Vitamin K “Shot” At Birth – Cost vs. Benefit

The vitamin K “shot” is routinely given at birth for a few reasons described in Joette Calabrese’s post.  But as she writes, the costs or risks rarely justify the use of the vitamin K shot.  Many people don’t realize that it is even given at birth, though the practice began in the 1960s.  It is not the innocent vitamin it’s name suggests, and the idea that all babies need this ‘shot’ is ridiculous, in my opinion.

The vitamin K ‘shot’ also contains

  • aluminum
  • Benzyl alcohol

If you are unsure about getting the vitamin K shot, ask yourself, is my baby at risk in some way where vitamin K could even provide a benefit to offset the risk?  Assess your baby’s risk for low levels of vitamin K or head trauma bleeding during birth by asking the following questions:

  • did I drink alcohol during pregnancy?
  • did I take recreational drugs during pregnancy?
  • did I take pharmaceutical drugs during pregnancy, like anti-seizure medication?
  • did the doctor administer IV antibiotics (often the case if mother is Group B strep positive) during the birth?   (depletes vitamin K reserves)
  • were forceps used during birth?

If the answer is no to all, your baby doesn’t need the vitamin K shot, from what I learned in Joette’s post.  If a baby experiences bleeding due to head or other trauma during birth, vitamin K could assist the baby in creating blood clots (to stop the bleeding).  If a mother uses drugs or drinks alcohol during pregnancy, her vitamin K stores could be depleted, which in turn would cause a depletion of vitamin K in the baby.  On the flip side, mothers eating a diet rich in vitamin K during pregnancy provide their babies with good stores of vitamin K (and therefore blood clotting ability) to prepare them for any head trauma bleeding that could occur during birth.

If the answer is yes to any of the questions above, one must still consider the risks vs. the benefits.  Instead of assuming we can fix every medical problem without creating worse side effects, we must ask – does the baby’s body have everything it needs to repair itself?

This blog post from lists several ways which we can hinder or help the baby’s natural repair processes – vitamin K could very well be a hindrance.

  • “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.”
  • umbilical 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 (not sludgy from vitamin K) so stem cells can easily travel to any damaged areas sending signals for help, and perform their functions. Imagine that, baby has his/her own protective mechanism to prevent bleeding and repair organs…that wasn’t discovered until after we started routinely giving infants vitamin K injections.”
  • “a newborn might have low levels of vitamin K because it’s intestines are not yet colonized with bacteria needed to synthesize it and the “vitamin K cycle” isn’t fully functional in newborns. It makes sense then to bypass the gut and inject vitamin K right into the muscle right? Except baby’s kidneys aren’t fully functional either.”
Does the Vitamin K shot additives cause food allergies?

I’ve read that the vitamin K ‘shot’ contains food proteins – egg phospholipid and castor oil.  Castor oil cross reacts with peanuts and tree nuts.  Peanut allergies are so common today.  Coincidence?  Read the Peanut Allergy Epidemic.  The author says that the Hib vaccine also contains peanut oil and other food substances, and that these ingredients are not always disclosed.  Think about this — we are injecting food proteins into the blood stream instead of through the digestive tract.  These food proteins are being injected ALONGSIDE substances such as bacterium, viruses and heavy metals (adjuvants like aluminum) and formaldehyde, to which the body mounts an immune response.  Food allergies a coincidence of the last 15 years?  I don’t think so.

Can the Vitamin K shot cause childhood cancer?

This study suggests it could. 

Let’s do it the preventative, natural way!

If you want to build your baby’s reserve of vitamin K1 (K1 is the type of vitamin K used in the shot – see in the product insert) in preparation for various trauma that could arise during birth and thus protect your baby, drink vitamin K-rich teas and foods.  The vitamins will be passed through the placenta to your baby.  After birth you can continue to supply your baby with vitamin K through your diet and therefore breastmilk.

Vitamin-K building teas and foods
  • herbal teas like nettles and raspberry leaf
  • leafy green vegetables, brassicas (e.g. cabbage, kale, cauliflower, turnip and brussel sprouts)
  • fruits like avocado, banana, and kiwi

Read Joette’s post so that you can be informed and make your own decision.

Joette also writes that homeopathic remedy Arnica montana 200C “is one of the most powerful (yet extremely gentle) homeopathic remedies for head trauma and subsequent bleeding known to mankind.  It can be used during labor to not only aid in pain management, but to protect against bleeding and bruising.  Taken at the onset of labor and continued every 3-5 hours and especially just after birth is a well-established plan, and is inadvertently given to babies at birth for unseen traumas.  Many homeopaths recommend giving the baby a dose twice daily for a week while the mother can take it every few hours for a few days for any soreness and overall well being.

It is also important to understand that “newborns don’t start manufacturing it until the proper bacteria are introduced into their guts via breast milk, which is of course a powerful argument for breast feeding.” – Joette Calabrese

For more information to help you make a decision, watch Suzanne Humphries brilliant presentation, which is part of a larger infant immunity series on YouTube.


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