Valerie Gommon Midwife’s Blog

Vitamin K

Posted on: January 29, 2009

The Department of Health recommends that all newborn babies be
given a Vitamin K supplement at birth. Approximately 1:10,000
babies may have a rare condition known as haemorrhagic disease
of the newborn, a condition whereby the baby may have
spontaneous internal bleeding. Vitamin K is used in the blood
clotting mechanism.

Vitamin K is available by injection or orally and you should decide
whether or not you wish your baby to receive Vitamin K, and if you
do in what form. The booklet “Vitamin K and the Newborn”
produced by AIMS (www.aims.org.uk) provides a detailed
discussion of the subject.

Babies at higher risk of haemorrhagic disease (Vitamin K
Deficiency Bleeding):

  • premature
  • complicated birth e.g. forceps/ventouse/caesarean section
  • have liver disease that may show as prolonged jaundice or have pale stools or dark urine
  • fail to take or find it hard to absorb feeds
  • are ill for other reasons
  • have bleeding or spontaneous bruising in early infancy

It may be helpful to increase Vitamin K in your diet from 36 weeks.
It is also important that from birth, until a year old if you notice
bleeding or bruising which is unexplained that you get this
investigated as a matter of urgency as it could be an indication of
haemorrhagic disease.

Foods containing Vitamin K include:

Yoghurt, alfalfa, egg yolk, soya oil, fish liver oils, wholegrain
cereals, cauliflower, turnips, green leafy vegetables, broccoli,
cabbage, lettuce, green tea and kelp.

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