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Old 12-28-2012, 12:25 PM   #1
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Why give Vitamin K at all?

I've heard/read the information about the vitamin K shot vs. the oral version. What I've never been able to figure out is why give it at all? I know if you're circumcising (or needing other procedures done) the Vitamin K is really important for blood clotting. We don't circ so that isn't a consideration for us. But if most babies have "low" levels of Vitamin K, maybe low levels of vitamin K are normal at birth.

Are there studies out there showing the outcomes on babies who were born healthy and didn't have vitamin K?

ETA: I'm fairly certain my 1st had it, my 2nd probably did and my 3rd and 4th never had it at all.


Last edited by DesertRat; 12-28-2012 at 01:01 PM. Reason: clarity
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Old 12-28-2012, 02:28 PM   #2
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Re: Why give Vitamin K at all?

We didn't give vitamin k to our second, and aren't planning to with our third, either. I don't find it necessary for a healthy full-term baby. Now if baby arrives with health issues and needs his blood to clot sooner than normal, we would reevaluate. I believe baby starts production of vit. k around 6-7 days of age.
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Old 12-28-2012, 02:34 PM   #3
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My babies are early and deliver VERY quickly. Like 24 minutes from 1st contraction to holding baby. My midwife suggested vit k because their risk of brain bleed was higher due to 37 week gestation and precipitous labor.
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Old 12-28-2012, 03:27 PM   #4
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Re: Why give Vitamin K at all?

I always figured there was an evolutionary reason for why newborn babies have lower levels of vitamin K and would have declined it if I had needed to (no hospital births).
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Old 12-28-2012, 04:45 PM   #5
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I declined with DD. My midwives discussed it and suggest it if a baby has had a traumatic birth- difficulty descending, bruised, other other high risk birth or genetic issues.
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Old 12-28-2012, 05:29 PM   #6
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Re: Why give Vitamin K at all?

We had planned not to with both kids but DS1 suffered a fairly traumatic birth (stuck in my pelvis for hours, OP and finally manually pushed back up and removed via csection) his head was really swollen and bruised so we opted to do it. DS2 came out with a round, unbruised head after a shorter, less traumatic labor and csection so he didn't get it.
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Old 12-28-2012, 05:34 PM   #7
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Re: Why give Vitamin K at all?

I never really thought about it. But, now that you brought it up, I'm gonna look into this more. Although I've had pre term deliveries with my last 2, I wonder if this will be an issue. I see my midwife next week, and I may ask her.
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Old 12-29-2012, 07:51 AM   #8
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Re: Why give Vitamin K at all?

It is totally normal for baby to have a lower level of Vit K at birth, and "coincidentally", the level of Vit K in their system is at the highest level at 8 days - exactly when the Jews were told to circumsize. At that point, the Vit K levels are the highest they would be in life

For our kids, we choose to have the Vit K shot given at birth - this is because of my own ITP (platelet issue) that could potentially be passed on to our kids. Basically, my platelets "decide" randomly to kill themselves off and my levels drop, which can lead to bleeding issues if levels are low.
Since we don't know if it's been passed to our kids or not, we choose to do the shot just in case.
If I didn't have any pre-existing condition like that, and everything was under normal circumstances, we would choose not to do it.
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Old 12-29-2012, 03:30 PM   #9
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Re: Why give Vitamin K at all?

It is not simply a clotting issue to be considered if circing - babies are born with low levels because mom's k level drops off in the 3rd trimester and there is not enough passed through to baby, even with therapeutic dosages, to boost the baby's level to prevent brain hemorrhaging if the baby has a hemorrhagic disorder. Most babies do just fine, I think the danger is something like 1 in 2,000. But that said, if baby has an issue (despite being born full-term, without other risk factors such as prolonged or rapid birth, c-section, etc.) you probably will not know there is an issue until the brain bleed had already happened.

That said, vitamin K in its natural state and in an oral dose is not in any way harmful. In that fragile, "risky" period between when baby is born and when therapeutic dosage to mom results in high vitamin K levels in breastmilk, oral vitamin K (and the real stuff, not the synthetic crap) is a perfectly safe, convenient way to buy baby a little extra protection from brain bleeds.

Would I give it to my newborn at the moment of birth? No, because the first thing in their gut should be colostrum, but I do give it orally because it is simple, natural, and harmless, and could potentially prevent severe brain injury or death. I am not in any way a "nature is broken" kind of person, but this one just makes sense. That said, if I had the choice between the shot or nothing at all, I would do nothing at all. Thankfully though I am part of a community of educated, intelligent and resourceful people who respect babies and their peaceful passage into this world, and we have access to oral vitamin K1.
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Old 12-29-2012, 05:16 PM   #10
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Here is a report on the importance of Vitamin K.

Warning: Infant death mentioned.
I'm so tired of hearing about how important a birth is. It is absolutely nothing more than an obstacle between a family and a baby.
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