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Newborn Babies and Vitamin K

Submitted by Stella Morgan on July 27, 2007

Newborn babies and vitamin K hold a strong relationship, as it is essential for coagulation of blood. The gut micro flora helps in vitamin K contribution, apart from the diet, in the case of adults. Brain hemorrhage and stroke are common, due to deficiency of vitamin K. Bleeding continues, due to the inefficient clotting mechanism. At birth, the quantity of vitamin K is less.

It does not have the capacity to diffuse through the placenta, to the fetus. Infantile gut is devoid of micro flora, thereby not producing vitamin K.

Vitamin K content of breast milk is less and the requirement is met, post production in the gut.

Artificial feed have added vitamin K, though the levels are low in infants, which is replenished within a few days. Vitamin K is essential for the enzymes that regulate blood coagulation and for preventing oxidative damage. Vitamin K foods are carrots, green peas, brussels sprouts, spinach, beans, mustard greens, kale, Swiss chard, broccoli and asparagus.

Proteins necessary for blood clotting reduces, due to the absence or deficiency of clotting cascade.

Severe bleeding of the brain is seen in infants, due to the decreased vitamin K levels. This condition is referred to as hemorrhagic disease of the newborn (HDN), which results in considerable damage to the nervous system. It is a rare disease, which is life-threatening.

Premature babies, complications in delivery (forceps or breech), children suffering from hepatic problems and usage of anticonvulsants during pregnancy are some of the causative factors provoking this disorder.

Slight nasal and oral bleeding might arise before sever bleeding. New born babies are injected with vitamin K, after prior consent from the parents and this condition can be prevented. It is a safe technique and most preferred one, in comparison to vitamin K drops. Area of injection is sore for a day and generally does not occur in all injected infants. Making a note of the administered vitamin K injection in the health record is helpful and beneficial for further usage.
It is safe and cost effective and used widely, throughout the world.

Concerns regarding initial injection, gave rise to the concept of vitamin K in an oral manner. The primary dose is given during delivery. The second dosage follows after 7 days of birth and the third one, by the end of the first month (28 days). Non-compliance with the course might create complications. Recent oral formula derived is as effective as the single injection.
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