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What exactly is the Vitamin K shot AND the antibiotic drops for newborns??

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Yesterday at our hospital tour I asked the nurse if they needed a consent to give my baby (due in 6 weeks) the vit. k shot and the eye drops ("they are not the gooey ones anymore", she said, like that makes the difference) She said it was routine care for this hospital, it was recommended by the AAP (sure, SO trusting)
and they did NOT ask the parents. (they do it in front of us, the parents, but still)

Can you give me info. on these 2 (vit. k and antibiotic eye drops)
I know the what they are given for, but have not sounf any extensive research on either of them. (What could be a reaction to either of them)


post #2 of 14


Vitamin K is a fat-soluble substance that triggers off the blood-clotting process. Blood clotting is a complex process and can be described as a sequence of three stages, requiring up to 12 different coagulation factors.

The liver needs vitamin K to synthesize four of these factors. Vitamin K is also needed for the formation of other proteins found in plasma, bone and kidney.

As with other fat-soluble vitamins, a normal flow of bile and pancreatic juice is necessary for digestion, and the presence of dietary fat, especially short-chain fatty acids, enhances absorption. Absorbed vitamin K is transported via the lymph into the systemic circulation.

Vitamin K is found in many foods. Leafy, dark green and deep yellow vegetables are the best sources.

Alfalfa is a good source; and milk and dairy products, eggs, cereals, fruits and other vegetables also provide small but significant amounts. As the liver of adults contains about equal amounts of plant and animal forms of Vitamin K, it is assumed that vitamin K is produced in the intestinal tract by bacterial flora. One of the reasons given for the low levels of vitamin K in newborn babies is because their gut has not yet been colonized by the required bacteria

I don't currently have any info on the eyedrops.
post #3 of 14
I had both of these done to dd because I didn't know any different. With ds, I put in my birth plan for him to not recieve these. He didn't. I also refused the hep b shot and the circ. I think they shove those papers in with everything else you sign. I made sure to put it in my birth plan and all the nurses read it so they asked me about it. I don't know why they don't give you the option. I guess some parents are just too trusting. I know I was but I didn't know any different with my first delivery. I refused the vit k shot because ds would not be having a circ therefor had no reason to have his blood clot. I refused the eye ointment because they do that to prevent baby from getting any STD's from delivery. I don't have any STD's so there was no reason for my baby to have that gunk in his eyes. I wish I would have know what I know now when I had dd.
post #4 of 14
Check this out:

"Are Vitamin K Shots Necessary?
Randall Neustaedter, OMD, LAc, CCH

An injection of vitamin K (1.0 mg) is routinely administered to all newborns to prevent unexpected bleeding caused by low levels of vitamin K-dependent blood clotting factors. Vitamin K is present in green vegetables, vegetable oils, and dairy products, but intake or supplementation during pregnancy does not ensure prevention of vitamin K deficiency in newborns.

The syndrome of vitamin K deficiency bleeding occurs in approximately 1 in 10,000 babies. Hemorrhagic disease that occurs from week 2-12 of life is the most dangerous form. Half of these affected babies suffer sudden bleeding into the brain, and 20 percent of affected babies die. Studies have shown that a single injection or oral dose of vitamin K at birth results in adequate coagulation status and vitamin K levels for up to three months following birth.

Injected vitamin K ran into a problem when researchers in 1990 noted an increased incidence of childhood cancer in children given vitamin K injections at birth. Specifically, they found that injected vitamin K doubled the incidence of leukemia in children less than ten years of age. A subsequent study in 1992 revealed the same association between injected vitamin K and cancer, but no such association with oral vitamin K. These researchers recommended exclusive use of oral vitamin K.

Since vitamin K given within 12 hours of birth can reduce the risk of vitamin K deficiency bleeding, it seems prudent to give an oral dose of 1-2 mg. Injections of vitamin K are painful and can cause bruising at the injection site. There may also be an increased risk of cancer associated with vitamin K injections.


Just wanted to add, that you should be able to request oral vit K in the hospital, should you decide to go that route. If you don't go with the vitamin K, you can supplement with alfalfa/chlorophyll starting from about 34 weeks prenatal to about 12 weeks postpartum. If you want I can send you links about that too.
post #5 of 14
Here is a link about antibiotics:

post #6 of 14
You need to know that if there are things that you do not want done to your child while in the hospital, then you or the father need to be with your child at ALL TIMES! Don't take no for an answer. If everything goes well, there is not anywhere they should be taking your baby where you cannot accompany. Hope all goes well!
post #7 of 14
Our then-Ped terrified me into getting the Vit K shot (using words like "hemmorhage and brain dead") and I didn't arm myself w/adequate info on it, so I authorized the nurse to give the shot to our DD . Seems to me that if breastmilk contains very low levels of Vit K, then there must be a reason. God doesn't make mistakes!

I always wonder if this was a catalyst in DD's skyrocketing bilirubin levels some days later and, consequently, her being treated w/phototherapy (another unknown hazard) with months of colic following. :

Fortunately, DD got nothing else and never will. I had a completely unmedicated natural birth, but dropped the ball on this one issue. I should have been more prepared.

Heaven help me if DD is ever diagnosed w/cancer or leukemia. The illness would be bad enough, but the guilt would send me over the edge.
post #8 of 14
I don't have a ref, but I can tell you that the antibiotic eye goop is to prevent infection and potential blindness in the newborn after a trip down an infected birth canal. IF you do not now, nor have ever had an STD, the antibiotics are pretty much redundant. A prophylactic. They are relatively mild (most hospitals use either Gentamycin or Erythromycin) as opposed to the Sliver Nitrate they used in the past.

So, totally unnecessary if you are STD free. THat said, my ds had them even tho I am and have always been STD free and KNEW BETTER . I made them wait until after we'd left the delivery room but he had 'em, just the same. I regret the descision, but was just to tired to put up a fight. I even had a Doctor try to tell me that the AB would protect the babe agaist a yeast infection in his eye. I study immunology for the love of Pete! Antibiotics are useless against fungus. Idiot Docs. Anyhow, it was just one more antibiotic he didn't/doesn't need and he got it due to my weakness. It won't happen again!
post #9 of 14
The eye drops prevent the transmission for Gonnorhea and/or Chlymidia that a mother could pass to the baby. If you don't have either of these.... well you aren't at risk.

Just from a legal point of view- I'm not sure if it is this way everywhere. But- here in Oreogn the way the laws are written care providers (midwife, CNM, OB) are required by law to administer the (injectable) Vitamin K and the antibiotic eye ointment. Parent can decline but to make it legal they must sign a form.

If you choose to decline I would recommend signing the forms ahead for tie and then reminding the staff of your choice when you arrive in labor.
post #10 of 14
I was so angry that my son received the eye goop. His eyes were red for weeks. There is no possible way I could have an std (dh and I were virgins until we got married AND they tested me when I was pregnant anyways). I told them this but they did not even care or listen. Next time, if they do something after I say NO, I would file a suit (there wont be a next time, next one is born at home!).

My son also received Vit K against my permission (it was in the birth plan too so be ready to speak up LOUD if you dont want it).......he also ended up with jaundice and he didnt need extra Vit K anyways cause he wasnt being cut.
post #11 of 14
Just wanted to add:
My first son had the antibiotics (and Vit K), and his eyes totally swelled shut right after the birth. I don't think he even saw my or dh's faces for the first couple of days. He also seemed to have problems with a clogged tear duct in his left eye ALOT for the first year.

My second one had nothing. I was amazed at how aware he was. At how much he looked around, and stared at my face. His beautiful little eyes gazed right into mine ---it was so sweet and amazing, it still makes my eyes tear up to this day. Gosh darn, its cool how aware a newborn is after they're born, if you just let their little bodies be.

I suppose if you were *really* worried about an STD, but didn't want eye goop you could do another test towards the end of the pregnancy. I've never actually heard of anyone doing that -but- its always possible.
post #12 of 14
Does anyone know of a website that shows the legal requirements in each state? I'm particularly interested in Maryland.
post #13 of 14
state laws are usually found in the revised code.I know in Ohio I was able to decline the vitK and hepB and PKU.I did do the eye ointment for dd,and when I had ds at home the midwife said it was required by law,but since we were at home no one could force it!.I did do the PKU testing but only one time.The one hospitals do right after birth is useless.I think I did turn that down for dd too.I know I had to sign forms that I declined vitK,PKU,HepB,and 24 hour nursery stay.They *stressed* over and over that declining all these could result in my dd's death.
post #14 of 14
I just wanted to reiterate what Mommy to Baby Roni said! Keep your baby w/ you or your DH at all times! I had a very hard delivery (ending in a c/s and baby got eyedrops anyway, even w/out going through the birth canal) and did not keep my baby w/ me b/c I was unable to care for him. I late got his medical records and found all kinds of things I did not want for him (formula and pacifiers mainly). I know so much more now and will keep my baby w/ me next time and decline both Vit K and eyedrops.
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