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Vitamin K – Pros and Cons with the Newborn Vitamin K Injection

July 29, 2009

Vitamin K is the shot that is given to your newborn immediately after birth without your consent.

I have a friend who is in her third trimester (actually many friends of mine are expecting) and this particular friend is questioning the pros and cons of receiving the Vitamin K injection.  She is having her baby in the hospital and was wondering if she has the right to refuse the newborn vitamin K injection and if she does, will she be harming her baby?

I decided to do a little research and this is what I concluded about the vitamin K injection for newborns…

You probably have done alot of research yourself about the pros and cons of this vitamin k shot.  Are you still confused and wondering what the best thing is to do?  If you don’t make a decision, then it’s human nature to do nothing, your baby will be born and the nurse will give the routine, painful vitamin k shot within minutes of birth and you won’t even think about it until later.

The medical staff gives the vitamin k shot without your consent and without ever asking you.

The Vitamin K injection given to newborns is 20,000 times more than the needed dose.


Okay, so this is what I have come up with…

If 1 in ten thousand babies actually need the extra vitamin k, then why are we giving 9,999 babies the shot for no reason?


Are there signs that your baby will give you if they need the vitamin k injection?

  1. bleeding from the umbilicus, nose, mouth, ears, urinary tract or rectum
  2. any bruise not related to a known trauma
  3. pinpoint bruises called petechiae
  4. black vomit (it’s black from the blood)
  5. bleeding longer than 6 minutes from a blood sampling site
  6. symptoms of intracranial bleeding

Can you refuse the vitamin k injection?

  • yes, if you sign the waiver before the baby is born
  • there is no law requiring you to give your baby vitamin k

Vitamin K shots ARE NOT required by state law, but they are recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics as the standard of care for newborns in the hospital.

    What can I do to be at no risk for HDN? (Hemorrhagic Disease of the Newborn)

    (‘they’ say that if you don’t have the vitamin k injection, your baby is at risk for HDN)

    1. Have a natural birth (no c-section, no epidural, no forceps, no suction).  I have heard that the the epidural pack says that epidurals can cause brain hemorrhage in the infant.
    2. Allow the umbilical cord to stop pulsing before clamping and cutting – allowing all the babies blood to go back to the baby (increasing vitamin k and iron counts)
    3. Eat foods with good vitamin k content, if you are concerned – take alfalfa. (alfalfa is safe for pregnant and nursing mothers – actually can help with milk supply)

    If you decide to give the vitamin K injection to your newborn, do a couple things first:

    • At the very least, the injection should be delayed until after the baby has learned to nurse
    • Check out your option of oral vitamin k vs the injected vitamin k.

    Click here for more points to ponder on the pros and cons of the vitamin k shot for you newborn.

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    22 Comments leave one →
    1. September 8, 2012 12:30 pm

      Good info. It’s hard to say no, for me, to medical professionals. I recently allowed my son to go through full body x-rays to check for child abuse (after he broke his femur falling off a swing) even though I obviously know we’re not abusing him, and I know that x-rays have risks. Now I regret it a little.
      Anyway, I was so busy trying to say no to other things (induction, early cord clamping etc.) that my first son got a Vitamin K shot in the hospital. At home, for my second birth, it was an easy decision. Midwife offered options of shot, oral to baby, oral to mom during pregnancy, or just eat healthy foods. I just ate healthy foods.

    2. kkrog permalink
      August 2, 2012 11:00 am

      I know this was mostly in ’09 but thought I would leave my two cents anyway. I did alfalfa with my last three and we were great. I think we just need to be eating and taking the right stuff. I know everyone believes that the number one killer of women in days gone by was childbirth but that isn’t true. It was burning to death. Large skirts brushing against the coals of the fire while cooking. My husbands Grandma died at a young age when the house burned down around her from this. Sad but true.

    3. penelope permalink
      June 23, 2012 9:26 am

      People! Why cause this tiny little newborn such pain with the vitamin K shot! They go through
      enough trauma and pain. For God’s sake, give them Vitamin K drops. Do more
      research on the subject.

    4. Crystal A. permalink
      March 13, 2012 9:08 pm

      If it’s not needed then just decline. Anyway, it won’t do any harm. Also, when your baby grew up, there would likely be a lot of options for him/her to receive enough of this vitamin K, which for one is taking supplements. Actually, I’ve been trying one from http://products.mercola.com/vitamin-k/ and so far, the result is always good. :)

      • maggie a permalink
        September 12, 2013 2:19 pm

        Its not just the injection needle that hurts the baby, its what else is in the needle. Mercury for one!!!!!

    5. February 28, 2012 1:07 pm

      thanks for posting this info…I appreciated it in helping me write a small reference to Vitamin K! http://www.wholephamily.com/2012/02/vitamin-hkind-of-like-amp-goes-to-11.html

    6. Anonymous permalink
      August 22, 2011 2:43 pm

      I declined the vitamin k shot and the nurses and Dr.s about threw a fit. I declined the hepatitis vaccination, the antibiotic goo they put in the baby’s eyes, vaccinations for myself, and some laxative that made me constipated last time I delivered in the hospital, pitocin shots (especially since I delivered my baby so fast and without help.) And the nurse there tried to imply that I’d die if I didn’t take the pitocin shots. I just said, I don’t need all that extra stuff. My husband told me that next time we could have a home birth. Finally, after my 4th one. I’ve been asking since #1.

    7. Charlotte permalink
      May 10, 2010 8:42 am

      I am a midwife who works in a high risk obstetric unit in UK. We would never give Vitamin K without gaining informed consent from the parents (if English is not their 1st language we get an interpreter to inform parents) they have the option of IM injection, oral or to decline. We give them information around vitamin K always as thoroughly as we can. Not all babies require Vitamin K it is babies who are deemed to be at a higher risk ie ventouse, forceps, C/section and Augmented labours. however we may recommend the baby has the vit K but the parents will be the ones who have the final decision. I also feel it is important to have the Vitamin K discussion in the antenatal period when there is no added pressure of the delivery ward, and research can also be done by the parents in this time.

      • theCmom permalink*
        May 10, 2010 9:17 am

        Thank you for your insight! I really appreciate your thoughts on vitamin K. I agree :)

    8. amber permalink
      March 28, 2010 12:13 pm

      they give the vitamin k shot to the other 99,999 babies because they dont know which one its going to happen to. babies arent born with a sign saying hey look i need that shot! and the signs for the babies having blood clotting problems dont arise till about 8 or 9 days.

      • theCmom permalink*
        March 29, 2010 12:31 pm

        i love comments, thanks for taking the time to comment :-)

      • Anonymous permalink
        June 4, 2013 11:16 am

        You may not think that 1 out of 100,000 is significant until you are that 1. Before Vitamin K was given routinely the rate of vitamin K deficient bleeding in the newborn was 5.13/10,000 and after vitamin K was routinely offered the rate has gone down to 0.25-1.7. Potential parents- do you research besides reading blogs and trusting the unsupported opinion of extremists.

        • theCmom permalink*
          June 4, 2013 7:27 pm

          Thank you for your opinion and “unsupported facts”.
          If there are lots of interventions and trauma (aggressive forceps and manipulation to birth baby) during a birth, the vitamin K shot may be warranted…

        • September 12, 2013 2:31 pm

          These statistics were for the risk groups only….. so your numbers are misleading….because most babies do not need vitamin K at birth. Also, babies are given 20,000 times more than the needed dose. The injection is traumatic for the baby, not to mention the injection can case infection. You need to do your research. Who benefits from babies being given a routine injection at birth???? Ah…. the money grabbing unethical and some downright evil pharmaceutical companies…. to the tune of TRILLIONS of £££

    9. Guggie Daly permalink
      January 30, 2010 11:56 pm

      Hi just thought everyone should know: New York state does NOT have an exemption. It is actually state law to require the INJECTION form only. If you do not administer it, CPS will come in and do it for you.

      • theCmom permalink*
        January 31, 2010 10:11 am

        thanks for the info – what if you have your baby at home, do you still have to get the vitamin k shot?

      • Kerry permalink
        April 22, 2010 12:45 pm

        I’m really trying to get out of it, because it’s against your Constitution right to refuse. I don’t know why NY would require it especially when it’s very small number that should get it and not posing any risk to others. I did call Child Protective Services and they didn’t really know what I was talking about. They said it would be against the law to take the child and administer the shot to them and they are concerned about vaccinations that would prevent the child from attaining school or something like that. I have contacted a couple lawyers who are looking in to it. The most I can see is CPS being called and they just check up on you a couple times. Let me know if anyone else has information.

    10. Anonymous permalink
      November 24, 2009 10:21 pm

      I agree with this blogger – “The Joy of Natural Childbirth” is a must read. Try to find a copy of it – you will be blessed from reading it. I think amazon sometimes has copies of it. The author puts aside all the common fears of having a baby, whether you have it at home or in the hospital.

    11. November 24, 2009 12:43 pm

      I just talked to the pediatrician yesterday about this. I’m having a home birth, and he all but passed out in the floor when I told him. He said “WHAT ABOUT THE VITAMIN K SHOT?!” I said “what about it?” He wanted to know how I was going to get it, I said I’m not. The real dangers lie during delivery, and for boys during circumcision. I’m having a girl… and what good would the shot have for her during delivery if I give it to her after she’s born?”
      He really thinks that I’m just doing this on a whim… and that I haven’t donemy research. He said “You give me a heart attack talkin about crazy stuff like this!”

      • theCmom permalink*
        November 24, 2009 10:10 pm

        there isn’t any danger with boys not receiving the vitamin k shot if you wait until day 8 to do the circumcision….
        I don’t have a pediatrician…at this point, not sure what I would do with one :-) and that’s with two children under the age of two :-)
        enjoy your homebirth! I LOVED both of mine!

        • Anonymous permalink
          December 29, 2011 9:32 am

          There is especially no risk of bleeding from circumcision if you leave your son beautifully intact like I did! ;-)

    12. August 19, 2009 4:09 am

      Love the new look, keep up the great work the number of visitors must have increased?.

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