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Vitamin K is important for newborns

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  • Written By: Felicia Messimer
Vitamin K is important for newborns

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Vitamin K is one of the recommended medications for every newborn infant, given shortly after birth. It is not an immunization, but a shot that helps babies blood clot normally. Without the Vitamin K injection shortly after birth, babies have the potential to bleed anywhere in the brain.

Babies are born with very small amounts of Vitamin K in their bodies because it is not easily shared between mom and baby before birth and an infant's intestines cannot make enough at birth on their own.

Babies who do not receive the Vitamin K injection at birth might develop any of these signs of Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding (VKDB):

  • Easy Bruising
  • Blood from nose or umbilical cord
  • Pale skin
  • Yellow skin after three weeks of birth
  • Bloody stool, black tarry stool, or vomiting blood
  • Excessive sleepiness, irritability, seizures, vomiting

Facts about the importance of Vitamin K deficiency:

  • All babies do not have enough Vitamin K at birth
  • Breast milk and normal intestinal bacteria don't provide enough Vitamin K until babies are 4-6 months old
  • The Vitamin K injection does not contain mercury as a stabilizer base

Note: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has developed a flyer about VKDB that can be downloaded here.

The Campbell County Health Maternal Child Department encourages you to discuss with your pediatric provider why your child should get Vitamin K at delivery for a healthy baby!

Need a Pediatrician?
Dr. Vijaya Koduri is the pediatrician at Campbell County Medical Group (CCMG) Pediatrics in the Main Clinic, 501 S. Burma Ave. You can schedule an appointment with her at 307-688-3636. Learn more at

  • Category: Campbell County Medical Group Pediatrics, Maternal Child