It has been standard practice in the US and most western countries since 1944 to welcome babies into the world by subjecting them to a variety of medical interventions, one of which is a jab with a syringe full of vitamin K. This injection is routinely done to almost all newborns, unless you, as a parent, refuse to consent.
Birth is an overwhelming sensory experience for your baby. He has never before experienced sensations of cold or hunger, been blinded by artificial lights, or felt the touch of human hands or metal instruments, paper or cloth. Even gravity is a foreign sensation.
A needle stick can be a terrible assault to a baby’s suddenly overloaded sensory system, which is trying to adjust to the outside world.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing the foremost expert in the world on vitamin K, Dr. Cees Vermeer, PhD, Associate Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Maastricht (in The Netherlands). I am thrilled to be able to share with you some of the latest information about vitamin K that he shared with me.
While this injection itself may be inappropriate for reasons I will cover in detail, vitamin K is absolutely necessary for your newborn. However, there are safer and non-invasive ways to normalize your baby’s vitamin K levels that don’t require a potentially damaging injection.
Why Is This Shot Given in the First Place?
Vitamin K is necessary for normal blood clotting in adults and children. Some babies (in fact, most of them) are born with insufficient vitamin K levels.
In some newborns, this deficiency can lead to a serious bleeding disorder, typically in the first week of life, called Hemorrhagic Disease of the Newborn (HDN). Internal bleeding occurs in the brain and other organs, leading to serious injury or potentially even death.
While this disease is rare (incidence of 0.25 percent to 1.7 percent), it has been standard practice to give injections of vitamin K as a preventative measure to all infants, whether or not risk factors are present.
Your newborn can be at increased risk for HDN if any of the following are present:
Low birth weight
A forceps or vacuum extraction delivery
Mother’s use of antibiotics, anticoagulants, anticonvulsants, and some other medications during pregnancy
Undetected liver disease
Extremely fast, or extremely prolonged labor, particularly during the pushing phase
Delivery by C-section
Unfortunately, the current standard of care regarding Hemorrhagic Disease of the Newborn and vitamin K was put into practice without adequate research to determine what was best for newborns. These shotgun approaches were certainly convenient for the physicians but lacked any sort of consideration of potential side effects for the baby.
Increased rates of circumcision immediately after birth, before infants can develop their vitamin K levels naturally, has contributed to making vitamin K injections routine, to lower the risk for increased bleeding from these early circumcisions.
As pointed out by one reader, it is interesting to note that a newborn’s natural prothrombin levels reach normal levels between days 5 and 7, peaking around the eighth day of life, related to the buildup of bacteria in baby’s digestive tract to produce the vitamin K that is necessary to form this clotting factor. Day 8 is said to be the only time in a baby’s life when his prothrombin level will naturally exceed 100 percent of normal.
As it turns out, Genesis 17:12 of the Bible mandates the circumcision of infant boys on the eighth day after birth—a recommendation pronounced long before we had the science to back it up.
As far as I know, only one state has a law mandating vitamin K injections—New York State, which is notorious for restricting and preventing exemptions to vaccinations and other mandated medical treatments for children.
You can find specific instructions about how to opt out of injection (and obtain oral vitamin K for your newborn), for New Yorkers and residents of other states, at Vaccine Liberation Organization, which has a page specific to New Yorkers who wish to avoid the Hepatitis B shot, vitamin K injections, or the application of silver nitrate into your newborn’s eyes.
The Dangers of the Shot They Don’t Warn You About
There are three primary areas of risk associated with these injections:
- Among the most significant is inflicting pain immediately after birth which has the potential to cause psycho-emotional damage and trauma to a newborn.
- The amount of vitamin K injected into newborns is 20,000 times the needed dose. Additionally, the injection may also contain preservatives that can be toxic for your baby’s delicate, young immune system.
- An injection creates an additional opportunity for infection in an environment that contains some of the most dangerous germs, at a time when your baby’s immune system is still immature.