There’s so much to remember and panic about when you’ve just brought a human into the world – one more thing to have to consider can seem utterly overwhelming. To help make at least one decision easier, here’s what you should know for when you’re offered the choice of giving your baby the Vitamin K injection at birth.
Vitamin K is a vitamin our bodies naturally produce to assist clotting of blood and prevent serious bleeding. Because it doesn’t cross over from the placenta, and newborns’ digestive systems are not developed enough to produce their own source of the vitamin, it’s common practice for doctors to offer a Vitamin K injection at birth in order to protect against haemorrhagic disease of the newborn (HDN).
“With low levels of Vitamin K, some babies can have very severe bleeding – sometimes into the brain, causing significant brain damage,” explains Better Health.
There is an alternative to the injection – oral drops – but the option requires more doses and is considered less effective. It is also not recommended if baby is ill, born prematurely or the mother has been on medication for epilepsy, blood clots or TB at any point during pregnancy.
The good news is that is takes only one injection or a single course of drops to last babies until their gut matures enough to produce the vitamin.
Also – there are no reported major side-effects from the Vitamin K injection, except for temporary localised soreness at the injected area.