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Vitamin K supplements in the newborn


Vitamin K is essential for the synthesis of blood clotting factors II, VII, IX and X.1 Newborn babies have little or no vitamin K; and, to prevent bleeding, supplements are commonly given at birth.2 A recent study suggests that supplements given by intramuscular injection, but not by mouth increase the risk of cancer in childhood.3 Are vitamin K supplements really necessary for newborn babies? If so, how should they be given?

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