- Reference Number: HEY-488/2018
- Departments: Maternity Services
- Last Updated: 18 July 2018
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This leaflet has been produced to give you general information about your baby’s treatment. Most of your questions should be answered by this leaflet. It is not intended to replace the discussion between you and your midwife or doctor but may act as a starting point for discussion. If after reading it you have any concerns or require further explanation, please discuss this with a member of the healthcare team who is caring for your baby.
What is Vitamin K?
Vitamin K is a vitamin which naturally occurs in food. We all need vitamin K and obtain this in our diet. It helps to make the blood clot and prevent bleeding.
Why does my baby need vitamin K?
The Department of Health recommends that all newborn babies should be given a vitamin K supplement at birth such as Konakion MM Paediatric. Babies have very little stores of vitamin K at birth, and vitamin K deficiency can cause bleeding in an infant in the first months of life. This is called “Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding” (VKDB). This is a serious, but rare condition.
Giving vitamin K prevents and treats bleeding. All newborn babies are offered vitamin K with their parent’s consent.
Bleeding happens unpredictably in some babies and it is not possible to identify which babies will be at risk with absolute certainty. Of the babies who suffer bleeding, about a third have no known risk factor.
To enable you to have the discussion prior to the birth of your baby, during your pregnancy/antenatal period please read this information leaflet. Share and discuss the information it contains with your partner and or family to enable you to decide whether or not you want your baby to have vitamin K.
Can there be any complications or risks?
Like all medicines, vitamin K can cause side effects. The following side effects may happen with this medicine although this is very rare.
- An allergic reaction may present as swelling of your baby’s throat, face, lips and mouth or sudden swelling of your baby’s hands, feet and ankles. If your baby has an allergic reaction, tell a doctor or midwife straightaway.
- A reaction may occur where the injection was given. Rarely this may be severe. Signs include redness, swelling, bruising, pain.
If you notice any side effects or they become serious or troublesome, please tell your doctor or midwife.
What will happen?
Vitamin K will be given to your baby with your consent within 24 hours of birth, by your midwife.
As recommended by the Department of Health and the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), it is given by injection (into the muscle of the baby’s thigh). Your baby should not require any further treatment to prevent VKDB unless they develop a side effect.
If your baby is admitted to the Neonatal Unit for any reason the nurse and doctors will give your baby the vitamin K by injection in line with the Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust and NICE guidelines.
What happens afterwards?
If vitamin K is given by injection there is no further treatment required.
If you decide you do not wish your baby to have this injection, vitamin K can be given by mouth and your baby will need further doses. If you are breastfeeding, you will be supplied with two further doses of vitamin K to take home. If your baby is bottle fed only one dose of vitamin K is required because vitamin K is added to formula milk.
Further information can be found at the following website:
Should you require further advice regarding the information in this leaflet, please do not hesitate to discuss with your Community Midwife/Doctor at your next visit or contact the Community Midwives Office on (01482) 382658.
General Advice and Consent
Most of your questions should have been answered by this leaflet, but remember that this is only a starting point for discussion with the healthcare team.
Consent to treatment
Before any doctor, nurse or therapist examines or treats your child, they must seek your consent or permission. In order to make a decision, you need to have information from health professionals about the treatment or investigation which is being offered to your child. You should always ask them more questions if you do not understand or if you want more information.
The information you receive should be about your child’s condition, the alternatives available for your child, and whether it carries risks as well as the benefits. What is important is that your consent is genuine or valid. That means:
- you must be able to give your consent
- you must be given enough information to enable you to make a decision
- you must be acting under your own free will and not under the strong influence of another person
Information about your child
We collect and use your child’s information to provide your child with care and treatment. As part of your child’s care, information about your child will be shared between members of a healthcare team, some of whom you may not meet. Your child’s information may also be used to help train staff, to check the quality of our care, to manage and plan the health service, and to help with research. Wherever possible we use anonymous data.
We may pass on relevant information to other health organisations that provide your child with care. All information is treated as strictly confidential and is not given to anyone who does not need it. If you have any concerns please ask your child’s doctor, or the person caring for your child.
Under the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018 we are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of any information we hold about your child. For further information visit the following page: Confidential Information about You.
If you need information about your child’s (or a child you care for) health and wellbeing and their care and treatment in a different format, such as large print, braille or audio, due to disability, impairment or sensory loss, please advise a member of staff and this can be arranged.
Your newborn baby’s NHS number
An NHS number is allocated to everyone whose birth is registered with a Registrar of Births and Deaths in England and Wales. You already have an NHS number and your baby will be assigned an NHS number soon after birth. Your NHS number is unique to you and provides a reliable means of linking you to the medical and administrative information we hold about you. NHS numbers are allocated on a random basis and, in themselves, provide no information about the people to whom they relate.