Vitamin K Shots at Birth: Does Baby Really Need One?

Christine Coppa

Flickr photo by Leicesteographer
If you decide to vaccinate your child, the shots start pronto -- as in right after you give birth! According to Randall Neustaedter (a homeopath, licensed acupuncturist and doctor of Chinese medicine, specializing in child health care), "A vitamin K injection is routinely administered to all newborns to prevent unexpected bleeding caused by low levels of vitamin K-dependent blood-clotting factors." 

Approximately 1 in 10,000 babies suffers from hemorrhagic disease that occurs from weeks 2 to 12 of life. Studies have shown that a single injection or oral dose of vitamin K at birth improves the blood's ability to clot for up to three months following birth.

Some moms may be quick to tell their OB/GYN that they're vitamin K-savvy and ate lots of green leafy veggies and salads dressed in oil and included dairy products in most meals (all contain the vitamin), but Neaustaedter says ...

"Eating vitamin K-rich foods or taking supplements during pregnancy does not ensure prevention of vitamin K deficiency in newborns."

But this doesn't mean mom is off the hook, either: "Mothers should eat foods with high vitamin K content during pregnancy because vitamin K is transferred to the fetus across the placenta. Pregnant women can also take alfalfa tablets during pregnancy, a good source of vitamin K."

I definitely got my daily dose of vitamin K -- I craved salad (spinach salad with green apples and shaved Parmesan was a favorite. I drizzled oil and squeezed whole lemons on top -- yum!).

What types of vitamin K-rich foods did you eat? Did your baby get a vitamin K shot?

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