Vitamin K & Newborn Baby

Vitamin K & Newborn Baby:

Vitamin K has a tendency for blood clot and prevents serious bleeding. In newborns, vitamin K
injections can prevent bleeding disorder called ‘vitamin K deficiency bleeding’ (VKDB) or ‘haemorrhagic disease of the newborn’ (HDN). Vitamin K should be given to babies who are premature or sick, and babies have gone through surgery.

Babies do not get enough vitamin K from their mothers during pregnancy, or after pregnancy while breast feeding. VKDB can cause bleeding into the brain, and may result in damage to the brain. VKDB can be prevented by injecting in new babies with needed vitamin K. At the age of about 6 months, Baby's body starts building their own vitamin K.

Vitamin K can also be given by mouth although it is not as effective as when injected and the effect does not last as long.

If you choose vitamin K by mouth, your baby must have three doses:

- At birth
- At 3 to 5 days later
- In the 4th week, if the baby is fully breast fed. 
If your baby vomits within one hour of swallowing the vitamin K, the baby will need to have another dose.

All babies need to have vitamin K. Very small or premature babies may need smaller doses – your doctor can advise you about this. Vitamin K by mouth is not suitable for some babies:

Babies who are premature or sick should be given the vitamin by injection. The very small dose needed is difficult to measure by mouth, and these babies are also more likely to have feeding difficulties.
If you choose vitamin K by mouth but your baby is unwell when a dose is due, the baby may need to have the injection instead.

You should consult doctor  as a precaution:

- If your baby has any unexplained bleeding or there are any signs of jaundice (yellow colouring of the skin or whites of the eyes).
- Babies with liver problems are particularly at risk, even if they have had vitamin K.

Make sure that your baby’s vitamin K doses are recorded in the baby’s personal health record.
Talk to your doctor or healthcare worker if you need help or advice.

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