The newborn babies they are very vulnerable, and need special care. This care allows the baby to enjoy good health and prevents the development of complications or diseases that put their life at risk.
The administration of vitamin K is one of these cares, and is aimed at preventing the newborn from developing a condition known as hemorrhagic disease of the newborn (HDN), which can be fatal to the baby.
1. What is hemorrhagic disease of the newborn?
Hemorrhagic disease of the newborn due to vitamin K deficiency, or HDND, manifests itself with bleeding of different magnitudes and that can sometimes compromise the life of the newborn.
Vitamin K normally comes from diet and intestinal bacterial synthesis. At birth, the intestine is not yet colonized by bacteria and therefore, there is no bacterial production of vitamin K, and when the reserve of vitamin K obtained through the placenta is depleted, this disease can appear that impairs the clotting process. .
Its manifestations they are intracranial, cutaneous, gastrointestinal, nasal bleeding, etc., which can lead to significant blood loss that put the infant’s life at risk in a matter of minutes.
This disease can be categorized into three main types:
- Early HDN: It develops in the first 24 hours of the baby’s life.
- Classic HDN: It is the most common, and manifests itself in the baby’s first week of life, mainly within the first three days.
- Late HDN: It manifests in the first two weeks of life, but can appear up to the third month. It commonly consists of intracranial hemorrhages with serious consequences, including death.
2. Why administer vitamin K to babies?
Babies have little of their own stores of vitamin K at birth, which makes them highly susceptible to life-threatening bleeding. Specifically, the deficiency of this vitamin induces a deficiency of coagulation factors II, VII, IX and X, which increases the chances that the baby will develop HDN.
However, the risk of developing this disease can be minimized with the administration of a single dose of vitamin K, usually intramuscularly in the thigh.
The vitamin K injection occurs right after birth. While full-term babies at 9 months’ gestation receive 1 mg of vitamin K, premature babies receive half.
The administration of vitamin K is carried out in a single dose, and it is preferable that it is carried out intramuscularly, although it is also susceptible to the oral route. This is because vitamin K has been proven to be most effective when taken this way.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.