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changing mind about declined Vitamin K?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Long story, we declined the shot during the (short, sleep-deprived) stay after our hospital birth, but I am still on the fence. Yes, I am embarrassed and know I should have done better research beforehand so I would have been more sure of my decision at the time rather than finding myself wondering later if I was being excessively idealistic and stubborn. I am eating plenty of Vit. K foods now and have been taking probiotics for weeks which may help, but from what I've read, this will only go so far for improving breastmilk levels. We did not do delayed cord clamping which is something else that concerns me -- perhaps the baby is not really so close to the "natural" state that some see the Vitamin K shot altering unnecessarily.

But I was wondering if anyone had for some reason gotten the Vitamin K shot not immediately after birth, but for a still-newborn baby. and been able to do it at an ordinary pediatrician visit (like the 2-week check), or would we probably be sent to a hospital to get it? There is no age limit, correct? Is this something pediatricians keep around or would they need some notice that we were coming in needing it, if we decide to do it? The baby has already seen the pediatrician, and I don't think any real notice was taken of the sheet where I checked off that the baby had not received the Vitamin K. I'm asking for experience before calling and asking them directly because my concerns are not so high and my mind not so changed that I want to run out, get a prescription if necessary, and go to the hospital for this shot today.
post #2 of 21
How old is your baby? Vit K levels are ok after baby is 8 days old, so if yours is older than that I wouldn't worry. (((hugs)))
post #3 of 21
I can understand your worry, however there is nothing to worry about. The low Vit. K in newborns is natural. It has been there from the beginning of time and will be there until the end. That is how we were made.

The Vit. K shot was made "routine" for those rare babies born with Hemorrhagic Disease of the Newborn (HDN). This is VERY rare. The only other real benefit is for babies that sustain birth trauma.

Due to the trauma of the manual removal of my son at his birth I changed my mind about him getting the shot (he had several bruises on his face from being pulled out). Otherwise I would have refused. My others never had it either. And if you are beyond the first week of life, there really is no benefit from it. Check out this link:

Vitamin K for Newborns
Why is Vitamin K Given to Newborns?

There is a rare disease called Vitamin K deficiency bleeding, which occurs in approximately 1 in 10,000 babies. In about half of babies who suffer this bleeding problem after the first week of life, many will die or sustain significant brain-damage due to the disease, because of bleeding into the brain.

It occurs almost exclusively in breastfed babies and is almost completely preventable by giving extra vitamin K after birth.
If you read the numbers, only ONE baby in 20,000 will NEED the vit K shot! That is a lot of babies given a shot unnecessarily. And beyond that, there is a concern that the routine Vit K shots MAY be contributing to childhood leukemia and other cancers.

I would not worry about it at this time.
post #4 of 21
Originally Posted by Kidzaplenty View Post
If you read the numbers, only ONE baby in 20,000 will NEED the vit K shot! That is a lot of babies given a shot unnecessarily.
First of all, the link you provided says the rate is 1 in 10,000, which is double the number you quoted in the next breath. Second, that's little consolation to the mother whose baby is the one in 10,000. I say give women that statistic and let them decide for themselves if that is a risk they are willing to take, don't tell them "you have nothing to worry about". At those rates there is not much to worry about, but it's not nothing.

Do we know that these are numbers for babies who don't get vitamin K, or is this the incidence of disease in the population today where supplementation is common?

And beyond that, there is a concern that the routine Vit K shots MAY be contributing to childhood leukemia and other cancers.
That article is 10 years old. Subsequent studies refuted that information.
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
The baby is still less than a week old (I'm erring on the side of minimal identifying information on the public board, sorry.) If I understand what I've read, the type of vitamin K deficiency bleeding that is most dangerous to my baby actually starts about 2 weeks old, and is a continued risk to breastfed babies who have not received the shot because milk levels may be low. From http://www.emedicine.com/ped/byname/...of-Newborn.htm

Intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) is uncommon in classic VKDB but can be observed in more than 50% of infants with late-onset VKDB. ICH is responsible for nearly all mortality and all long-term sequelae resulting from VKDB.
I understand the idea that maybe we don't know some important reason breastfed babies' levels are the way they are, but I also believe that we all are experiencing some consequences of living in a world that is no longer in a perfect natural state, so it's hard to be so confident that the shot must be an unnecessary interference and therefore not worth it.
post #6 of 21
No offense was intended. I have no problem with someone getting the shot. However, if, as I said, the baby is beyond the first week of life, there really is no reason for the shot.

And the reason I stated "20,000" is because the article stated "In about half of babies who suffer this bleeding", unless my math is off, which is possible, that means about 1 in 20,000.

And regarding the link between Vit K and leukemia, I just pulled up one of the first links that I had on hand. I know there are many that I have. However, I did qualify it with a "May". I don't trust all the studies, either old or new, but I personally do feel like there may be a link. Not that it is 100% the cause.

Again, I am sorry if I offended. I just wanted to ease the mind of a mom that was worried about not having done the "right" thing at the beginning. If the baby is a week or more old, it is really a mute point. That is all I was trying to say.
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
That's what I'm not so sure about -- that it is moot. See my above post with the quote about mortality and long-term effects from late-onset Vit. K deficiency bleeding. If levels were uniformly fine after 8 days, this couldn't be the case. I do have trouble (we're a little busy here!) finding the statistics for each group, however, such as the overall risk of late-onset VKDB versus "classic" VKDB.
post #8 of 21
Originally Posted by nashvillemidwife View Post
That article is 10 years old. Subsequent studies refuted that information.
Do you have links to any of the current info? I seem to only be able to dig up info that says
The chance of your child developing leukaemia from the Vitamin K shot is estimated to be about one in 500 (MIDIRS Midwifery Digest, Vol 2 #3, September 1992)
and other similar things about leukemia. I'd love to read something to the contrary as I am still regretting doing the vitamin K on my second child (my plan was to decline as I did with my first but then due to head bruising at birth, I opted for it).
post #9 of 21
post #10 of 21
Really, if you feel like you NEED it, get it! It may ease your worries. And since you did say your baby was less than a week, it could be good.

I have never tried to get it after a birth, but I suppose that the pedi might know how to get a shot. Or else perhaps he/she could order one.
post #11 of 21
i just dont buy into the vit k suggestion,,,would love to see more studies too
post #12 of 21
Originally Posted by Kidzaplenty View Post
Really, if you feel like you NEED it, get it! It may ease your worries.
I agree. If it's something that you'd second guess not getting it if something were to happen, I'd get it. 2 out of 3 of my kids had it, and I don't regret getting it for them. The other one had no need for it, and I don't regret NOT getting it (unless not getting it contributed to the monkey I now have on my hands
post #13 of 21
I may be wrong, but I thought that a lot of the cases of strokes, etc that occur, happen when the baby is around 2-3 months old?
I've seen the schedule for using oral vit K, and it's given over a period of a couple months... Why would they continue to give it after 1 week if the levels always automatically fixed themselves at 8 days?

I don't have any info pulled up or anything, I'm just trying to recall what I've read.

I'd say if you decided you want to get it, I don't think it's too late because if I remember right the bleeds don't happen until later on

I wish I had time to look that up but just wanted to mention it
post #14 of 21
I was not going to give ds a vit k shot. But after 4 days of this weird amber-colored meconium (it looked like digested blood) I took him back to the mw for his PKU test at 5 days old and we decided to go ahead and give him the vit k. The thought was that maybe his intestine lining wasn't closing up properly. I had taken him to see the Ped at 3 days and I could have gotten the vit K shot from them but our ped was taking a give-it-a-day approach. So since it hadn't resolved itself we got the shot. About 24 hours after that his milk stools finally started coming in and we didn't have any more issues. Was it the vit k that resolved the issue? I don't know. But I do feel fine knowing he got it. DD got it in the hospital before I knew about this sort of thing, and I feel a lot better about it this time around because it was a more informed decision.

So if you are having concerns about bleeding down the line, your pediatrician should be able to provide and administer it.
post #15 of 21
From reading the AAP policy statement, it seems at this point that you might just want to give the Vit K orally.
post #16 of 21
I researched until I was sick of researching the Vit K shot and decided I would skip unless she had a very long time in birth canal which then I would reconsider.

My daughter was born VERY fast! However, she had an extreme case of RDS and spent a week in the hospital. There were several nights I stayed up thinking "Am I doing the right thing by refusing the Vit K?" The poor thing was stuck numerous times throughout all 8 days there for bloodwork and you know what - some times her blood sample was too clotted so they would have to stick her again! Go figure! So my experience taught me to trust my gut instinct because after my daughter's ordeal I definitely felt like I made the right decision.
post #17 of 21
I think you should go with your gut instinct. If you are worried and not able to put it out of your mind and it is affecting you then both you and your baby will probally benefit from the shot, if not physically then psycologically. I didnt get the shot, but i would of if there had been signs of bruising or a traumatic birth, or even if i had felt the need, i am a big believer in following your instincts, and i felt very comfortable with our choice.
post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hmm, I pushed for about two and a half hours. Is that a long enough time to be likely to be "traumatic?" I had thought it was normal for the first time, but some seem to think it is lengthy. No bruising though. The baby didn't have quite that smushed look some babies have though of course there was molding.

Because of what I quoted above about the likelihood of timing of severe problems with VKDB and the stats I have been able to find about the incidence in breastfed or probably mostly breastfed populations without prophylaxis, chances are what I'll do is wait to call the pediatricians shortly before the 2-week visit and ask if we would be able to get it there or would they be able to write us a prescription to get it at a hospital -- or would they advise something different if it has been that long since birth.
post #19 of 21
you can get the shot any time but call the ped and find out if they have any on hand-
the numbers I have are all over the place- as a culture we tend to eat very little vitamin K. In the New York studies the incidence was very high- which is why they passed the only manditory law-- there are recent studies from one of the more westernized areas of China that are similar to the New York studies something like 1 to 2 per 1,000-( and right here I would like to comment about the incidence I have heard about in midwifery circles, I know of more than 2 deaths attributed to LHDN, as well as numerous stories from midwives who have given delayed shots, or recommended them because of signs and symptoms- if they would just sit down and calculate their own stats the incidence if far more frequent than most studies state)
the numbers as far as finding signs and symptoms - are closer to 2/3 of babies who have HDN or LHDN will have a brain bleed before there are other symptoms- I don't have the info right in front of me right now but I have posted it in the past
post #20 of 21



article on actual cases of late vitamin K deficiency bleeding related to declining vitamin K injections. oral vitamin K is not FDA approved. 

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