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Newborns require vitamin K injection to prevent internal bleeding

Posted:  Tuesday, September 22, 2015

There is a new trend of parents in the USA denying their children of vaccines as they feel vaccines are unnecessary. However forgoing vitamin K shots for newborns may not be an option as it is required to prevent internal bleeding.

Infants have low vitamin K levels at birth. Vitamin K participates in the blood clotting mechanism and lack of which results in serious bleeding problems. A Nashville hospital over an 8 month period noted several admissions of vitamin K deficiency bleeding. Of the 7 vitamin K deficient infants, 5 suffered gastrointestinal or brain bleed, which can lead to permanent damage or even death.

An investigation by US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that 28% of the parents of infants born at private birthing centres in Nashville had declined the vitamin K injection for the newborn.

Published in the Journal of Emergency Medicine, a case study by doctors in Ohio showed that a 10 week old infant suffered a bleeding around the brain subsequent to the parents’ refusal to the vitamin K supplementation and the hepatitis B vaccine, which is also part of the newborn vaccination.

On a parting note, DeeAnne Jackson, M.D., medical director of the UAB Hospital Newborn Nursery and associate professor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, said, "I would encourage parents who may be nervous about vitamin K shots or vaccines to start these conversations prior to their baby's delivery so they can learn more about why these treatments are recommended ahead of time. You really shouldn't wait to see if your baby needs a vitamin K shot after birth, because delaying medical care can lead to serious and life-threatening consequences."

When in doubt about the vitamin K shots, it is best that the parents consult physicians and paediatricians in the best interest of their child’s health and well-being.

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