To make blood clot, our systems need the fat-soluble vitamin K. This little vitamin is especially important. It facilitates the production of prothrombin, a protein required for blood coagulation. Without it, even a little cut could bleed profusely and result in severe blood loss. Unfortunately, new-born babies have low vitamin K levels. They must therefore be given the same at birth. 

To prevent the deadly disease known as haemorrhagic disease of the new-born (HDN (Haemorrhagic Disease of the New-born)), also known as vitamin K deficiency bleeding (VKDB), it is crucial for new-borns. Connect to the best paediatrician in Hyderabad to know more about infant vitamin K deficiency.  Babies do not normally contain vitamin K. Unfortunately, nursing does not give infants enough vitamin protection against VKDB. Within the first week of life, this condition develops and can cause internal bleeding, lasting organ damage, and even death. Therefore, supplements should be given to new-borns to prevent a deficiency.  

Babies do not receive enough vitamin K because inadequate levels are passed through the placenta or breast milk during pregnancy. It is also produced by gut microorganisms in our bodies. New-borns, on the other hand, do not have enough gut flora to produce it. 

Vitamin K  

Vitamin K is classified into two types. Vitamin K1 is found in plants, particularly leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale (phylloquinone). Vitamin K2 is menaquinone, which works similarly to vitamin K1 and is naturally produced in the digestive tract. 

Vitamin K is required by the body to produce the proteins involved in blood clotting. If you are vitamin K deficient, your body does not produce enough of these proteins. Too much bleeding is a sign of vitamin K deficiency. Infants are much more likely to be deficient in vitamin K. In babies, the disorder is known as VKDB, or vitamin K deficiency bleeding. More information about vitamin K deficiency can be found below. Connect to a child specialist hospital to learn more about vitamin K deficiency, side effects of vitamin K and food to eat to improve the nutrient.  

Symptoms Of Vitamin K Deficiency in Infants  

The signs consist of the following: 

  • Your baby is prone to bruises. 
  • Bleeding from the umbilicus, the stomach, or the nose. 
  • Excessive bruising on the baby’s head and face. 
  • Irritation, pale skin and gums, and vomiting are all symptoms. 
  • If the infant is more than three weeks old and develops increasing jaundice. 

Risks of deficiency 
Breastfed babies are at risk of deficiency due to lower levels of vitamin K in breast milk and limited stores at birth. This can result in serious health problems, such as bleeding disorders, which can be fatal. If any severe conditions occur, contact one of the nearby Hyderabad children’s hospitals. 

Infants with vitamin K deficiency may be susceptible to vitamin K bleeding deficit, also known as VKDB, in which their blood lacks enough vitamin K to form a clot and cannot stop bleeding. Bleeding can happen both inside and outside the body. Internal bleeding sites can be challenging to locate. A child with VKDB may frequently bleed into the brain or intestines. The result could be damage to the brain. When vitamin K is not provided at birth, healthy infants can be prone to VKDB up to 6 months of age. Based on the baby’s age at which bleeding problems start, there are three types of VKDB: early, classical, and late.  

Why Do Infants Have Vitamin K In Low Levels?  

  1. Vitamin K deficiency In Breast Milk  

One of the primary reasons new-borns are deficient in vitamin K is that breastmilk naturally comprises lower levels of nutrients than formula. This is because the infant’s body cannot easily absorb vitamin K in breast milk. After all, it is present in the synthetic form. 

  1. Limited Vitamin K Stores at Birth 

Another reason breastfed babies have lower vitamin K levels is that they are born with limited nutrient stores. This is due to the difficulty in transferring vitamin K across the placenta during pregnancy. As a result, new-borns must rely on their reserves, and the vitamin K found in breast milk to meet their nutritional requirements. By consulting the best paediatrician in Hyderabad, a new-born’s vitamin K deficiency can be known.   

Which New-borns Are Most at Risk for Vitamin K Deficiency?  

Some infants may experience bleeding caused by deficiencies sooner than others: 

  • Babies who had respiratory problems during birth were not given enough oxygen. 
  • Babies delivered via forceps, ventouse, or caesarean section may have bruised. 
  • Babies whose mothers’ used anticoagulants, epilepsy medications, or tuberculosis medications while pregnant. 

Infants who have persistent jaundice symptoms, as well as those who have black urine and light stools. To get more knowledge regarding vitamin K deficiency in new-borns, consult the best child specialist doctor near you.  

Ways to Ensure Breastfed Babies Get Enough Vitamin K 

To make sure that breastfed babies get enough vitamin K, the mother must increase her intake of nutrients. This can be accomplished by consuming vitamin K-rich foods such as leafy greens, broccoli, and cauliflower. Additionally, some healthcare providers may advise breastfed babies to take a vitamin K supplement to ensure they get enough.

An intramuscular vitamin K injection at delivery is the most effective strategy for preventing low levels of vitamin K and VKDB in neonates. The level of vitamin K for the new-born is recommended by the specialists, as is the dose required. Parents should be informed by their healthcare providers about the risks of not getting enough vitamin K.  

The Bottom Line  

Adult vitamin K deficiency is extremely rare, as everyone gets enough vitamin K from their diet. If a deficiency develops and is not treated, it can lead to excessive bleeding. Some problems, such as excessive bleeding, can be avoided in infants by giving vitamin K at birth. In addition, a diet rich in vitamin K-containing foods can help prevent vitamin K deficiency. 

While breastmilk is thought to be the best food for babies, mothers should be aware that it may not contain enough vitamin K. Mothers can help to make sure that their breastfed new-borns receive the necessary amount of this nutrient by increasing their intake and considering supplements. Consult the best paediatrician in Hyderabad to learn more about infant vitamin K deficiency.