Vitamin K injections

One reader is expecting a baby next March, and she’s wondering just how necessary are the vitamin K injections and drops given to the baby. It’s an issue that triggered a postbag of responses from you, offering a wide variety of opinions. Vitamin K is given to newborns to prevent haemorrhage or bleeding in the skull as a result of birth trauma. One reader points out that all newborns come into the world with levels of vitamin K that are lower than in adults, and probably for a very good reason – so leave well alone. Another takes us to task for describing them as ‘vaccinations’ when they are injections. Apologies. Having corrected us, she goes on to say that she never gave her four children any injections or drops, even though the boys were circumcised at eight days (they were born in a hospital in Israel), and vitamin K is supposed to help the blood to coagulate. Another woman said in her birth plan that she wanted her child to have vitamin K orally. Then there was the reader who shocked her NCT class by announcing that she was opposed to vitamin K injections. Around one in 10,000 babies die from excess bleeding, but our reader has been unable to ascertain the nutritional status of the mothers. Her concerns are that the injection includes mercury. Interestingly, the last few drops of placental blood contain high levels of vitamin K, but very few women are given the chance to have a full placental delivery. Her concerns are well placed, says another reader. Vitamin K has been associated with serious health problems, and especially an increased risk of childhood leukaemia. To help offset any vitamin K deficiency, the mother should take alfalfa, as sprouts or tablets, for six weeks before the birth, and for about a month afterwards, so the baby will get vitamin K from the placenta and the breast milk. Finally, AIMS publishes a comprehensive book on the subject, called Vitamin K and the Newborn, by Sara Wickham. For more information, try the website:

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Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

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