The Vitamin K injection and your baby!
When you're expecting, there are so many decisions to make am I right? Of course you want to make the best choices for you and your baby during pregnancy and into the postpartum period, from which car seat is safest, bottle or breastfeeding, to wondering if your newborn should be getting these new baby shots, and so many things in between. Whether this is your first pregnancy, 2nd or 3rd etc, there is always new research coming up, and something you may not have taken into consideration a couple of years ago, could make the "to research further" list this time around.
As your Doula, I do not bring my own opinions to your family. I do not recommend or disagree with decisions, or parenting styles. I think there are so many ways out there to parent, that what expecting and new families truly need is someone that passes no judgment and truly makes you feel like you are in a safe space when trying to discuss and make decisions that best fit YOU. My mission is to encourage you, with my help, to look at research, look at evidence based studies, trust your intuition, talk to your OB/Midwife, and talk to baby's pediatrician. You should have a doctor for you and your baby that you trust and are comfortable opening up to with any medical concerns and questions you have. Doctors are human and as we all know, as humans, not everyone vibes with every type of personality, so making sure you have a provider that you feel in sync with and that seems to be on the same page with your beliefs is very important.
So what about this Vitamin K shot? When baby is born you will or will not give consent for them to receive a Hep B vaccine, Vitamin K shot and eye ointment. Today, we're just going to talk about Vitamin K. When your son or daughter is born they will be low on Vitamin K and that leaves the potential for life threatening bleeding. It has been found that delaying cord clamping, although wonderful for other reasons, does not provide this vitamin, there has been very little amounts found in cord blood, and not enough to make up for what baby is lacking. There are many families out there not consenting to this injection and I wanted to dig deeper and find some studies that have been done and to talk about what helps you decide what is best for your baby, because after all, only you can decide this.
In terms of Evidence Based Birth, which I will leave the link to, our bodies cannot make Vitamin K itself. K1 comes from some foods such as leafy greens, bananas and avocados. K2 comes from bacteria in our intestines, which babies have not built up yet. Our bodies can clot with low Vitamin K, but it can get to a point of too low and become dangerous. If an infant starts bleeding due to low Vit K, the treatment would be the injection which should stop the bleeding in 20-30 minutes.
Studies have been done on breastfed babies and Vitamin K and breastmilk and colostrum contain only tiny amounts of Vitamin K. There is no evidence, that if mom eats a diet rich in this vitamin during pregnancy it will prevent infant bleeding from low Vit K. Formula fed babies, do get Vitamin K from feeding due to it being added in formula. Almost all cases of infant bleeding from low Vitamin K are breastfed babies.
The alternative to the Vitamin K injection is oral drops, usually taken in 3 doses and is said to lower the chance of VKDB (Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding) but not as well as the injection. This information is from https://evidencebasedbirth.com/evidence-for-the-vitamin-k-shot-in-newborns/ and the article here goes into a lot of detail. The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) also recommends that all newborns receive the injection. Their article is here https://publications.aap.org/pediatrics/article/149/3/e2021056036/184866/Vitamin-K-and-the-Newborn-Infant?autologincheck=redirected
We have evidence based studies, but we also have our own intuition and there is just so much more research out there than we can possibly imagine, and it's all there for us to delve into, to help us make this decision. Let's look into some of the reasons why some families are saying "No thanks" to this Vitamin K injection. Here's a big one. "If all babies are born with low levels of Vitamin K, is this not their design? Is this not the way things are made to be for a reason? And although there is of course nothing to confirm this, we have to wonder if there really is a reason why this is the way it is when we're born. People used to think that the injection could cause Leukemia, cancer, and that it could contain toxins. Studies do say no to all of these accusations. What we do know is that there were preservatives in these injections and now you can make sure you are getting one without. Benzyl alcohol is the preservative in question here. There is also the question of " Is this Vitamin dose too high?" Studies say no but many still aren't sure about that. Many families are finding all of this info to be risky and are declining this injection. A good way to go if you're a strong no on the injection could be the Vitamin K drops. This is taken orally over the span of 3 doses.
It is up to you and and your partner to make this decision for your new baby and I, as your doula fully support whatever you decide is best. As a society and especially with social media as big as it is now, with it's "be judged if you do, judged if you don't" way of working, you will always get negative feedback somewhere along the way. That sounds terrible, doesn't it? There are so many opinions and ways of life out there that how can one way possibly be right for everyone. How can what worked for Sally down the street be best for your family or your sister's family.... It might be, if you have the same values and did the same research and have the same thoughts over it. But it might not, and that is more than likely to happen and that is absolutely ok. I am here to support your family and help you stand by your values and beliefs.