing K deficiency in infants increases if the mother took anticoagulants, and was treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics during pregnancy. The risk group includes children born as a result of C-sections and premature babies.

Signs of vitamin K deficiency in a newborn include bleeding from the umbilical cord or nose. Hematomas easily appear on the body (especially on the head and face). The baby may have blood in the stool. The whites of the eyes turn yellow in rare cases. Sometimes babies are irritable, they have vomiting and convulsions.

Can Vitamin K Shot be Supplemented with Diet?

The baby receives nutrients from the mother’s milk. Vitamin K can be synthesized from solid foods from the age of six months when complementary foods are introduced into the baby’s diet. A nursing mother can influence the presence of vitamin K in the body of a child before this period.

A sufficient amount of the substance is found in green vegetables (spinach, Brussels sprouts, sauerkraut, broccoli, peas, corn). In small doses, it is found in potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, and vegetable oils.

Infants who are on artificial nutrition receive the necessary vitamins and minerals with the mixture. Baby food is developed taking into account all the important elements for the growth and development of the baby. Infant formula contains approximately 4 micrograms of vitamin K per 100 calories. Formulas can meet the daily requirement of vitamin K for an infant.

Vitamin K shot at Birth Statistics

Vitamin K was discovered in the 1930s. The first injections of the substance began to be given to babies after birth in the 60s of the last century. Vitamin K vaccination is one of the mandatory vaccines in developed countries that is carried out in the maternity hospital.

Vitamin K intake statistics show that 80 out of 100,000 babies in countries that refuse injections suffer from the hemorrhagic disease. The statistics are 8.8 sick children per one hundred thousand newborns in countries where they give an injection of vitamin K.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends giving a vitamin K shot on the first day of a baby’s life. The vaccine is included in the list of mandatory injections. Most infants in the US receive a dose of vitamin K. Parents may choose not to receive the drug. An injection is not forcibly given to a newborn.

What can replace a vitamin K injection?

The spread of a rare pathology of hemorrhagic disease in the newborn is observed in 0.5% of cases. A lack of vitamin K can provoke a dangerous condition. The danger is that it is difficult to diagnose a deficiency of a substance. Many parents refuse intramuscular injections for personal reasons.

You can replenish the lack of vitamin K in oral form. Drops are less effective than injections. Doctors adjust the dose of the drug to achieve the required level of the vitamin. It is necessary to take drops several times (often three doses). Drops do not contain harmful substances that are dangerous to the health of the baby.

The risk of bleeding in newborns remains until 12 weeks of age. The introduction of vitamin K reduces the likelihood of bleeding by several tens of times. Parents are afraid of the risks associated with vaccination. The risk of internal or cerebral bleeding is much more dangerous than an injection.

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