The Department of Health recommends all new-born babies are given a Vitamin K supplement at birth. This is to avoid the rare but serious (and sometimes fatal) disorder 'vitamin K deficiency bleeding (VKDB)'.
If it will help, discuss this with your doctor, midwife or health visitor.
Vitamin K for babies: Why?
Very rarely, a newborn baby may start to bleed for no reason. The baby may start to bleed inside, so it is not possible to see the bleeding. This is bad for the baby’s health and might even cause the baby to die.
If babies are given vitamin K shortly after they are born, this very small risk that they might start bleeding is taken away. This is why the Department of Health recommends all new babies have vitamin K.
These pages explain more about how vitamin K can help your baby, and what you can do to help.
There are more things you should know about vitamin K, so you may wish to print this page and talk through it with your doctor, midwife or health visitor.
What do I need to do and when do I need to start thinking about this?
Vitamin K supplements are given straight after birth, so during the pregnancy/antenatal period you will need to consider:
Whether or not you would like vitamin K to be given to your baby
If you do, whether it is given by mouth or by injection
These pages will help you do just that.
The Department of Health recommends all babies are given a vitamin K supplement at birth. However, it is entirely your decision whether your baby receives extra vitamin K and, if so, how this is given.
We hope the information provided here will help you make your choice.
It tells you what vitamin K deficiency bleeding is, discusses the benefits of vitamin K supplement and possible disadvantages of its use, and gives the best current advice.
Of course, there’s no substitute for talking the issues through with your midwife, health visitor or doctor.