Childbirth / Motherhood

Why It Happened: The Truth About Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding

Go here for Olive’s story: Part 1 and Part 2

This may be the hardest part of Olive’s story that I will write. The part where I admit that what happened to her was nearly 100% preventable. And yet it happened.

It happened because she didn’t receive her dose of Vitamin K when she was born.

I spent the first few days that she was in the hospital blaming myself. I ran through the situation in my mind, trying to understand why I would say “No” to something that would keep my daughter from being in this much pain. In Olive’s situation, unfortunately, it was largely accidental. That didn’t stop me from feeling guilty, however, and only recently did I accept that although this happened to Olive, it doesn’t have to happen to another person’s baby.

As you may know, Olive was born in a birth center. I loved the experience that I had there and to this day, I hold no hard feelings against the wonderful midwives that were present when she was born. A few weeks before her birth, we went over the routine shots that infants are given in the hospital, and decided whether or not Olive would receive them. For most of these I knew my answer, but since I knew nothing about the Vitamin K shot, I decided to do my research and then decide at the birth what I would do.

When I began hemorrhaging after Olive’s birth, the discussion of the shot was completely forgotten, and she ended up not getting it. After all, things that are deemed to be optional are probably not essential – right?

As it turns out, the Vitamin K shot should not be optional.

Here are the facts (from the CDC’s website):

In 1961, the administration of the Vitamin K shot became standard routine in hospitals throughout the United States. This has been a largely accepted practice until recently, with the increase in parents denying vaccinations for their children. What seems to be misunderstood, however, is that Vitamin K is not a vaccination.

When a baby is born, they have a limited amount of Vitamin K in their system, and while some begin to produce it on their own, others struggle with a severe Vitamin K deficiency. If these babies receive a shot of Vitamin K at birth, this isn’t a problem and they will eventually begin to produce the Vitamin K on their own in order to avoid any deficiency bleeding. In a case like Olive’s, however, the severe lack of Vitamin K results in an inability to clot, which can cause deadly bleeds in a baby’s brain and gastrointestinal system.

In children that receive the Vitamin K shot at birth, the chance of developing this disease is relatively nonexistent. When the shot is not given, however, the risk of having late stage (from 2 weeks to 2 months old) deficiency bleeding is 81 times greater.

The sad thing is that while it is extremely rare, recent years have seen children suffering from VKBD more and more often. Four cases were reported at a hospital in Tennessee in 2013 – one resulted in severe gastrointestinal bleeding and the other three in severe intracranial bleeding. In the hospital where Olive was treated, there was one other recent, which resulted in the child’s death.

The CDC is beginning to believe that VKBD is, in fact, much more likely than we previously believed. It was just avoided by babies receiving the necessary shot at birth.

So, why are people saying no to the Vitamin K shot?

For some, there is the belief that the shot is correlated with an increased likelihood of leukemia. Although there was a study done in 1992 that determined that this was true, subsequent studies have proved that there is no correlation between Vitamin K and any other cancers.

There is also debate about causing pain to a newborn, by giving them a shot shortly after they are born. All I can say for that is this – the pain that Olive endured from the results of her Vitamin K deficiency are so much more than any pain she would have had as a result of a quick shot at birth.

And although it can be argued that the shot is an unnecessary medical intervention, the number of medical interventions that will occur if your child has a brain bleed when they stop clotting are substantially more significant.

What it comes down to is that giving your child a shot of Vitamin K at birth is a small price to pay, especially when the cost of rejecting the shot can be severe brain injury and death.

I can’t change what happened to Olive, but I can try to prevent it from happening to another baby.

Please share Olive’s story. Please tell the mothers you know about the importance of Vitamin K. Please let them know that the risks of rejecting the shot may not be as rare as they think.

Let’s band together to make sure that people are educated about this issue. I know it won’t change everyone’s minds. I do hope, however, that when someone wants to say “No” they will have seen what could happen to their child – and maybe they’ll think twice.

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76 thoughts on “Why It Happened: The Truth About Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding

  1. Stefani, I’ve had you and your family in my prayers ever since your first post about sweet Olive! I will certainly share your sweet girls story and I pray that the rest of your year is not nearly as eventful as the past month! XOXO

  2. This is really an amazing story girl. What an amazing beautiful baby girl, that Olive. I’m so glad she is doing better and I hope she continues to do so. Thanks for sharing your story….you are so strong!

  3. Reblogged this on Atlanta Mom of Three and commented:
    Important post about the Vitamin K shot given at birth. Includes CDC info and recommendations, why people are saying no to it, and what can sometimes happen if the child doesn’t receive it. Please read!

  4. I am so sorry you and your family have gone through what you have. :( I am sharing this info with my readers. Thanks for posting (even though I know it must have been very hard to). :)

    • Thank you so, so much for sharing this, Valerie. It’s one of those things that was hard to post, but I felt it was so necessary, especially for the safety and health of other babies!

      • You’re very welcome. I spend a lot of time reading and researching birth, and yet I hadn’t come across much of anything about Vitamin K, so I really appreciate you sharing your story!
        I have many readers who are pregnant or ttc so I’m sure the re-blog will be helpful to them. :)

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this. I was literally just talking to a friend about this this morning. I am going through the checklist of what newborn’s receive trying to sort through what is necessary (for us). Thank you. Warm thoughts your way.

  6. Reblogged this on Simple Living and commented:
    Important information to know – I have dealt with bleeding disorders my whole life and know the importance of vitamin k in everyday life, but in childbirth its very, very necessary. – Please share and inform. – {{{hugs}}} Maggie

  7. I’m so sorry about this experience, I hope your baby id doing well and you are all healing. I had homebirths and midwives gave the vit K orally at 1 day 1 week and 1 month (if I remember correctly). Did you come accross this in your reasearch? Do you think this would be a viable option for those not wanting to give the actual injection?

    • I actually have been working with a pediatrician in the hospital where Olive was treated on the subject of Vitamin K, and we talked about the effectiveness of the oral dose. It is becoming more and more popular to give oral Vitamin K instead of the shot – the problem is that the dose needs to be given more than once to be effective. My doctor recommended that it be given daily for a month, but the 1 day/1 week/1 month system may work, depending on the amount of the dose. I’m not sure, though!

    • I think the real problem with the oral does is that people (not saying you personally but people in general) don’t follow through. When you give a shot it’s over and done with. The other portion of this is that Stefani didn’t have a plan before birth, she was waiting to decide and the vitamin K issue was forgotten. This could literally happen to anyone. I hemorrhaged after my birth and I couldn’t remember the date I gave birth on. Had Isla not been given a VK shot this could have very easily happened to her, even if we had planned the oral dosage, because everyone had to focus on getting me well. I don’t know that my DH would have forgotten the VK oral meds but I do know that I was incapable of remembering them.

    • The IM injection is much more effective and lower dose. Most people who do oral vitamin k DON’T go on to have all the necessary oral doses and it also just doesn’t work as well. There’s really no reason to avoid the shot.

  8. Did Olive not receive oral vitamin k either? I am unclear about that—did they forget vitamin k altogether, or just skip the shot?

    Wishing your family the best—I hope the next year is full of joy for you

    • Thank you so much for your well wishes!

      The Vitamin K was overlooked altogether, unfortunately. There is an oral Vitamin K dose that can be received, but that dose needs to be given multiple times to be effective, not just once at the hospital. Olive didn’t receive either, though.

  9. As an ICU RN, it is hard to see families deal with something that could be prevented. I think as we get older we deal with more of these decisions. You were simply trying to be an informed parent but thank you for sharing. We really only try to prevent diseases whose potential for harm are great.

  10. I am so sorry for all that you and Olive have gone through. It is so much more then if a newborn just receives a shot and I know so many parents think, “it will never happen to my baby.” Why take the chance. What is the pain of one shot that they will never remember and they are easily soothed by placing on Mom’s chest as opposed to the long journey they made entering this world. Better to keep them safe and healthy once they get here. Best wishes and prayers for you and your family.

  11. My heart really goes out to you, and I am glad you’re using your voice to share this very important information.

    I have to say I find it unacceptable that your care providers never impressed upon you the importance of Vitamin K, and then seemingly sort of forgot about it. As a lawyer *and* as mother, I would advise you that in my opinion, that constitutes gross negligence.

    • And as an RN, this attitude is what’s wrong with medicine today. Hospitals are now paid in part by patient satisfaction scores. If my patient refuses to consent (giving no legal ground to administer the medication), I’ll make a quick attempt at re-educating, but I’m not going to waste my time and potentially upset the patient trying to outsmart Dr. Google. The patient’s right to refuse is not taken lightly in medicine.

      I can nearly guarantee in this case there would be no grounds for a negligence suit as there would be documentation of refusal for the medication as well as a clause in the consent for treatment that reads along the lines of “The above procedures have been explained to me including risk of complication, injury and death. I fully understand these risks and give my consent for said procedures.” Trust me, at LEAST half of what I chart on a daily basis is never seen by a practitioner and will only ever be utilized under subpoena.

  12. Stefani, I was working the first night that Olive arrived in the PICU. How wonderful it is that Olive is doing well, it makes my heart sing! I thank you for sharing your story. I never want to see another mommy or daddy experience either the grief of a critically ill child or the tragic loss of a beloved baby from something completely preventable. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing! And many blessings of full healing to your sweet girl.

  13. For those considering doing oral vit k instead of the im version, unless you are planning to formula feed, it’s not worth it. The follow up is poor and until your child gets the full dose they may still experience hemorrhagic issues. Formula feeding does offer protection because of the high levels of vitamin k. You can’t emulate that with breastmilk by supplementing your own vitamin k as not much gets into the breastmilk.

    Honestly the risk of the shot is far far far far outweighed by the benefit as this very bravely honest blogger says and shows through her personal tragedy.

  14. I am so glad you are If you had researched Vitamin K, it is very possible you would have gotten bad information anyway. When you Google “Vitamin K shot,” many of the top results discuss Vitamin K shots as unnecessarily dangerous or at least controversial. When women

  15. (Sorry, I hit reply in the middle of editing my comment, please do not post that one)

    I am so glad you are writing about this and bringing awareness even though it is so fresh and painful right now.

    There is so much stuff floating around out there, if you had researched Vitamin K, it is very possible you would have gotten bad information anyway. When you Google “Vitamin K shot,” many of the top results discuss Vitamin K shots as unnecessarily dangerous or at least controversial. When parents are feeling committed to having as natural a birth as possible, it is easy to approach every medical measure with sort of a bias of wanting to avoid it. There are a lot of people who will implicitly trust natural health activists over doctors, so they will only consider Vitamin K if they see stories like yours.

    I am so sorry your family went through all of this. I’m so glad to hear that Olive survived the first surgery. She is a beautiful little girl!

  16. Thank you so much for bravely sharing your tragic story so that hopefully this will not happen to anyone else’s baby.

  17. The birth center made an error. Educating parents/potential parents about preventative measures like the Vitamin K injection is good, but the birth center holds a great deal of culpability for giving substandard care by neglecting to discuss Vitamin K injection after birth.

    The birth center; have they been informed this event occurred? Do they now have a newpolicy in place to prevent this from happening to another baby? Even though you stated you would think about it, no baby should be discharged from the birth center without either getting the injection or a thorough discussion about the rationale for not giving the injection. This should also be reported to the state’s board of midwifery (assuming your state requires midwives to be licensed), the nursing board if the midwives were RNs/CNMs, and the birth center should be sure they report this event to Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) if they choose to report their outcomes to MANA.

    If a hospital provider did not put in the order to have Vit K given to a newborn, this event would be discussed in a multidiscliplinary meeting to prevent it from ever happening again. This would occur even in the case of a “near miss” in which the hospital almost forgot to give/ask for consent to give Vit K but the error was caught by another staff member.

    The birth center should be held accountable for the error so that more children are not harmed.

    • I completely agree. I think this birthing center should be investigated. This situation really has me wondering what other inadequacies and risks are going on at this birthing center.

    • Well, here’s an OB’s perspective from the article A posted below:

      “When a parent refuses the vitamin K, I can’t force it upon them. I try to get to the bottom of their concerns and address them as best as possible. In the vast majority of instances, parents agree to the injection. When they don’t, we don’t notify child protective services or call the police. We document, document and then document some more so that it is clear in the medical record that the parents were given the appropriate information to make an informed decision and that even knowing the risk they still refused.”

      • Jesse –
        What you’re saying is very true for patients who decline with informed consent. But she didn’t actually decline the injection. She said she would decide at the time of the birth. Then the birth center staff FORGOT to address it because they were distracted with a hemorrhage. I hate to point fingers at a birth center (I work in one), but they are negligent in my opinion.

      • Jesse, if this mothe rleft the “discussion” with the midwives about vitamin K feeling that she still didn’t know anything about it and needed to “research” it herself, then her midwives failed in providing informed consent. It is not possible to give or decline informed consent if you are not given the information.

    • Not only was the birth center and midwives negligent in not impressing upon you the importance of vitamin K (you say you talked about it…but still didn’t know enough so you had to research it yourself…what exactly did you talk about then??) they did not promptly transfer in the face of severe post-partum hemorrhage.

      I understand you are still in the thick of things, but I really hope when you have more distance and time to think about all that happened you realize the very MANY bullets you dodged. You suffered severe post-partum hemorrhage and were not tranferred to the hospital. Your midwife neglected to adequately educate you on the risks of vitamin K refusal.

      These are not people I would trust with my life or the life of my child.

  18. The fact is that medical science still does not know that much about the metabolic fate of vitamin K. Little to no unmetabolized vitamin K shows up in urine or bile. This is disturbing given the fact that vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin and therefore has the potential to accumulate in body tissues. More disturbing is that the liver of a newborn does not begin to function until 3 or 4 days after birth. As a result, this little being has very limited to no ability to detoxify the large dose of synthetic vitamin K and all other the dangerous ingredients in the injection cocktail including:

    – Phenol (carbolic acid – a poisonous substance derived from coal tar)
    – Benzyl alcohol (preservative)
    – Propylene glycol (better known as antifreeze and a hydraulic in brake fluid)
    – Acetic acid (astringent, antimicrobial agent)
    – Hydrochloric acid
    – Lecithin
    – Castor oil

    The manufacturer’s insert included with the shot includes the following warning, “Severe reactions, including fatalities, have occurred during and immediately after intravenous injection of phytonadione even when precautions have been taken to dilute the vitamin and avoid rapid infusion …”
    – See more at: http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/skip-that-newborn-vitamin-k-shot/#sthash.XRNpiKoq.dpuf

    • I have been able to find no credible source that supports the claim of the majority ingredients you list being present in the Vitamin K shot. I did find a picture of Merck’s own packaging for the injection (called Mephyton or Phytonadione) found here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/33874512/Merck-Vitamin-K-Package-Insert-Aquamephyton-PI

      You can also read more about the drug here: http://reference.medscape.com/drug/vitamin-k-mephyton-vitamin-k1-phytonadione-344424#0

      The picture I found does show that there is castor oil present (70 mg per ml) but other than that, there is only dextrose and water, in addition to the formulated Vitamin K.

      The reactions that occur as a result of the shot are rare, and are allergic reactions – as you cannot prevent your child from *any* allergies unless you keep them at home for the rest of their lives, not giving them a shot that could save their life and prevent a lot of pain seems irresponsible to me. And where better to give them a shot that they could possibly have an allergic reaction to than in a place where there are medical professionals?

      Please do your own independent research. I have seen this article by The Healthy Home Economist floating around and it scares me. She hardly sources her claims and much of what she says is invalid.

    • Please note your faux warning is for “intravenous” not “intramuscular, and relates to administration rate, which is not a factor in IM medications. Also,
      those chemicals are also in just about every other medication solution in any hospital.

      These poorly researched and misinterpreted statements cost lives. Please think critically. Water is large ingredient in toxic wiper fluid, do you not drink water then? Gasoline contains ethanol, so do we not eat corn?

      I appreciate the intent people have in trying to spread what they think is important information, but please consume information from reliable sources directed at the appropriate audience. If you’re an accountant, you shouldn’t be reading prescribing documents journals, or medical textbooks, because you’re not trained to understand and assess their validity.

      I have seen far too many kids die because of parents making bad decisions because some quack on the internet couldn’t understand what they were reading and propagated their misunderstanding.

    • Every sentence in your first paragraph is false. Every. Single. One. Your statement that “the liver of a newborn does not begin to function until 3 or 4 days after birth” is a dead giveaway that you know absolutely nothing about medicine or physiology and that nothing you say can be trusted. It is unfortunate that you even have a platform to share your fabricated facts with the world.

    • Just a note that The Healthy Home Economist is also the blogger who urges parents of premature babies and other medically fragile babies with compromised immune systems to decline Synagis because the Synagis shots involve injecting a baby with “rat DNA.” I’ll stop there to avoid getting snarky about the type of people who might consider the HHE a reliable source of information.

      (Really appreciated this series of posts, and I am so glad that your daughter is doing well!)

      • Oh my. As a mum to twins born at twenty-five weeks, I am so incredibly grateful that Synagis exists! Not to mention the countless other medical interventions that have allowed my babies to live and grow and thrive against the odds. My daughter also had a brain haemorrhage (from prematurity, not vitamin K deficiency), and both twins had a long, difficult course in the NICU. It is unfortunate that so much misinformation can be spread that scares parents into making choices that can turn out to be incredibly harmful for their children.

  19. I want to start off by saying that I am very sorry for what happened to your little baby. Having a baby in pain, in any circumstance, is a difficult thing to bear as the mommy.

    Secondly, I want to state that I will admit to not knowing much about the Vitamin K shot. Neither of my girls received the shot and everything turned out fine. But due to the many, many articles I have read about shots and vaccines I have started a journey into med school. I do not like being misinformed. And most importantly I want what is best for my daughters. As I am sure everyone feels the same about their own children. I haven’t gotten far but when I reach my goal and graduate I plan on doing a massive amount of personal research. I hope to share what I find. I am praying for your family and others who are going through what you did. God Bless you and yours,
    Kayla

    • The oral Vitamin K is great, but it is only effective in this situation if it is given every day and at the correct dosage. If it’s given only once at birth, there is still the same chance of late term deficiency bleeding. As long as your vigilant about it and give it to your babies for the right amount of time, then you should be ok – the problem is that most parents aren’t, and so the shot is the only guarantee for them.

  20. Pingback: Mistakes, Regrets, and Finding Forgiveness | Judah's Journey

  21. I don’t recall reading that it was a “severe” hemorrhage. Not every hemorrhage needs to be transferred. Most can be managed quite safely in a birth center. They are equipped with all of the same hemorrhage medications as a hospital.

    • She passed out twice. Obviously she needed fluids, but fluids have ZERO oxygen carrying capacity. If nothing else, transfer should have been recommended for observation sake. And I rather doubt that CPM birth centers have blood products.

      • If it was stated that she passed out twice, then I apologize — she should have been transferred. I don’t recall reading that.
        As far as blood products — no birth centers have that ability. You do realize that transfusion is extremely rare for the majority of PPH. Like almost never. Ever.

      • Transfusion might be “extremely rare” where you are, but this mother’s story made it all the way to HuffPo.
        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/08/photos-home-birth-social-media_n_4549531.html
        If she’d been in a hospital with an IV cath in, she’d have received IV pitocin immediately and much more rapid management and likely would have avoided the transfusion. Transfusions are RARE when they are managed appropriately. Being away from vital medical intervention increases the odds of ADDITIONAL intervention due to delays in care.

  22. Our midwives offered Vitamin K drops — which had to be given at specific times, I think it was at birth, at 24 hours, then at 72 hours — and that’s what we did. It seems to be a good alternative to the injection, and has less risk of allergic reaction since there isn’t any preservatives in them.

    Either way, thank you for taking the time to share this story, and I’m sorry for what you and your family had to go through.

  23. After 17 years as a Pediatric Nurse both in the NICU and the PICU and now a Care Manager for disabled children. I wish more women would understand the consequences of home births, birth center births and refusing medical care. I do not feel home births and birthing centers are wrong nor do I feel you should have your baby in a hospital.. But, I wish Mother’s would understand complications do happen and not every every child does well nor does the Mother. IT HAPPENS TO SOMEONE!

    I have seen more than one child neurologically devastated for not having a fetal monitor in place during labor. Why would you not want to make sure your baby has oxygen?

    Since taking a job as a Care Manager for Pediatrics I have seen where these children go and the difficulties their families struggle with.

    Vitamin K will not give your child autsim nor will immunizations. Look to the additives and perservatives which are in your food for the cause of our health issues today.

    • Fetal monitors do more harm than good. They are the reason we have a 33% primary c-section rate in this country. The is a time and a place for them… in complicated pregnancies or labors… NOT for low-risk women with uncomplicated pregnancies and labors. Monitoring via hand-held doppler is just as safe and effective for these women. The key being low-risk women with uncomplicated pregnancies and labors. Not everyone is a good candidate for out-of-hospital birth, and a safe competent midwife isn’t afraid to risk a mom out of the birth center.

      • But with the use of EFM, HIE rates for babies have gone down. I’d much rather have a c-section than an HIE baby (I had an unhealthy baby and learned that I’d do anything and have any surgery if it means I can have a healthy ones). And not many women want to be that statistic… the one where EFM would have shown and prevented a tragic outcome.

      • Use of a hand-held doppler detects fetal heart rate abnormalities, at which time you transfer for closer observation of the fetal heart rate via EFM. And when that pregnancy is low risk with a healthy mom… almost always the EFM still shows no evidence of fetal compromise.

        Some of the worst outcomes I’ve witnessed have been in the hospital with healthy low-risk women when routine interventions went bad. When you are in a birth center and take pitocin & epidurals out of the equation, bad outcomes aren’t nearly as prevalent.

      • Worst outcomes being…what? A c-section? An episiotomy? Vacuum?

        The CDC Wonder Database begs to differ with the idea that bad out of hospital outcomes are less prevalent. Even without removing high risk mothers, those that received no prenatal care, congenital malformations, etc, OB neonatal death rates are still 3-10x LESS than out of hospital providers that are supposedly only caring for “low risk” mothers. Try it out yourself. Go to the Wonder Database and plug in the exact same patient population. Run it for in-hospital OBs or CNMs and then out-of-hospital other midwife or CNM. Out of hospital ALWAYS has the higher neonatal death rate.

        Really that’s the most important “worst outcome” to me.

      • Worst outcomes? How about fetal death resulting from abruption with an iupc? Or a scalp electrode placed in a fontanelle with a GBS + woman? Bad outcomes can happen anywhere.
        I don’t dispute that there are bad outcomes with OOH birth. These are largely attributable to unassisted home birth, birth with an unqualified provider, and providers who are willing to do OOH birth for women who are not appropriate candidates. Look at the outcomes in accredited birth centers.
        I work in a freestanding birth center and have full admitting privileges at our collaborative hospital. I have access to pitocin, methergine, misoprostol, and hemobate in our birth center. I have the ability to insert an IV and run fluids. We can be at the hospital in 15 minutes or less. We recommend active management of 3rd stage to our clients. We have strict criteria women must meet to be able to birth OOH. I reiterate that for healthy women with uncomplicated pregnancies, normally progressing labors, and a qualified provider, OOH birth is a VERY SAFE option.

  24. A simple fix is to take alfalfa beginning at 30wks. Done deal. Natural and not harmful. Its ridiculous that the shot is an option, and that people trust pharmaceuticals over natural foods. I took it and my unassisted birth went perfectly! Minimal PP bleeding, shortened and minimal lochia, and baby is just fine.

    • Incorrect. Vitamin K does not cross the placenta well. You could eat alfalfa by the truckload — you will NOT significantly increase baby’s vitamin K level. Just because things went perfectly for you does not mean that this is why.
      If you play Russian roulette sitting in your bathtub, 5 out of 6 times things will go “perfectly” but that doesn’t mean that sitting in your bathtub is what protected you. The alfalfa might reduce your bleeding, but it has no effect on babies ability to clot.

      • thats entirely false! link some proof, cuz all the research I’ve done has shown that plants/foods with Vit K does prevent it. Unless the baby has some problem where it cant absorb the vitamin. How do u think people have survived all these years? Its because they ate healthily.

        My daughter had jaundice after birth, which was prolonged because of the alfalfa that was in my placenta still, which I ate after birth. Proving she had an abundance of vit k.

      • Here is a link providing information about Vitamin K passing through the placenta (from the National Institutes of Health): http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1102224

        Water-soluble vitamins have no problem passing through, but fat-soluble vitamins pass much slowly, to the extent that your baby will not have enough at birth. Vitamin K is one of the fat-soluble vitamins.

      • Jaundice is a result of excess bilirubin, which is a byproduct of the breakdown of fetal red blood cells, which have a short life span. It can be physiologic (normal) or pathologic (not normal). Vitamin K is a vitamin that is essential to the clotting cascade, but it plays no role in jaundice.

    • So basically you’re blaming Stefani for what happened to her baby? She really should have just eaten more alfalfa when she was pregnant and this wouldn’t have happened to her precious little girl, right?

      Not only are you dead WRONG, you’re rather despicable to victim blame too.

      • well everything i read just stated that excess vit k causes jaundice. vit k also assists with the production of new blood cells. and just because vit k doesnt pass thru well or fast enough doesnt mean it doesnt pass through. the vit k injection has a much higher dose than needed, and the routine use is not even recommended by the manufacturer. the only reason it is given routinely is in the case of a car accident on the way home from hospital, the baby doesnt get a brain bleed. the rate of brain bleeds after birth is between 5-10 in 100,000 births. not high enough to need it done routinely.

        and i wasnt victim blaming- where did i say it was the mothers fault? i was only suggesting something to prevent it again.

  25. Making things mandatory isn’t the answer.
    We will continue to decline after we had issues with the Vit. K shot.

    If you feel strong, then educate…
    The whole mandatory set of routines that we have in hospitals is crazy as it is.

    • I 1,000,000% agree! Nothing about the birth process should be mandatory. Parents are stewards of their children, not doctors, hospitals, or governments.

  26. As a Labor & Delivery nurse in NYS, we are required to give the Vitamin K shot (with in one hour of birth). If parents refuse we are then required to notify Child Protective Service (CPS). I always thought that it was a little extreme to have to report this to CPS. As I read your story I need to rethink this. I will always keep your story in the back of my mind if I have a patient that doesn’t feel her baby needs Vitamin K. There are so many situations in our child’s life that we may not be able to prevent. But as you said this is nearly 100% preventable!!! Thank you so much for sharing your story. Prayers going out to you little girl. May God bless you and your family!!

  27. Thank you for sharing – I work with newborns and lots of families don’t understand or have misinformation about vitamin k . I’m sorry for what happened to your child and I’m glad to hear she is doing well. Thank you for having shared olives story – hopefully people will read and understand the importance of vitamin k

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  29. Thank you for sharing. I was linked to your blog via the Evidence Based Birth article. I am a doula and childbirth educator and am thankful for this information, as there is so much bad information out there on vitamin K. I will definitely make sure that parents receive this info (I’ll point them to the longer EBB article if they’re skeptical) to hopefully help educate parents and give them good information. And, I am so thankful your precious daughter has recovered well. So, so thankful.

  30. Thank you for sharing your story. I think it is so important to be well informed!!! I am from the UK but I had my baby in Belgium. I was a little concerned when they didn’t give the VK shot…However, I was really impressed that they give you VK drops and Vitamin D drops, too. You give these drops daily to your baby until a certain age. I wonder why they don’t offer these elsewhere as part of the birthing process.

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