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Can I refuse the newborn vitamin K injection?

I'm 33 weeks and ever since I learned that newborns are routinely given a Hep B vaccination and Vitamin K injection, it hasn't sat well with me. I know that I can postpone the Hep B vaccine but can the vitamin K injection be refused? I just really don't think it will be necessary, I'm planning on a natural childbirth and I plan on breastfeeding. The vitamin K is in the colostrum, so why is the injection necessary? Also what about that goop they put on the baby's eyes. Is that necessary and if not is it something I can refuse. We live in Illinois if that helps.

Thank you.


Bowie, I actually do believe in immunizations, I just don't see any reason to subject a newborn to pain or unecessary tests and injections. I also want to know exactly what my child is being given and why it's being's called being responsible.

Update 2:

Also I never said I was going to refuse the eye goop. I asked what it was and if it's necessary....obviously it is so I won't be refusing it.

Update 3:

I've done the research on vitamin K thank you very much. I am asking if I can refuse it..I really don't care what any of you think about it.

BTW I'm a Republican so please quit the hippie insults, it's immature.

19 Answers

  • Lisa
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    You need to find the specific statute (law) for Illinois, regarding newborn eye prophylaxis and vitamin K injection. The nurses will give you a hard time unless you bring in a copy of the law to show them, if there is indeed a choice. There probably is, at least for religious beliefs, which nobody can question. Then you will need to have someone watching over the nurses like a hawk, because they give those things routinely without even thinking, and it happens REALLY fast.

    The antibiotic used these days in the eyes is erythromycin. It is necessary only if you have gonorrhea. You have most likely been tested for that. If you haven't, get the test now. Unnecessary antibiotics are always a bad idea, especially for a newborn baby. If you don't have gonorrhea, the eye antibiotic is unnecessary.

    The vitamin K injection has been linked to childhood leukemia. Nobody knows why newborns are born with low levels of vitamin K. Humans always think they know better than nature, but there may very well be a reason why nature does this. If there's been head trauma during the birth such as vacuum extraction or forceps delivery, then that may be something you would want. But otherwise, my opinion is that the risks outweigh the benefits. To increase the baby's vitamin K naturally, you could eat a lot of vitamin K rich foods during pregnancy. An alternative to the vitamin K shot is oral vitamin K. I don't think hospitals carry that. I think that is something you would have to get on your own, ahead of time. I don't think the oral vitamin K carries the same risks of childhood leukemia that the shot does. If the shot is required by law, you'd still need to claim an exemption even if you wanted to do oral vitamin K. I don't even know if the nurses would agree to administer the oral vitamin K if you brought it in. You'd probably have to do it yourself. I know that often midwives prefer oral vitamin K to the shot. I chose to do no vitamin K at all for my babies.

    The hepatitis B vaccine should be postponed until puberty, when there's an actual possibility your child could catch it from sex or drug use. You can get an exemption to school vaccine requirements.

    Yes, and what "Cohen's mum" said about delayed cord clamping. This is very important! The doctor almost always clamps the cord right after birth, and this denies the baby the circulating blood it needs. Please discuss this with your doctor, and remind him again and again, so he doesn't forget. Every extra minute helps! Clamping is different than cutting. The cutting comes later, and don't let the doctor confuse you between the two.

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  • 1 decade ago

    The vitamin K is intended to prevent a catastrophic illness that occurs in about 1 in 10,000 babies. It is a birth defect of the liver that results in massive brain bleeds due to its inability to produce clotting factor. Vitamin K 100% prevents the early and more often fatal form of this illness. In addition, it appears to reduce deaths and injuries from intracranial bleeds from other causes. There is no way to identify which baby may have this illness. In Australia, they allowed moms to choose the drops instead of the injection. Now 2 children, who had the illness, are permanently damaged as a result of not getting the injection. Therefore, they no longer permit the drops to be used. Formula, with added vit. K does not prevent early onset disease, which is why all infants receive the injection.

    I have a disease that only 1 in 250,000 people get. As a result, I lost eyesight in one eye and every day, wonder if I will wake up blind in the other. It sucks to be the unlucky person.

    The goop in the baby's eyes is an antibiotic ointment. The law states that it is to prevent infection in the infant's eyes by gonorrhea and chlamydia. If you don't have either of these, the ointment is unnecessary. The argument about 'other bacteria' is just garbage in, garbage out. Doctors, however, are stuck by the law, so push for it. They also can't understand why one would object to the ointment.

    Yes, you can refuse both. The hospital will be required to contact CPS and they will come and talk to you about why you are refusing. They are not going to take your baby away, but some are downright rude. Ask them to show you the law (it helps if you have a copy of it). In some states, there is no law - it is merely accepted policy to do so. Don't be intimidated.

    I expect to be having a repeat c-section. I'm fine with the Vit K shot, but no ointment and no Hep B.

    Poster THREENORNS - your link with information is out of date. There are several studies that have already shown that neither drops or even formula (which has Vit K) will prevent early onset disease. Increased Vit K in breastfeeding mom will likely prevent latent disease (which can occur as late as 1 year old).

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  • 1 decade ago

    You can refuse each and every one of those things. Depending on your state or your hospital policy, you may have to sign a waiver stating that you don't want these things done. But word of mouth may work to. That's all I had to do.

    Vit K - you are correct. Your baby will get that from you, and the shot isn't necessary.

    Hep B - unless your newborn will be shooting up or having unprotected sex anytime soon, this isn't needed either. They started being routinely given to protect baby from getting Hep B from the mother. But if you don't have it, your baby doesn't need it. I find it very presumptuous and rude that my child would be automatically vaxxed against something that I know I don't carry and won't be contracting.

    The eye stuff - it used to be Silver Nitrate, but I cannot remember what it's made up of anymore. It also is NOT necessary. It is also a preemptive strike against a disease in the mother. I'm 90% sure it's for gonorrhea, but it might be chlamydia. Either way, the 'drops' are given to prevent the STD in the mother's vagina from causing blindness in the baby. However, they also want to give these drops to babies born via Cesarean. Who knows. . .

    But you can absolutely refuse. And don't let any nurses try to make you feel bad about it. If they get upset, it's probably because they wish that they had been as informed and researched when they themselves had their own children. I know that was the case with the nurse when I had our son.

    Source(s): BTDT
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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    You can refuse vitamin K, or you can get oral drops if you prefer.

    Technically in some places you can not refuse the drops -however many times the law says "any suitable agent to prevent infection" which would include breast milk as it has been shown to kill gonorrhea and other infectious agents. Or if you have a nice midwife or doctor they just "miss" when they put the drops in and write in the chart it was done.

    Administration of Vitamin K to Newborns

    Midwife Informed Consent for Vitamin K

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  • 4 years ago

    the pro's are bound to say that. nearly every baby in the UK has it, and as 99% are having it, im sure that some of them end up with childhood luekemia and its not linked at all. the vit k jab is to help the liver out as when ur born its kinda not ready to work so needs the booster! plus EVERYTHING they do to the baby has risks. if u're really super worried about it y dnt u google it? (trator to yahoo!) one more thing, to the person who put the warnings and uses of vit k. thats in adult doses, not baby, and also, go look at the leaflet u get with paracetamol or asprin?! they apparently can make ur hair fall out, give u cancer, cardiac arrest, etc, but have u ever got these things from every day pain killer? no. the reason they put the warnings there is bcuz ther culd b a 1 : 1000000 chance of ur hair falling out. same with the vit k jab. any risks are going to be so small that the pros of having the jab will out weigh the cons.

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  • 1 decade ago

    It is your option to refuse but you should discuss the process of refusal with your doctor ahead of time so you know the right procedure for refusal at your hospital. Make sure your diet contains plenty of vitamin K while you are breastfeeding.

    It is kind of hard to fight the doctors on procedure changes when you are actually in labor or just finished labor. You are very tired and addled. You need to make these decisions ahead of time, consult with doctor on why or why not to do it, make decision yourself (don't let doctor make it for you) and then you need to enlist someone else e.g. husband or whoever will be there with you to help make it happen and protect your decisions. It's hard to do it yourself.

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  • 1 decade ago

    you can refuse the Hep B shot and i strongly recommend you do. i think it's disgusting, the amount of crap they want to stab into our babies!

    heres' an article on the vitamin K shot, including updated information about the controversy surrounding its supposed link with cancer:

    "The Numbers

    Extracting data from available literature reveals that there are 1.5 extra cases of leukemia per 100,000 children due to vitamin K injections, and 1.8 more permanent injuries or deaths per 100,000 due to brain bleeding without injections. Adding the risk of infection or damage from the injections, including a local skin disease called "scleroderma" that is seen rarely with K injections,8 and even adding the possibility of healthy survival from leukemia, the scales remain tipped toward breastfed infants receiving a prophylactic vitamin K supplementation. However, there are better options than the .5 or 1 milligram injections typically given to newborns."

    there's more, including suggested alternatives.

    the drops in the eyes are to prevent blindness that can result from bacterial infection picked up during delivery.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Good for you for doing the research! :) Far too many parents are just sheep and blindly obey the doctors!

    I just had my second child 2 months ago, and she did not have the Hep B shot (NOT a necessary childhood vaccine by any means unless mom has Hep B), the Vitamin K shot or the antibiotic eye drops. The eye drops are something to consider if you have STDs, but since I do thanks. :) I never had anyone at the hospital questioning my decisions; they just had me sign a waiver.

    I hate seeing the ignorance and rudeness here. Whatever happened to freedom of choice? Parental rights?? THINKING OUTSIDE THE TINY MAINSTREAM BOX THAT IS "NORMAL?" Ugh, so frustrating....

    Source(s): Mommy of 2
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  • 1 decade ago

    you can refuse anything you want just make sure you put what you don't want done in writing when you sign your release form otherwise it will be done almost as soon as your baby is born without them asking you anything

    the goop is to prevent eye infections

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  • 1 decade ago

    The "goop" is to prevent infection in the eyes because they are very susceptible to infection after birth.

    The amount of Vitamin K in breastmilk is too low to prevent bleeding diseases (which are what the Vitamin K injection prevents). Not enough Vitamin K can lead to internal bleeding, including bleeding in the brain. It's a single dose of Vitamin K that is potentially life saving.

    There have been no proven risks with the injection, so why not just let the doctors do what they know is good for your baby?

    Don't risk your child's health. That's all I'm saying.

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