Vitamin K Shot Fairbanks AK
Ask the Doctor - The Vitamin-K Shot
By Randall Neustaedter, OMD, Lac
I am pregnant, and my pediatrician says my baby will need a vitamin K shot after she’s born. Why is this necessary?
Your newborn needs vitamin K supplementation because this nutrient does not cross the placenta, and her gut will not yet have the bacteria required to make vitamin K on its own. Babies need the vitamin to prevent a rare but life-threatening condition called Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding, so hospitals give newborns a 1-mg shot of vitamin K within 12 hours of birth. This one injection provides adequate levels of vitamin K for up to three months. As your baby begins to digest milk, she will develop the intestinal bacteria to produce adequate levels of vitamin K, usually by about 3 months of age.
Although I strongly recommend vitamin K for newborns, I have reservations about the injected form of the vitamin. A study published in the 1990 British Journal of Cancer found that injected vitamin K doubled the incidence of leukemia in children less than 10 years of age. Follow-up studies published in the British Medical Journal in 1998 also showed an increased incidence of cancers with injected vitamin K. A 1992 study examining both the injected and oral methods of delivery revealed the same association between injected vitamin K and cancer, but no such association when it’s given orally. Although researchers have yet to determine the reason the shot may increase cancer risk, in light of these studies I always advise parents to sign a release form to refuse the shot at the hospital and give their infant oral vitamin K.
Your baby may not ingest the total contents of the drops in the oral form, so you will need to administer one 2-mg dose three times: once at birth, again at one week, and a final one at four weeks.
For oral vitamin K, contact a midwife in your area or a birthing supply company (such as birthwithlove.com), or refer your healthcare provider to Scientific Botanicals (206.527.5521) where he or she can order liquid vitamin K directly. The injectable vitamin K should not be given orally because the preservatives it contains can be irritating to babies or cause allergic
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