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Consider the Dangers of Vitamin K Shot at Birth: And the Simple Solution

Joette Calabrese, HMC, CCH, RSHom(Na)

August 16th, 2014  |  31 Comments

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Back in the '80s when I was birthing my first child, it was difficult to find a doctor who would agree to the kind of experience I wanted.

My idea of birthing was one in which I did all the work, and the midwife or doctor stood by in case I needed them. No drugs. No procedures.  No interference.

I did everything I knew to make that happen.

But just moments before I gave birth to our first child, a vigorous discussion with the OBGYN ensued while I was in transition.

You might know about transition: the component of birthing where you wonder if you’ll make it because it’s the most rigorous and painful phase of childbirth. Mine turned into a debate with hospital staff, thank you very much.

“Why don’t you want a Vitamin K shot for your baby?”  the nurses and doctor grilled relentlessly.

I confess that I don’t have much confidence in hospitals and their procedures. It’s not that I think they’re scalawags; it’s that I don’t trust a measurable amount of medical research and the subsequent practice based on it.

Of all the interventions, in my considered opinion, Vitamin K injection was one of the most superfluous, particularly given the homework I had done.

What I Learned

As usual, the arguments in favor of injecting a newborn with a Vitamin K shot and those against contradict each other.  Not unlike most medical squabbles, after reading both sides, you wonder how medical science could be called scientific.

The reason Vitamin K is considered at birth is that low levels of it are blamed for internal bleeding of the infant’s brain as a result of injury during birth, particularly in forceps deliveries.

According to some medical reports, anywhere from 1.8 to 5 out of every 100,000 babies who do not receive Vitamin K injections suffer permanent injury or death due to bleeding in the brain from the trauma of birth, particularly around 3 to 7 weeks after birth. For those babies that experience bleeding, 45% suffer permanent brain damage or death.

At first blush, this is scary, but let me remind you that the dangers are considered rare.

Nonetheless, this subject is worthy of our attention, particularly as protection from intracranial hemorrhaging is not difficult to prevent, and the injection itself poses risks.

It’s important to recognize that atypical bleeding is generally the result of liver disease, likely undetected until the bleeding occurs, which is usually days or weeks after birth.

Certain liver problems can reduce its ability to make blood-clotting factors out of a normal amount of Vitamin K.   The theory is that large amounts of K could prevent this kind of a bleed.

Infants exposed to drugs or alcohol are particularly at risk for these liver disorders as well as those from mothers on anti-seizure medications.

Mothers with these histories skew the overall statistics, bringing the risk to those of us who don’t fit that group even lower.

It important to understand that newborns are born without Vitamin K. They 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.

Though we may not understand why this is, it is the way nature intended and therefore ought to be trusted as long as we are prudent in our approach.

Dangers of Vitamin K Shot:

No one in the medical field warns you that there are dangers to newborns associated with Vitamin K shot.  Never expect a full disclosure of dangers of medical procedures from those who use them.

Danger #1: One of the most alarming threats is the reports of anaphylactic shock due to this injection. Some sources suggest that this is rare, but then so are the numbers on the other side of the argument.

Danger #2: In the 1980s the belief was held that the introduction of levels that are 20,000 times the usual newborn level, (the amount usually injected) are not without consequences. A possibility of 80% increased risk of developing childhood leukemia had been associated with the practice of injecting Vitamin K at birth.

Danger #3: As always with vaccines, certain vitamins and drugs, there’s the issue of preservatives that are included in the formulation.

Danger #4: Consider the effect of imposing pain, which has the potential of rummaging psycho-emotional damage at a most precious moment in my newborn’s life.

Danger #5: In the last few years, media began reporting the sweeping problem of opportunistic MRSA and other dangerous infections rampant in hospitals.  An injection site is the perfect breeding ground for such infections particularly in an immature immune system.

What I Did:

Without the advantage of the Internet and only a handful of sources, it didn’t take long to learn that certain greens eaten weeks in advance and in abundance could offer enough Vitamin K so as to avoid deficiency.

Additionally, I reasoned that if scurvy could be prevented by eating foods high in Vitamin C and we could be absolved of beriberi with the ingestion of foods high in Vitamin B, then why would it be any different when it came to Vitamin K?

I began a routine of drinking nettles and raspberry leaf tea from the time I learned about this, which was early in my 1st trimester.

I made it my drink of choice in my forthcoming pregnancies and nursing periods as well. Of course, I also ate dark leafy greens, especially wild greens frequently:   cardoons, dandelions, purse lane, spinach, Brussels sprouts, beet greens, etc.

What I Know Today as a Seasoned Homeopath

Given the potential dangers of infections, questionable, unpronounceable preservatives, a remote, but nonetheless chance of leukemia and anaphylaxis, psycho-physical reaction and infection, the scales are tipped towards a gentler way of making Vitamin K available to babies.

Even supplementation of low oral doses of liquid Vitamin K can be taken by the mother a few weeks before birthing and administered to baby from birth for weeks. This was not my choice because I eschew synthetic vitamins.

Having said all of this about vitamins, homeopathic medicine is a method that transcends vitamin therapy. That is, in spite of the amount of vitamins and nutrients that may be lacking, homeopathy often treats the disease anyway. Moreover, with alacrity.

Take Arnica montana 200C, for example.

It is one of the most powerful (yet extremely gentle) homeopathic remedies for head trauma and subsequent bleeding known to mankind. I’ve witnessed its ability time and again for injuries to the head in ski accidents, automobile accidents, vascular bleeds and other cranial traumas. European professional ski teams count on it.

It is routinely used in the ER for head and other traumas in a large hospital in my hometown, and plastic surgeons use it as a rule for hemorrhaging.

And if that’s not enough, Arnica also happens to be an important medicine to administer to laboring moms for pain, bruising and bleeding and is inadvertently given to babies at birth for unseen traumas.

Something that has been used at birth for centuries to protect from hemorrhaging without any knowledge of Vitamin K deficiency?

How encompassing!

How innately intelligent!

How like homeopathy.

Arnica montana 200can 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 for both mother and baby.

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.

So, do your homework, drink your nettles tea, eat lots of fresh greens, don’t drink alcohol or take drugs, make sure you have a gentle birth without forceps (the subject of another blog) and most importantly, get yourself a bottle of Arnica montana 200C.

And when reviewing the literature in favor of Vitamin K shots remember, breast-feeding a child was considered unscientific and barbaric by the whole of the pediatric community only decades ago.

And they had their studies to demonstrate their posture.

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I have been where you are now. I’ve dieted, taken supplements, bio-identical hormones, essential oils, herbs – but nothing, nothing has ever come close to the reproducible, safe, and effective results I and my clients have achieved with homeopathy. To see the full syllabus for my Feminopathy course and read the testimonials of other women who have been helped by my Practical Homeopathy methods, click here.
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Some references

1. L.G. Israels et al., “The riddle of vitamin K1 deficit in the newborn,” Semin Perinatol 21, no. 1 (Feb 1997): 90-6.

2. P. Reverdiau-Moalic et al., “Evolution of blood coagulation activators and inhibitors in the healthy human fetus,” Blood (France) 88, no. 3 (Aug 1996): 900-6.

3. A.H. Sutor et al., “Late form of vitamin K deficiency bleeding in Germany,” Klin Padiatr (Germany) 207, no. 3 (May-Jun 1995): 89-97.

4. L. Parker et al., “Neonatal vitamin K administration and childhood cancer in the north of England: retrospective case-control study,” BMJ (England) 316, no. 7126 (Jan 1998): 189-93.

5. S.J. Passmore et al., “Case-control studies of relation between childhood cancer and neonatal vitamin K administration,” BMJ (England) 316, no. 7126 (Jan 1998): 178-84.

6. E. Roman et al., “Vitamin K and childhood cancer: analysis of individual patient data from six case-control studies,” Br J Cancer (England) 86, no. 1 (Jan 2002): 63-9.

7. M. Andrew, “The relevance of developmental hemostasis to hemorrhagic disorders of newborns,” Semin Perinatol 21, no. 1 (Feb 1997): 70-85.

8. E. Bourrat et al., “[Scleroderma-like patch on the thigh in infants after vitamin K injection at birth: six observations],” Ann Dermatol Venereol (France) 123, no. 10 (1996): 634-8.

9. A.H. Sutor, “Vitamin K deficiency bleeding in infants and children,” Semin Thromb Hemost (Germany) 21, no. 3 (1995): 317-29.

10. S. Bolisetty, “Vitamin K in preterm breast milk with maternal supplementation,” Acta Paediatr (Australia) 87, no. 9 (Sep 1998): 960-2.

11. K. Hogenbirk et al., “The effect of formula versus breast feeding and exogenous vitamin K1 supplementation on circulating levels of vitamin K1 and vitamin K-dependent clotting factors in newborns,” Eur J Pediatr 152, no. 1 (Jan 1993): 72-4.

12. A. Stewart, “Etiology of childhood leukemia: a possible alternative to the Greaves hypothesis,” Leuk Res (England) 14, nos. 11-12 (1990): 937-9.

13. Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine

14. href=”http://drbenkim.com/vitamin-K-shot-baby.html”>http://drbenkim.com/vitamin-K-shot-baby.html

15. Vitamin K at Birth: To Inject or Not – Reprinted from the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association

 

I am a homeopath with a worldwide practice working with families and individuals via Zoom. I'm also a teacher and most importantly, a mom who raised my now-adult children depending on homeopathy over the last 31 years. I lived decades of my life with food intolerances, allergies, and chemical sensitivities until I was cured with homeopathy, so I understand pain, anxiety, and suffering. You may feel that your issues are more severe or different than anyone else’s, but I have seen it all in my practice and in my work in India. My opinion is that nothing has come close to the reproducible, safe and effective results that my clients, students and I have achieved with homeopathy.

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Joette is not a physician and the relationship between Joette and her clients is not of prescriber and patient, but as educator and client. It is fully the client's choice whether or not to take advantage of the information Joette presents. Homeopathy doesn't "treat" an illness; it addresses the entire person as a matter of wholeness that is an educational process, not a medical one. Joette believes that the advice and diagnosis of a physician is often in order.


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31 thoughts on “Consider the Dangers of Vitamin K Shot at Birth: And the Simple Solution”

  1. megan says:

    I birthed at home just hubby, me, the baby, and of course God. no shots no eyes drops no nothing in my kid ever! I used arnica after. had heard I could before but didn’t know much about Homeopathy then so waited till she was out. but she did get it thru breastmilk for about 3 weeks. slowing down on it as I healed of course. I knew to take it when pain returned. so i did. WOW looking back I have learned a lot in 2 years but still have a long way to go!

    great info for mom.

  2. Debi says:

    Thanks Joette! Very helpful as usual. Saving this one to share with my daughters when they are expecting!(and others of course 🙂 )

  3. Jenny says:

    Hi,

    I just have to let you know that my precious son was a victim of a severe Vitamin K Deficiency Bleed. He had a massive bleed on his brain in the occipital lobe and it pushed his brain passed the mid-line resulting in massive brain damage. He had a 1% change to live. He is now 9 and severely disabled and a total care child. He needs help with all activities of daily living and is much like an infant. Liver tests all showed he was fine, there was no underlying liver damage. I drank nettles and lots of raspberry tea through out my pregnancy – no drugs etc. I was consuming juice plus products and was very healthy. My son was born in a water tub at home in a very gentle home birth. We waited for the cord to quit pulsing etc. His doctor did not believe in the Vit. K shot. We were also told about a link to leukemia but I have since learned that study has been refuted. But even if it weren’t I would much prefer my son to have cancer than severe brain damage. Lots of people recover from cancer – brain damage is irreversible and totally changes everything.

    I do agree that a discussion needs to be had. I agree that natural is usually best. I think the shot is critical but I would like scientist to find a better way. It should be able to be given without all the bad ingredients in it. But children are dying and or getting severe brain injury. I wish I had known about arnica when he first had the bleed. I do give it to him now whenever he has a surgery. My mission now is to help heal the little bit of brain he has left. I feed him an organic whole food diet with foods that are supposed to support the brain and I am constantly searching to learn more ways to help him. Please keep him in mind when telling others to refuse the shot. At least have people do natural drops and know the signs of a deficiency. My son had a bruise on his side – which we took him in for but no one recognized it as a sign of VKD.I know many of the shots harm people but this one is a vitamin and it does save lives. Unfortunately my precious son is causality of it. It has changed his and our families whole lives. If you know of homeopathy supplements that would help his brain, I would love to hear about them. Thank you

    1. Joette Calabrese, HMC, CCH, RSHom(Na) says:

      Your story is heartbreaking and sobering, and proves that no theory is ironclad. Your son will most certainly be in my mind (and prayers) when I discuss this with other families. Thank you for offering this.

    2. debbie says:

      The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential? does brain research and works with families who have brain-injured children. I think their website is iahp.org.

  4. Beth L. says:

    Very interesting discussion. I will forward the blog and comments to my daughter who is due in a few weeks.

  5. Susan says:

    You are not given the choice on NY hospitals to refuse. What are the options if home birth is not an option

    1. Joette Calabrese, HMC, CCH, RSHom(Na) says:

      Have your baby in New Jersey, Pennsylvania,Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Ohio or Ontario! (Did I leave any adjacent states out?) For me, it would be that important to have the kind of birth I wanted.

  6. Rachael says:

    Hello Joette, Interesting blog! The blog that you have shared with us is very helpful for the ladies that are expecting. I will definitely discuss it with my friend as she is also pregnant.

  7. Donna says:

    This was such an interesting subject and full of great information that I had to read it twice so I would not miss anything. I am fascinated with your blogs and the amount of in-depth material you cover. I think homeopathy is a God send and you are doing divine work.

  8. Elaine Fredrick says:

    I heard some years ago that the reason Jewish baby boys are circumcised on the 8th day (as God instructed) is that Vitamin K peaks on that day, so the potential for blood clotting after the circumcision is optimal. http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=13&article=1118

    1. Joette Calabrese, HMC, CCH, RSHom(Na) says:

      Funny how that works out. I’m often intrigued by how often religious customs later are shown to be based on science.

  9. Jackie says:

    Can Nux Vomica be used to antidote potential negative effects of Vit k? We would have gone the oral vit k route like we did with our daughter, but my husband did not want to postpone the circumcision until we sure his vit k levels were sufficient. So, even though we didn’t really want to do it, we went with the shot. He is 2 weeks old now.

    1. Joette Calabrese, HMC, CCH, RSHom(Na) says:

      I don’t know what Nux vomica would do, but I have personally found it to be useful after certain drug procedures when they result in gastro-intestinal conditions. I would be more inclined to use a dose of Camphor 200. I especially like it for overall anitdoting of drugs and even poorly chosen homeopathic medicines.
      I’m not advising you; only informing you of the use of Camphor 200.

  10. Nikki MacMillan says:

    So you’d recommend Arnica 200C for baby after delivery and not a lesser potency? Thanks!

    1. Joette Calabrese, HMC, CCH, RSHom(Na) says:

      I’ve had good results with 200 for myself and others.

  11. Ayesha says:

    Hi!
    I just fond your page and I am really glad I did. This question of vitamin K shots has been bothering me since I was in hospital admin way back in 2005. I, being a nutritionist and a lay homeopath, knew the risks of taking unwarranted vitamin K but no pediatrician or gynecologist seemed to understand my point of view, they still don’t. But it’s good to know I’m not the only “crack” challenging the allopathic creed. Here, in Pakistan the parents rarely know what is going on in the delivery room, and giving a choice is out of the question.
    I do hope awareness of this problem grows and parents are given a choice. Thank you.

    1. Joette Calabrese, HMC, CCH, RSHom(Na) says:

      I hope the same for those young women. Its not much better in the US.

  12. Sara says:

    Great article. I would like to access more articles beyond page 23 of your blog but cannot due to the page layout here. The following page numbers are not at the bottom. It would be nice to be able to read more. Thanks for all the wonderful articles. I would like to read more.

    1. Joette Calabrese, HMC, CCH, RSHom(Na) says:

      Sara, I went to page 23 and had no trouble continuing on. Pls try again but let me know if it stalls out for you on your next try.

  13. sara says:

    Joette, on my Ipad (Mac) when I scroll to the bottom of page 22 or 23 text and remedy cards are cut off. No page numbers can be scrolled down to. On my PC, the bottom of page 22 is complete, so that I can choose page 24, but as I scroll to the bottom of that page, it is also cut off and not complete to the bottom with page selection. Page 23 also a problem on my office PC. Your blog information is fantastic!
    Merry Christmas

  14. Shoshana Rachel says:

    Where can I get arnica Montana from? I live in Israel
    Thank you

    1. Joette Calabrese, HMC, CCH, RSHom(Na) says:

      Helios in England.

  15. Leanne says:

    Wanting to implement this for myself as well as my fourth baby that’s coming soon. What would the dosage be for a newborn if an adult is 5 pellets 3x a day? I would guess maybe 1-2 pellets a couple times a day?

    1. Joette Calabrese, HMC, CCH, RSHom(Na) says:

      The number of pills that comprise a dose is printed on the side of the bottle…including for a child.

      1. Leanne says:

        It has dosage for a child 2 and up, but not a newborn. Unless I completely missed it

  16. Tate Goodman says:

    Similar midwives in Japan had the same idea which result in multiple new borns deaths. Please revise your article to consider current research. The risk of leukemia has been refuted. Allergic responses to vitamin K are so extremely rare at any age, however in a new born with an immature and naive immune system allergic responses alone are nearly impossible let alone anaphylactic shock, although this would be very easy to treat in a hospital situation. Your other concerns are your own opinions and not based on any specific research.

    1. Joette Calabrese, HMC, CCH, RSHom(Na) says:

      I don’t advise doing nothing, like the midwives in Japan who had the “same” idea. I believe you missed the most important part; the use of the homeopathic medicine.

  17. Kathleen says:

    Thank you for this post! My first had a severe reaction to the vitamin K shot and she suffered for years after. I’m 34 weeks with number 2 and this post is exactly what I need to see and an answer to many prayers!! Bless you!!

  18. Hillary says:

    Can Arnica 200c (radix) be used instead of Arnica 200c? It is what I have on hand.

    1. Joette Calabrese, HMC, CCH, RSHom(Na) says:

      It’s one in the same.

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