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Posted by bio_man   January 23, 2022   2478 views

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin necessary mainly for the formation of blood clots. Without this vitamin, bleeding would not stop. 

Vitamin K is given as an injection to newborns to prevent vitamin K deficiency bleeding, since the level of blood clotting factors of newborn babies are roughly 30–60% that of adult values. The reason for this discrepancy is due to poor transfer of the vitamin across the placenta, and thus low fetal plasma vitamin K.

Occurrence of vitamin K deficiency bleeding in the first week of the infant's life is estimated at 0.25–1.7%, with a prevalence of 2–10 cases per 100,000 births. Since the vitamin is found in human milk and supplemented in infant formula, the concentration of vitamin K naturally rises within the first few weeks of birth. Human milk, for instance, contains 0.85–9.2 μg/L of vitamin K, while infant formula is formulated in range of 24–175 μg/L. Late onset prevalence of bleeding in infants who had not received prophylaxis at or shortly after birth is reported in roughly 35 cases per 100,000 (0.035%). In addition, vitamin K deficiency bleeding occurs more frequently in the Asian population compared to the Caucasian population.

So, is it necessary? That depends on your attitude towards risk. If a less than 1% chance of an adverse effect potentially harming your child is something that keeps you up at night, then it is something you should consider. But if you're a healthy mother, and plan to breastfeed your baby, your concerns for not opting your newborn to take the injection should dispelled.

vitamin k newborns infants nursing mothers medical nutrition
Posted in Research
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