Vitamin K helps blood to clot in your body.
Babies have been found to have low stores of vitamin K in their body which are thought to be used up in the first few days of their life.
On rare occurrences, this may lead to severe bleeding which is a condition that is known as Vitamin K deficiency bleeding. Because of this the Government recommends that all newborn babies are offered Vitamin K.
The Vitamin K can be given as an injection into your babies thigh or by oral drops which are given in three doses - normally at birth, at one week and then at one month).
It is important to remember that the decision is yours as to whether or not your baby has the injection, drops or neither.
Premature babies are at more risk of developing Vitamin K deficiency bleeding as are babies who have a ventouse, kiwi or forceps delivery which commonly causes bruising to your babies head. Babies whose mothers have taken medication in particular for epilepsy are also more at risk of having babies that develop Vitamin K deficiency bleeding.
Nobody likes watching their new born baby have an injection but babies may not like the taste of the Oral Drops therefore they may not take all of the drops. The injection gives more effective protection than the drops in the early days of life.
If you are breastfeeding, you may be able to increase your levels of Vitamin K by making changes to your diet. It is found in Liver, Cows milk and olive oil for example.
If you are in doubt about what to option to take then you should discuss it with your midwife as she is the best person to advise you.
by Kathryn Crawford