Vitamin K – an important shot
Did you know that for a few days after they are born, newborns lack the ability to make vitamin K, a substance needed for blood clotting? (I certainly didn’t when my children were born.) That’s why they get a shot of it within the first hours after delivery.
Healthy bacteria in the intestines make vitamin K. When a baby is born, his intestinal tract is sterile until normal, healthy bacteria have a chance to take up residence. It takes a while for them to start producing, so receiving a shot of vitamin K immediately helps the blood to coagulate. This assists in protecting against possible abnormal bleeding in the body, including the brain. Some parents want their baby to have very few injections and you should know that vitamin K can be delivered to an infant orally. BUT this method takes multiple doses over the course of several weeks, is not always well absorbed and usually is not recommended by health care providers. Strict adherence to the schedule of follow-up dosages is vital to ensuring complete vitamin K delivery.
For those of you who are having a boy and plan to have him circumcised, it is important that he receive the vitamin K shot while in the hospital. Circumcision is a surgical procedure and you’ll want to make sure all blood clotting factors are in place before proceeding.