Vitamin K for newborns
Why does my baby need vitamin K
All newborns are born with low levels of vitamin K in their bodies. This is due to lower vitamin K stores and decreased ability to utilize vitamin K. This deficiency puts babies at risk of vitamin K deficiency bleeding (VKDB ).
How dangerous is VKDB
VKDB can cause your baby to bleed or bruise spontaneously. This can happen within 12 weeks of childbirth. Some of the symptoms may include bleeding from the mouth, nose, umbilical stump or bottom. In some babies, this bleeding may not be visible. It may be a serious bleeding in the brain or gut. This can be life threatening. It is therefore strongly recommended that all babies receive vitamin K after birth.
There are three categories of VKDB
- early VKDB which is bleeding in the first 24 hours after birth
- classic VKDB which is bleeding in the first week of life
- late VKDB which is bleeding from about 2 to 12 weeks of life
According to the American Academy of pediatrics, it is estimated that the risk of late VKDB is about 81 times higher in infants not given vitamin K prophylaxis at birth.
Other factors that puts your baby at high risk of getting VKDB include the following :
- born premature
- breathing difficulties at birth
- bruising at birth
- born by forceps, ventouse or cesarean section
- have liver problems
- moms took medication for either epilepsy, tuberculosis or to prevent blood clots during pregnancy
The American Academy of pediatrics strongly recommends that all babies should be given a single, intramuscular dose of 0.5 to 1 mg. They also recommend that health care professionals promote the awareness of VKDB and it’s association to inadequate vitamin K prophylaxis from current oral dosage regimens, particularly for newborns who are breastfed.
Vitamin K . Paediatric Society of New Zealand and Starship Foundation – See more at: http://www.kidshealth.org.nz/vitamin-k#sthash.fLDg32qw.dpuf. . Accessed July 30 , 2015
Vitamin K. Baby Center. http://www.babycentre.co.uk/a551938/vitamin-k .Accessed July 30, 2015