We should all be familiar with vitamin K prophylaxis for prevention of vitamin K deficiency bleeding. All babies are born with low levels of vitamin K, an important factor in helping a baby’s blood clot. All newborns are given vitamin K shots shortly after delivery to prevent a type of bleeding called Vitamin K deficiency bleeding (VKDB) which in scientific terms is known as hemorrhagic disease of the newborns. Vitamin K is necessary for babies with regards to blood clotting and some children are born with insufficient levels of vitamin K.  In the case of some of them it can lead to serious bleeding disorder and this normally in the first few weeks of their life.  In the midst of all this the silver lining is that the percentage is relatively on the lower side.

Doctors report more infants with vitamin K deficiency and investigations have found the babies didn’t receive vitamin K shots. There is a growing trend among parents who are against vaccines also refusing vitamins K shots for their newborns, which can increase the risk of internal bleeding in the baby’s brain or intestines. However, surveys are still unable to find out the reasons for refusal of newborn vitamin K.

The first question that arises in our minds is that why are vitamin K shots given to newborns. An adult or a grown up digestive system is capable of making vitamin K for the body but a newborns body cannot do the same. The breast milk is also not so rich in this kind of vitamin, so the deficiency of the same can take place. Vitamin K helps in blood clot formation. The deficiency may also lead to gastrointestinal and brain bleeding.

Babies with vitamin K deficiency may have flecks of blood in their stool, be excessively fussy and have severe anemia, which is a shortage of healthy red blood cells in the body. To keep the newborns healthy, Its been a routine in United States since 1961 for babies to receive a vitamin K shot shortly after birth.

When surveys were conducted, there are more number of parents refusing vitamin K for newborns than the ones who vote for it. The people against it say that there are religious belies behind their refusal while some say that natural vitamins thorugh food are the best ones. But parents fail to realize the importance of vitamin K shots because once a disease enters the body, it is very difficult to treat an infant. Infants require extra care for a healthy upbringing.

If you Google “Vitamin K newborn” then one of the first links is to a site that supports the bad effects of shots and favors oral treatment instead. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend shots over oral intake. While few sites also say that giving newborns a syringe full of vitamin K may cause psychological trauma, give infants 20,000 times more vitamin K dose than what is needed, and create an environment for infections to occur thus, oral intake of the vitamin is suggested.


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