Should You Allow Your Baby to Have the Vitamin K Shot?
You stare lovingly into your baby’s eyes from the hospital bed, memorizing her every feature. You are oblivious to the nurses and other medical personnel that swarm her, checking her over and listening to her little heart with a tiny stethoscope.
Until that is, one of that jabs her with a needle in the thigh and her little face crumbles into a heart-breaking cry.
You rack for your brain to remember what that shot is for. Did your doctor mention it? Did the nurses tell you they were going to do it? What is that shot they just gave your baby?
It’s a shot of Vitamin K. And it just may save your baby’s life.
Because some newborn babies are born without blood-clotting properties, newborn babies are routinely given a shot of liquid Vitamin K within the first few minutes after life to help their blood have the ability to clot. Without that life-saving ability to clot, babies can have complications, which can include death. In 2011, a baby died from complications caused by bleeding after her parents refused the Vitamin K shot.
As a nurse, I often see parents who are concerned about the risk of vaccinating their babies and many of them refuse to have their newborn receive the Hepatitis B vaccine, the first of a series of childhood vaccinations that is routinely given in the hospital. It’s important to note, however, that the Vitamin K shot is not a vaccine. It’s a one-time dose of the vitamin that we all have in proper levels, later in life. The American Academy of Pediatrics currently recommends that all newborns receive the Vitamin K shot.
Parents do have the right to refuse the Vitamin K shot, but are encouraged to talk to their baby’s health care provider to assess the safety risks involved with Vitamin K.
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Did your newborn receive the Vitamin K shot?