Paediatrician Dr Su Laurent explains why newborns are given vitamin K.
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Emma Howard: Hello, I’m Emma Howard and I am joined by Dr. Su Laurent, who is a consultant pediatrician at Barnet Hospital in Hertfordshire. Hello Su. Dr. Su Laurent: Hi Emma. Emma Howard: Got a question here from I think someone who is about to have a baby, wants to know why all newborn babies are given vitamin K is it safe, she wants to know and she likes to choose for it to be given by mouth rather then by an injection because they are two ways of getting Vitamin K into a newborn. Dr. Su Laurent: There are, there are. First of all most new babies don’t need vitamin K, but we give it to all new babies because there is a rare condition, which is called hemorrhagic disease of the newborn which means that the few very unfortunate babies can have severe hemorrhage and can cause something like a stroke. So in order to ensure that all babies have enough vitamin K, we give it to the mom. Emma Howard: And vitamin K is a natural substance. Dr. Su Laurent: It is a natural substance we all have and we all need. Emma Howard: And a newborn needs a bit of extra. Dr. Su Laurent: A newborn may have a rather low level to begin with rarely. Emma Howard: And the second part of the question is how to give it? Dr. Su Laurent: How to give it, well my recommendation is strongly given all by single injection at birth, all three of my babies I did like that. There was a few years ago a thought that there maybe a link between giving vitamin K by injection and leukemia. This has now been shown internationally around the world to be a false link, it is not, there is no connection between the two. And for a while therefore people worrying about whether they should give it by mouth. If you give it by mouth, you have to give it and keep giving it, because it doesn’t stay around in the body for enough and there is an increase danger if you don’t remember to give it by mouth that you may land up having a baby with hemorrhage. So my recommendation is strongly just give it in injection to that. Emma Howard: So, is it relevant what kind of birth you may have if its been simple and straight forward would you need vitamin K as much as if the birth had been more difficult, the baby had been pushed and squeezed down the birth canal and you will be worried about hemorrhaging. Dr. Su Laurent: No, it’s not relevant at all. If all babies need vitamin K, the only question will be a baby had a difficult time particularly premature baby, might need a bit of extra vitamin K, which we would give them presently and that – lead it. Emma Howard: So you will advice every time is have it and have as an injection. Dr. Su Laurent: Have it as an injection. Get it over done with this and you don’t have to worry about it. Emma Howard: Su, good advice, thank you very much in deed and if you have a similar problem we hope we might have given you some help but remember it’s always best to go and see your own doctor for medical advice. Thanks for watching, we will be back with more health questions and answers.

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