Making an informed decision about Vitamin K

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Pregnancy is a really exciting time. A creative, bonding and blossoming time. But it's also a time where families need to make a lot of decisions, including decisions about the health and well-being of their child. One of those decisions will be whether or not their newborn will receive a Vitamin K injection at birth. To keep this in perspective, in the grand scheme of life it is a small decision. After all, it is only one vitamin. However, it is important that this decision is an informed one because it contains risks and benefits for the newborn.

When making an informed decision during pregnancy, BRAN is a very useful tool. This can be used when you discuss your options about a medical decision with your LMC or when doing your own research on a topic. When choosing whether or not your baby will receive a Vitamin K injection, this is what BRAN may look like:

-Benefits. What are the pro's if our baby receives a Vitamin K injection?

-Risks. What con's come with giving our newborn an injection? What risks does the product itself have? Can very high doses of Vitamin K negatively impact on stem cell transfer? Which babies are most at risk of Hemorrhagic Disease of the Newborn (HDN)?

-Alternatives. What are our choices? Would oral Vitamin K be suitable for our newborn?

-No/nothing. We have the option of declining a Vitamin K injection. Or perhaps we might need to ask for more information and time to help us make an informed decision.

The most important thing to remember is that this is your decision. Don't take your ability to make informed decisions about your newborn's health and well-being for granted. Spend time doing your research and ask your LMC for information on Vitamin K. Then feel proud that you made the best decision you could at the time, with the information you had. What more could you ask of yourself than that?

Here's some good articles to get you started on your decision making journey:

Vitamin K: An alternative perspective by Dr Sara Wickham

Vitamin K Video Series by Evidence Based Birth

Code of Health & Disability Services Consumer Rights

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