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One of the very first things on a doctor or midwife’s to do list after the birth of your baby is an injection of vitamin K. The purpose of this shot is to assist the newborn with blood clotting capabilities in order to prevent the very rare and slow problem of bleeding into the brain in the weeks after birth (risk in about one in every 10,000 live births). The shot also is a supposed safeguard in case your car is involved in a car wreck on the way home from the hospital or birthing center with newborn in tow. Even a mild injury to a newborn could be life threatening if blood clotting capability is not adequate.
If you click on the header to each article, it will take you directly to the website I pulled the information from. I LOVE Catherine’s website (below)and think it has a WORLD of WONDERFUL birth information. 🙂
What is it?
In the United States, the practice of newborn vitamin k injections has become almost universal. However, this routine newborn procedure is controversial in other nations. It originated during the hospital age of routine separation of mothers from their babies, before rooming-in was an accepted practice.
Why is this done?
The rationale for newborn vitamin K injection at birth is that newborns are born with a “deficiency” of vitamin K. This perceived deficiency is based upon a comparison of newborn levels to normal adult values. Low levels of vitamin k can lead to decreased clotting ability of the blood, that can leave the newborn more susceptible to hemorrhage. The risk is quite small, only about 1 in 200, but it does exist. The following factors increase risk of hemorrhage in newborns:
Risk Factors for Cerebral Hemorrhage
- Precipitous Labor
- Prolonged Labor
- Significant Fetal Head Molding
- Birth Trauma
- Forceps Delivery
- Vacuum Extraction
- Variable Heart Decelerations in Late Labor
Points to Ponder on Routine Injection
While newborn vitamin K injection may sound like an acceptable intervention, there are several points to ponder, foremost of which is that all infants are born with a low level of vitamin k. Thus, it raises the question of whether the low newborn concentration of vitamin k should in fact be termed a deficiency. Additional concerns include:
- The amount of Vit K injected is 20,000 times the newborn level at birth. The dose size given is based upon normal adult values. Additionally, the injection may also contain preservatives which are known toxins to the infant.
- Large doses of Vit K are a cause of jaundice in the newborn. A cure for one perceived ailment then becomes the cause of another.
- Colostrum, which precedes breastmilk, is rich in Vit K. Thus, an infant who is breastfed immediately at birth will receive a natural source of Vit K, in most cases significantly raising the Vit K level.
- Vit K is absorbed by the gut from foods we eat. However, the injection is an intramuscular one, which bypasses the gut and delivers the Vit K in a way the body wasn’t designed to receive.
- Birth is an overwhelming sensory experience for the baby – it has never before been cold, hungry, been blinded by light, felt the touch of cloth or the pull of gravity. Sticking a needle into its body and inflicting pain isn’t a gentle way to allow the sensory system to gradually adjust to the outside world.
- Subconsciously, it sends the message that nature is inadequate, that medical interventions are are necessary to save us from ourselves.
1. Minimize interventions and the use of pain medications to reduce the risk of intercranial bleeding.
Interventions such as epidural anethesia, iv narcotics, internal fetal monitoring, induction, and operative delivery including forceps and vacuum extraction (ventouse) put the baby at greater risk of developing bruising and intercranial hemorrhage during or shortly after birth. Planning a low intervention birth limits risks to the baby and mother by reducing risks associated with these interventions.
1. Consider requesting an oral dose rather than an injection.
This eliminates the overdose and lessens the risk of hemorrhage and jaundice, as well as the pain of the injection and exposure to harmful preservatives. Also, the Vit K is absorbed through the gut, as it was intended to be. While this may seem like an easy solution, be sure to discuss this option first with your care provider. Since hospitals are accustomed to standard operating procedure, it can be difficult for them to correctly determine the oral dosage for your infant.
Some hospital pharmacies may not stock oral Vitamin K. In this situation, you may wish to refuse the injection and administer the oral dose yourself. Oral vitamin K can be purchased online here and this is an oral dosing protocol you may wish to follow.
2. Nurse immediately after the birth with no supplementation given.
3. During the last few weeks of pregnancy, load your diet with foods rich in Vit K.
While this hasn’t been shown to improve newborn vitamin K levels, it has been shown to increase the amount of Vit K in breastmilk.
By following these simple solutions, you can receive the benefits of an accurate newborn vitamin K dose while avoiding all the negatives of an injection.
Puckett RM, Offringa M. Prophylactic vitamin K for vitamin K deficiency bleeding in neonates. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews2000, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD002776. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD002776.
Hey, E. Vitamin K–what, why, and when. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2003 Mar;88(2):F80-3.
Vitamin K prophylaxis to prevent neonatal vitamin K deficient intracranial haemorrhage in Shizuoka prefecture. Nishiguchi T, Saga K, Sumimoto K, Okada K, Terao T Br J Obstet Gynaecol 1996 Nov;103(11):1078-1084.
Plasma concentrations after oral or intramuscular vitamin K1 in neonates. McNinch AW, Upton C, Samuels M, Shearer MJ, McCarthy P, Tripp JH, L’E Orme R. Arch Dis Child. 1985 Sep;60(9):814-8.[Effect of oral and intramuscular vitamin K on the factors II, VII, IX, X, and PIVKA II in the infant newborn under 60 days of age] [Article in Spanish] Arteaga-Vizcaino M, Espinoza Holguin M, Torres Guerra E, Diez-Ewald M, Quintero J, Vizcaino G, Estevez J, Fernandez N. Rev Med Chil. 2001 Oct;129(10):1121-9.
Delayed cord clamping in very preterm infants reduces the incidence of intraventricular hemorrhage and late-onset sepsis: a randomized, controlled trial. Mercer JS, Vohr BR, McGrath MM, Padbury JF, Wallach M, Oh W. Pediatrics. 2006 Apr;117(4):1235-42.[Vitamin K 1 concentration and vitamin K-dependent clotting factors in newborn infants after intramuscular and oral administration of vitamin K 1] [Article in Hungarian] Goldschmidt B, Kisrakoi C, Teglas E, Verbenyi M, Kovacs I. Orv Hetil. 1990 Jun 17;131(24):1297-300.
Vitamin K – An Alternative Perspective. Midwife Sara Wickham provides a much-needed update on vitamin K prophylaxis. AIMS Journal, Summer 2001, Vol 13 No 2
Fom the trauma inflicted on a newborn of getting the shot, the amount of Vitamin K injected into newborns is 20,000 times the needed dose. The injection also contains a preservative, Benzyl alcohol, that can be especially toxic on your baby’s delicate, young immune system.
A parent has to keep asking themselves, ‘Is this procedure really necessary?’ The answer is typically no. Natural health awareness requires a paradigm shift away from the limits of western medicine, a re-education toward self sufficiency. Trusting in nature’s storehouse of resources, understanding the proportional requirements which best serve the body; the learning curve toward such know-how takes a lot more convincing, especially given mainstream Industry propaganda.
‘Babies who have been identified as being at risk for vitamin K deficiency include those born to mothers who took drugs or antibiotics during pregnancy, premature babies and babies who are born cesarean. Mothers who had maternity diets low in high vitamin K foods or had diets that were low in fat have also been identified as being more likely to bear vitamin K deficient babies.’
I’ve encountered parents who claim their children are vaccine-free but for the Vitamin K shot. Such is another clear misconception parents have to begin addressing. This shot has its own inherent risks which place it in a similar category to all other early shots given to babies. Just say, “No thank you!”
Try to always find the optimal organic source which contains the given Vitamin in it’s natural form, and ensure that it is pure, without derivatives or chemical and/or synthetic additives. As an example Kale contains the optimal balance of Vitamins A, C, E & K – a powerhouse of antioxidants. In the case of your baby you can puree the vegetable enough to ensure it is palatable. If you have no alternative then choose a supplement that is proven to be 100% natural & organic; but again natural is superior.
Additionally the mother’s placenta & breast milk (Colostrum) are inextricably linked, providing a baby’s primary initial source of nourishment through the long journey of formation in utero; while supplying the basic building blocks of life necessary to guarantee a safe transition into early childhood development. Mothers to be are advised to store up on phytonutrients while your baby is in utero. Continue nourishing the immune system especially during the 1st year after your child is born. Remember mothers, you share the same immunity with your baby during the in the utero phase!
Phytonutrients work as antioxidants to disarm free radicals before they can damage DNA and cell membranes. Recent research indicates that the phytonutrients in vegetables like kale work at a much deeper level, signaling our genes to increase production of enzymes involved in detoxification, the cleansing process by which the body eliminates harmful compounds.
Kale is a rich source of organosulfur compounds, which have been shown to reduce the risk of many cancers, especially one of the most deadly forms, colon cancer; due to their unique role in blocking the growth of cancer cells and inducing cancer cell death (apoptosis). Organosulfur compounds known as glucosinolates are present in the cruciferous vegetables of the Brassica genus. These compounds are broken down into potent anticancer compounds called isothiocyanates in the body, which are powerful inducers of cancer-destroying enzymes & inhibitors of carcinogenesis.
‘The body does not readily utilise synthetic vitamins and minerals. The vitamin K administered by hospitals to newborns is the synthetic phytonadione. The natural forms of vitamin K that are found in many foods, particularly in vegetables such as collard greens, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, brussels sprouts and salad greens, are a different form – they are called phylloquinone or menaquinone. Certain bacteria in the intestinal tract also produce menaquinones.
Apart from its synthetic nature, it is based on plant Vitamin K and injected. The body utilises vitamins and minerals that are found in plants and creates the human form it needs, but this is after they go through the digestion process, which obviously does not occur with injections.’
“The Vitamin K shot has been linked to leukaemia, including acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, which is characterized by an increased number of white corpuscles in the blood, and accounts for about 85 percent of childhood leukaemia. Research carried out by Dr. Louise Parker, of the Sir James Spence Institute of Child Health in Newcastle upon Tyne, produced the most startling results. Dr. Louise Parker was quoted in the British Medical Journal in 1998 as stating, “It is not possible, on the basis of currently published evidence, to refute the suggestion that neonatal IM vitamin K administration increases the risk of early childhood leukemia.”
Vitamin K Vaccine: Package Insert – http://web.archive.org/web/20070213093306/http://www.fda.gov/medwatch/SAFETY/2003/03Feb_PI/AquaMEPHYTON_PI.pdf
AquaMEPHYTON injection is a yellow, sterile, aqueous colloidal solution of vitamin K1, with a pH of 5.0 to 7.0, available for injection by the intravenous, intramuscular, and subcutaneous routes. Each milliliter contains:
Phytonadione: 2 mg or 10 mg
Polyoxyethylated fatty acid derivative : 70 mg
Dextrose: 37.5 mg
Water for Injection, q.s: 1 mL
Added as preservative: Benzyl alcohol: 0.9%
‘Benzyl alcohol is used as a preservative. The problem with this compound is that young children cannot metabolise benzyl alcohol into hippuric acid using benzoic acid, which can result in an accumulation of chiefly benzoic acid. The side effects that have been described as a result of this substance accumulating in the central nervous system include metabolic acidosis, vasodilation, paralysis, epileptic seizures, respiratory depression and death.’
The European Directive “Excipients in the Label and Package leaflet of Medicinal Products for Human Use”, http://www.ema.europa.eu/docs/en_GB/document_library/Scientific_guideline/2009/09/WC500003412.pdf states the following with respect to the parenteral use of benzyl alcohol:
Exposure to less than 90 mg/kg/day:
“Must not be given to premature babies or neonates. May cause toxic reactions and allergic reactions in infants and children up to 3 years old.”
Exposure to more than 90 mg/kg/day:
“Must not be given to premature babies or neonates. due to the risk of fatal toxic reactions arising from exposure to benzyl alcohol in excess of 90 mg/kg/day, this product should not be used in infants and children up to 3 years old.”
Dr. Cees Vermeer PhD interviewed by Dr. Joseph Mercola
Read more: http://vaccineresistancemovement.org/?p=6547