Expert Advice

The Vitamin K Shot and Your Birth Plan  Part 2

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The recent controversy over whether to give your baby the vitamin K shot confuses many well-meaning parents. To know if you should include vitamin K in your birth plan, you want to have all the answers to the many dissenting questions.

Here’s the breakdown about giving your bundle of joy a boost of vitamin K:

The Pros

  • Excellent track record – more than 50 years of proven results in preventing life-threatening bleeding in newborns
  • It’s as important for babies who had gentle births as for those who had medical interventions
  • Super important for babies of mothers who take drugs for epilepsy, tuberculosis, and blood-thinning (warfarin/Coumadin)
  • Can be given by one injection or three doses given orally
  • Non-toxic – available in a preservative-free version
  • It’s safe – will not cause leukemia[1]
  • No side effects if given in correct dose, by injection or by mouth
  • Injection is effective for infants with gallbladder or liver disorders
  • You don’t have to ask for it in your birth plan, it’s given at birth

The Cons[2]

  • It’s “unnatural”
  • It’s traumatic for baby to get the shot right after all the sensory overload of being born
  • The dose is too high
  • The injection may contain toxic preservatives
  • Injection has an infection risk, especially in the hospital
  • You have to actively state in your birth plan if you don’t want it for your babe


The Myths

  1. It’s unnatural – Babies everywhere are born with low levels of vitamin K, so why interfere with Mother Nature? Because, VKDB is real, even if it’s rare. We have a 100% effective way of preventing newborn bleeding and possible death. Why not use it?
  2. The dose is too high – The typical dose, which is used all over the world, is 1-2mg. It has proven effective for millions of babies. The injection goes into a muscle and releases the vitamin over a few months. Oral doses, given over some weeks, give the same amount.
  3. The injection contains toxic preservatives – Ask your hospital in advance, and say in your birth plan, to give your baby a preservative-free version of vitamin K.
  4. The injection has an infection risk – Life is often about risk, but this one is so low it doesn’t outweigh the benefits of giving the shot.

The Takeaway

  • Vitamin K is critical for your baby’s protection against bleeding during the first months.
  • Baby can get K from either the single injection or from repeated oral doses.
  • The injection gives immediate and complete protection; the oral doses give partial coverage until all three are fully taken.
  • If you want to give it orally, say so in your birth plan and pack it into your hospital bag.


To learn more about immediate postpartum choices, download our free Birth Plan eBook now. After three years of research, collaboration with more than 100 childbirth experts and resource centers from Healthy Child Healthy World to the American Association of Neonatal Nurses, the Best Ever Baby Birth Plan Guide is available for a free download.

This new resource for pregnant families is a compilation of top tips and advice from more than 20 nationally-recognized experts in the field including renowned pediatrician, Dr. Alan Greene and GraceFull Birthing founder, midwife Elizabeth Bachner.  These trusted experts offer thoughtful guidance for whatever type of birthing experience parents want, in whichever setting they choose.


Published: August 19, 2015 | Reviewed by: Kim Walls, Natural Products Expert, Elizabeth Bachner, LM, CPM, L.Ac., Midwife | Last reviewed: August, 2015

Kim WallsThe Vitamin K Shot and Your Birth Plan  Part 2

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