Is a Newborn Deficient in Vitamin K?
Is an Injection of Vitamin K Essential?
In this 4 minute video Dr Suzanne Humphries explains why routine medical procedures recommended for newborns need to be questioned, like early cord clamping and injecting vitamin K. She shares the details of how the newborn has been designed to meet the challenges it faces in the inevitable birth trauma.
The Vitamin K injection has been routinely given in the USA since the 1970s.
“The more I read about vitamin K, the more I can’t believe it is injected into newborn infants. Scientific endeavors have shown me that by and large, nature overall didn’t make mistakes. Until babies are 6 months old they are not having a full coagulation. Babies are programmed to be anti-inflammatory and are also programmed not to have the same coagulation as adults. “ Dr Suzanne Humphries
It is important to understand what medical interventions do at birth. The birth canal is a tight passageway; the baby’s cranium is designed to compact in on itself. There is trauma to baby throughout the body. About 30% of babies will have micro hemorrhages from a normal vaginal delivery.
Early cord clamping happens 90% of the time in the USA. When a cord is clamped early, 40% of the baby’s blood remains in the cord. This not only deprives the baby of this vital resource of blood, but it also deprives baby of the life building stem cells which are in the cord blood and have the potential to go in and clear up the brain hemorrhages and provide cell building potential elsewhere in the body. Stem cells can travel through the blood system and repair and rebuild cells – an incredible design feature of the human body.
Injecting vitamin K causes the blood to thicken. If you thicken the blood 1000 – 2000 times more than its natural newborn state, how will that impact the stem cells and their ability to go in and clear and repair cellular damages which naturally result from birth?
The original concern prompting a policy of routine administration of Vitamin K for all infants in the 1970s was intended to protect the vastly small percentage of children who might develop an inter-cranial hemorrhage that can be problematic.
It is important for parents to understand the full spectrum of information regarding vitamin K, early cord clamping, and the infants need of stem cells before accepting this routine medical intervention. No matter what decision you make, it is always a good idea for mom to consume lots of greens which contain vitamin K.
Dr Humphries’ Conclusion: “Parents need to investigate for themselves. If you do decide you need to give vitamin K, I would suggest only giving the drops.”
Interesting points about Vitamin K at birth by a thinking physician who remains anonymous:
“You know what“ synthetic vitamin K” enthusiasts don’t understand? The thought that babies (and all animals for that matter) have lower levels of vitamin K at birth for a beneficial, protective, reason. I’m just going to throw these “common sense-based” thoughts out there but let’s consider them:
and BTW this goes for vitamin K drops as well as the shot.
First, in order to absorb vitamin K we have to have a functioning biliary and pancreas system. Your infant’s digestive system isn’t fully developed at birth which is why we give babies breast milk (and delay solids) until they are at least 6-months-old, and why breast milk only contains a small amount of highly absorbable vitamin K. Too much vitamin K could tax the liver and cause brain damage (among other things). As baby ages and the digestive tract, mucosal lining, gut flora, and enzyme functions develop, baby can process more vitamin K. Low levels of vitamin K at birth just…makes…sense. ???
Secondly, cord blood contains stem cells, which protect a baby against bleeding and perform all sorts of needed repairs inside an infant’s body. Here’s the kicker, in order for a baby to get this protective boost of stem cells, cord-cutting needs to be delayed and the blood needs to remain thin so stem cells can easily travel and perform their functions. Imagine that, baby has his/her own protective mechanism to prevent bleeding and repair organs…this important function of stem cells was only discovered after the routine or giving infants vitamin K injections was well entrenched.
Third, a newborn might have low levels of vitamin K because its intestines are not yet colonized with bacteria needed to synthesize it and the “vitamin K cycle” isn’t fully functional in newborns. Does it makes sense then to bypass the gut and inject vitamin K right into the muscle? Except baby’s kidneys aren’t fully functional either. ..???
Fourth, babies are born with low levels of vitamin K compared to adults, but this level is still sufficient to prevent problems; vitamin K prophylaxis isn’t necessarily needed.
Finally, several clinical observations support the hypothesis that children have natural protective mechanisms that justify their low vitamin K levels at birth. I don’t know about you, but we should probably figure out why that is before we ‘inject now and worry about it later.’
Do you know why vitamin K is pushed on parents and their children? Because pharmaceutical companies don’t like to lose money, doctors don’t like to be questioned, the American Academy of Pediatrics dare not change its recommendations.
Since 1985, the medical profession has known that oral vitamin K raises blood levels 300 – 9,000 times higher. The injectable vitamin K, results in vitamin K levels thousands of times thicker than adult blood levels.
When baby’s blood is thickened with vitamin K stem cells have to move through sludge, not nicely greased blood vessels full of blood which can allow stem cells easy access to anywhere. Maybe one day it will dawn on the medical profession that not only are cord blood stem cells important and useful to the newborn baby, but that stem cells need to travel through thin blood for a reason.”
Any fetus which experiences being wrung out like a wet towel while traveling down a narrow drain pipe, can incur damage in any part of the body, including the brain, and needs an in-built fix-it. We now realize that stem cells cross the brain blood barrier, in fact, stem cells can go … anywhere!!! Amazing don’t you think? God’s design has solutions for situational problems. Three solutions, actually. The second is the fact that naturally, in the first few days, a baby’s blood clotting factors are lower than normal.
But … pediatricians consider this a … “defect” … so they want to give vitamin K which results in blood thousands of times thicker than an adult. This vitamin K injection, so they say … (like they say immediate cord clamping is safe, and normal, and delayed cord clamping is an unproven intervention) … is because the baby wasn’t designed right, and if you don’t give a vitamin K injection, the baby “could bleed to death”.
It’s not for nothing that the vitamin K syringe, sits right alongside that cord clamp and the scissors!
But there is an unanswered question: “Why are blood clotting factors in babies low in the first few days after birth? Why has a baby got much thinner blood as a result?”
Might a logical hypothesis be that thinner blood allows freer and quicker access of cord blood stem cells to any part of the body damaged during birth? After all, why should stem cells have to fight through a baby’s blood which is now thousands of times thicker than any adult’s, courtesy of another needle?”
For further reading, I have compiled more Vitamin K resources and links.
Megan Heimer, who blogs at LivingWhole.org has insight on how baby benefits from having low levels of vitamin K at birth.
Finally, a comprehensive analysis of the Vitamin K debate :
Vitamin K is found in leafy green veggies, mother’s colostrum, fermented foods, organic grass fed meats, aged (raw) cheese, egg yolks, and is made in our gut via E-coli. Vitamin K is necessary for blood clotting. Most babies cannot clot blood until about day #8, therefore conventional medical thought assumes they have insufficient Vitamin K. However, this is the way human bodies have functioned since the beginning of time. Hemorrhaging in a newborn after a normal birth is extremely rare. Plus, the lack of Vitamin K is supposed to be supplied by mother to baby via breast milk. This is the NATURAL way to fill that void.
Colostrum has been shown to contain higher levels of Vitamin K thus early and frequent breast-feeding is highly recommended.
Now let’s talk about what is given to babies at the hospital. The Vitamin K given at the hospital is synthetic vitamin K, also known as “phytonadione”. Synthetic anything is bad news because it’s difficult for the body to recognize and properly process. The dose given to your beautiful fresh baby is 20,000 times the amount needed. TWENTY THOUSAND TIMES more than what is needed. Introducing this amount to the underdeveloped immune system is DANGEROUS. The shot contains preservatives and toxins that are extremely harmful to the delicate and new immune system and it directly enters the bloodstream without being filtered through the liver. Additionally, anything that punctures the skin may lead to infection. The Vitamin K shot is fairly new, for centuries we functioned without it. Some scientists have suggest there may be a link between the synthetic vitamin K shot and childhood Leukemia.
I cannot tell you what to do with your precious infant, but my personal stance is that the cons outweigh any good. As a Lactation Counselor and Breastfeeding Advocate, my advice is that you nurse your baby and eat foods naturally rich in Vitamin K both before and after delivery.
If you choose NOT to give a vitamin K shot to your baby, be prepared to be made to feel guilty and awful for not doing so. A vitamin K shot is routine in all hospitals, and many midwives, even those who do home births, continue to push the vitamin K shot. Often they provide a “Fact Sheet” on why it is needed, and try to brush off all concerns regarding the safety of this shot, as “just internet myths”.
Know your facts and be ready to defend yourself. Beware of “Fact Sheets” which push a superior attitude and extol the benefits, while ignoring the role of vitamin K, stem cells, and the role of the gut in production of vitamin K. In general these “Fact Sheets” are designed to create fear and force conformity to medically recommended procedures, not educate. Rarely will the true issues and concerns regarding the vitamin K shot be explained, i.e. synthetic injections of thousands of times more than needed, increased jaundice, blood coagulation, and stem cells. Focus on learning the benefits of thin blood and stem cells – the design is there for a reason. Find a pediatrician who will respect your decision and will be ready and available to sign your newborn’s release form upon leaving the hospital. State your desire clearly in your birth plan, in plain English.
Be prepared to protect your baby in the hospital by never allowing baby out of your sight, preferably not out of your arms. I suggest having one person (not the mother) assigned the role of “baby body guard” (BBG) to stay with baby for whatever ‘procedure’ the hospital staff might suggest they need to ‘take baby to the nursery for.’ It is imperative that the BBG be a very nice and respectful, yet extremely strong person. Hospital staff have been known to attempt many different tactics in order to give medical treatments to babies against the parents wishes. Mother may not be able to provide the protection her baby needs immediately after giving birth.
I highly recommend this article by mommypotamus which describes vitamin K, its role in coagulation, and how to make sure you and baby have safe levels of this essential nutrient.
Parenting forces us to make many difficult decisions. My goal is to provide information that will help you navigate critical parenting decisions with confidence.
Becky Hastings, Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Passionate follower of Jesus, seeker of health and truth. Facing a world quite different from the one in which I grew up, I seek to research and understand the very real dangers threatening the health and freedom of today’s parents, providing information to navigate towards joyful family living!
 Source: Puckett RM, Offering M. Prophylactic vitamin K for vitamin K deficiency bleeding in neonates. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2000, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD002776. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD002776.
 Pediatric Research (1987) 22, 513–517; Vitamin K1 Content of Maternal Milk: Influence of the Stage of Lactation, Lipid Composition, and Vitamin K1Supplements Given to the Mother. R v Kries, M Shearer, P T McCarthy, M Haug, G Harzer and U Göbel, http://www.nature.com/pr/journal/v22/n5/full/pr19871588a.html
 The British Journal of Cancer published “Factors associated with childhood cancer” by J. Golding, et al, in 1990. The report indicated that universally administered IM vitamin K injections significantly increase our children’s chances of developing childhood cancer. A
follow-up study published two years later in the British Medical Journal (Golding J, Paterson K, Greenwood R, Mott M. Intramuscular vitamin K and childhood cancer. BMJ 1992; 305:341-346) reinforced the findings of the previous study. The authors’ comments, in keeping with scientific style, are conservatively stated, but parents who are concerned about the health of their babies will read “danger” between the following lines: “The only two studies so far to have examined the relation between childhood cancer and intramuscular vitamin K have shown similar results and the relation is biologically plausible. The prophylactic benefits against haemorrhagic disease are unlikely to exceed the potential adverse effects from intramuscular vitamin K…”