or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Women's Health  › Oral vitamin K for newborn - risks?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Oral vitamin K for newborn - risks?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
We did oral vitamin K drops for my son (now 3.5) when he was a newborn. I wasn't super concerned about hemorrhagic disease of the newborn, but we felt like the oral protocol of 1 drop on days 1, 7, and 30 were a very low risk choice to possibly prevent a serious condition.
Then my son went on to have serious digestive issues although he was EBF to 6 months, and BFed to 3 years and a few months.
So, is there any info about the risks of oral vitamin K for newborns - especially on the possible digestive ramifications? I'm not turning up much with internet searches. We are considering our options for our baby who is due in November.
Thanks,
Melinda
post #2 of 26
Thread Starter 
Really, 34 views and no one has anything to share?
Should I post this somewhere else?
M
post #3 of 26
Oral Vit K is the only way Vit K is given to newborns in the UK and has been for a long time.

I imagine that if there were any direct connection someone here would be shouting about it. I have a blood clotting disorder and the chances are that all my kids have a genetic predisposition to clotting rather than bleeding so I read around Vit K for newborns wrt to risks of over-clotting as have a lot of other clotters out there.

Vitamin K itself is not harmful to the body and can be ingested via many foods. I believe that the oral form along with the vitamin contains glycocholic acid and lecithin. The injectable version is used orally in some countries and contains phenol as a preservative.

Unfortunately you may not be able to pin your child's digestive issues to any one thing in particular and I know from the experience of friends over my 17 years of parenting that breastfeeding doesn't necessarily protect our children from everything that we hope it will.
post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks, orangefoot. Yes, with oral vit K for newborns being the norm in Europe, you'd think there would be some outcry if there seemed to be an increased risk of digestive upsets from the drops.
There certainly are other factors that impacted my son's digestive health, but I know that at least some of those factors are going to exist for my future children too and I'd like to make as informed a decision as possible about what I put into my NB's mouth and introduce to his/her virgin gut.
Hmm. . . more research to do.
Thanks again,
Melinda
post #5 of 26
hmmmm... I've never heard of adverse reactions to the oral vit K but I'm not sure. and it seems there are sooooo many ways to disrupt digestion. i'd guess it's a coincidence? we opted to not do the vit K for our oldest and were essentially strong armed into doing the shot for our youngest (by the ped - different practice). they really think it's important. both our kids had gut issues (or perhaps I do - not sure, but they both didn't tolerate my milk) and I did feel a solace with the fact that we'd not given the vit K or anything else to our dd. but we never have figured out what the bloody stool was all about. i'd look more into the oral vit K, but don't know what I'd do should we be blessed again...
post #6 of 26
I researched it very thoroughly before my last baby was born a year ago, and never once saw anything negative about oral Vitamin K.
post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by possum View Post
We did oral vitamin K drops for my son (now 3.5) when he was a newborn. I wasn't super concerned about hemorrhagic disease of the newborn, but we felt like the oral protocol of 1 drop on days 1, 7, and 30 were a very low risk choice to possibly prevent a serious condition.
Then my son went on to have serious digestive issues although he was EBF to 6 months, and BFed to 3 years and a few months.
So, is there any info about the risks of oral vitamin K for newborns - especially on the possible digestive ramifications? I'm not turning up much with internet searches. We are considering our options for our baby who is due in November.
Thanks,
Melinda
We gave the oral K to dd now 7 months. I new I didn't want to do the shot of K, but felt some need to give her the oral. It was biotics research? brand. Midwife got it. It was in a base of sesame oil. I did question my midwife about whether or not the sesame oil would cause problems to dd. She said no. It seems weird to me that it would not, especially to such an immature system. Not sure if its related or not but about a week after birth she has had mucus in her poo and still does. My midwife had not given the oral to patients before me, so I'm not sure if she just got whatever K she found or actually researched and consulted with other mw to find the right brand or kind. She actually said that when she was assisting another local mw, when patients would ask for oral k, they would just put the shot liquid into the baby's mouth. um not sure that that would work bc doesn't a shot need to go into muscle?
What have your child's digestive issues been?
post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by possum View Post
So, is there any info about the risks of oral vitamin K for newborns - especially on the possible digestive ramifications? I'm not turning up much with internet searches.
While I don't know anything about digestive problems from oral vit K in specific, I can tell you that ANYTHING baby gets orally before baby's gut is "closed" WILL negatively affect it, and some babies are more susceptible than others. A lot of people assume that delaying solids until 6+ months is the best way around it, but they tend to forget that it's more than just solids or formula or any other foods. Oral medicines are also included in this. While your son's condition may have still been bad, it is very possible that the vit K added to the problems.

I would look up some of Sara Wickham's articles. I decided against vit K in shot or oral form, though there are situations in which I would go ahead and get it (traumatic birth, etc.).

It's completely up to you, but if I were you, unless the birth was traumatic, I would not do the oral vit K again in case your next baby has the same likelihood of digestive issues. I would also look into delaying solids past 6 months - as long as baby is gaining well and iron is fine (though that's another subject with questions of its own, feel free to PM me if you want to know more) it may be well worth it. Plenty of women delay solids until a year or later for children who are at high risk for allergies and digestive problems.

Good luck and I hope that helps!
post #9 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by smeep View Post
While I don't know anything about digestive problems from oral vit K in specific, I can tell you that ANYTHING baby gets orally before baby's gut is "closed" WILL negatively affect it, and some babies are more susceptible than others. A lot of people assume that delaying solids until 6+ months is the best way around it, but they tend to forget that it's more than just solids or formula or any other foods. Oral medicines are also included in this. While your son's condition may have still been bad, it is very possible that the vit K added to the problems.


Also, I do want to point out that while all babies are born with low levels of vitamin K, they do have higher levels of other clotting factors.

There has been some evidence suggesting a link between higher vitamin K levels in newborns and leukemia. Apparently the vitamin K at that critical time right around birth can influence how some of the stem cells floating around might proliferate. So for that reason, we stayed away from vitamin K supplements for the baby.

Breastfeeding naturally raises vitamin K levels over the course of the first few days of life anyway.
post #10 of 26
This has some discussion (with linked studies) of vitamin k1 and k2 and how they cross the placenta and how they transfer in breastmilk, I thought it was interesting. I'm not pregnant, so I haven't had to get closer to making a decision, but I'm strongly considering a K2 supp for myself as the way to make sure potential future kiddo has a good amount (in addition to K2-rich foods, I mean)...

http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/search?q=placenta
post #11 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady Lilya View Post
Also, I do want to point out that while all babies are born with low levels of vitamin K, they do have higher levels of other clotting factors.
One of the questions Sara Wickham raises in her articles is that they say all babies are born with low levels of vit K which is kind of ridiculous when you think about it. What are they comparing the levels too that they have decided babies have LOW levels. And if it's ALL babies, maybe there's a reason for it? It just kind of makes no sense because if ALL babies are born with a certain level then you can't really call it low because it's obviously the way nature intended it.
post #12 of 26
Exactly. It is obviously the natural level.

It is clear that some babies benefit from having a higher-than-natural level, due to other issues they have. But if there is also a risk to doing that, I don't like the idea of giving vitamin K to ALL babies.
post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by tanyalynn View Post
This has some discussion (with linked studies) of vitamin k1 and k2 and how they cross the placenta and how they transfer in breastmilk, I thought it was interesting. I'm not pregnant, so I haven't had to get closer to making a decision, but I'm strongly considering a K2 supp for myself as the way to make sure potential future kiddo has a good amount (in addition to K2-rich foods, I mean)...

http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/search?q=placenta
So Tanya - what would you do if you were me? We get crazy bruising with synthetic K2. It just feels like we don't assimilate it well. I've been feeling really stuck about this and haven't taken the time to figure it out, and I'm close to running out of time.
post #14 of 26
Babies and children actually have lower levels of some clotting factors which enable them to clot more effectively. It is usually defects in clotting factors rather than excesses which affect the ability to clot.

In fact, babies, children and pregnant women have lower levels of Protein S which would ordinarily connect to another protein to de-activate the clotting cascade. Too little Protein S does not activate this process, leading to over-clotting.

This is good for little people because they don't bleed excessively from all the bumps and scrapes that a a normal part of childhood. It is also good for pregnancy because it protects against excessive bleeding in labour and post partum.

It is these general protective effects which have enabled these genetic clotting disorders to be passed on through the generations for millenia and there is still way too much that is not understood about the process of clotting or bleeding.

In the interim, Vit K is a blanket policy used as a sticking plaster for a problem which is not really understood.
post #15 of 26
All interesting... I never knew much about this. My two daughters got the vitamin K shot when they were born... was it bad for them?

How do doctors determine that babies need vitamin K shots in the first place? Did babies prior to the vitamin K shot era have clotting complications during delivery?
post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by tatsu15 View Post
All interesting... I never knew much about this. My two daughters got the vitamin K shot when they were born... was it bad for them?

How do doctors determine that babies need vitamin K shots in the first place? Did babies prior to the vitamin K shot era have clotting complications during delivery?
Was it bad for them? Possibly. While the oral dose is guaranteed to have some kind of negative effect, I have not read anything about the shot that guarantees it to have a negative effect on all babies. However, the evidence shows that there is increased likelihood of various issues. You may never know if it harmed your two daughters. However, I wouldn't worry too much. What's done is done, all you can do is make sure that you do thorough research if you have any more babies and decide for each baby which poses more risks, the shot or oral supplement itself, or the lack of the extra vit K.

Sara Wickham's "Vitamin K - An Alternative Perspective"

The "babies are born with low levels" is actually based on adult levels, which is obviously pretty ridiculous thinking. Some babies DO benefit from vit K prophylaxis (those who are at risk for internal hemorrhage, particularly babies who have specific disorders and those who have had traumatic births), though it is uncommon and, IMO, is not grounds for giving vit K to ALL babies routinely, but rather evaluating them on a case-by-case basis.
post #17 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mammo2Sammo View Post
So Tanya - what would you do if you were me? We get crazy bruising with synthetic K2. It just feels like we don't assimilate it well. I've been feeling really stuck about this and haven't taken the time to figure it out, and I'm close to running out of time.
I don't know. DS and I both need a lot less K2 than we used to now that we're taking bioplasma every day. DS hasn't had a nosebleed in ages. But you're already taking it and it hasn't affected you. Can you see a NAET person? In your situation, I'm wondering if something's going on that NAET could help. Given your issues, I'd probably choose to skip the whole thing altogether.
post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by orangefoot View Post
Oral Vit K is the only way Vit K is given to newborns in the UK and has been for a long time.

I imagine that if there were any direct connection someone here would be shouting about it. I have a blood clotting disorder and the chances are that all my kids have a genetic predisposition to clotting rather than bleeding so I read around Vit K for newborns wrt to risks of over-clotting as have a lot of other clotters out there.

Vitamin K itself is not harmful to the body and can be ingested via many foods. I believe that the oral form along with the vitamin contains glycocholic acid and lecithin. The injectable version is used orally in some countries and contains phenol as a preservative.

Unfortunately you may not be able to pin your child's digestive issues to any one thing in particular and I know from the experience of friends over my 17 years of parenting that breastfeeding doesn't necessarily protect our children from everything that we hope it will.
Perhaps in Oxfordshire...? In Scotland Vit K is injected as routine, oral isn't generally offered (except in the Ready Steady Baby book, it's never mentioned by actual staff IME), though it is given if requested (with a lot of grumbling). You must be in a particularly broad-minded Trust area.

ETA - my own (independent) MW carries a Vit K which is given by mouth OR IM, it's the same bottle, the only thing which differs is the dose (a lot more for oral).
post #19 of 26
Thanks for the info. I had to google some more info and says it may increase chances of leukemia? What I need to ask is if my daughters were given the k shot at birth and they are 2.5 and 17 months now... are they safe from developing it from the k shot... would the risk of leukemia appeared earlier on in their lives? Or when could it possibly develop (years from now)? I'm just worried a bit but they are healthy so I'm trying not to.
post #20 of 26
I've never read anything that demonstrates a clear and direct link between Vit K and childhood leukaemia. Link?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Women's Health
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Women's Health  › Oral vitamin K for newborn - risks?