The Importance of a Postpartum Vitamin K Shot for Your CF Newborn

Because most CF newborns quickly become pancreatic insufficient, they quickly lose the ability to assimilate fat-soluble vitamins from their gut. One of the important fat-soluble vitamins is Vitamin K. Vitamin K must be processed in the gut, usually with the aid of friendly bacteria. Shortly after birth, your CF newborn's stores of Vitamin K are very low, and because of the CF, these are not likely to be augmented. This puts your CF newborn at risk for hemorrhage, as Vitamin K is crucial to the clotting of blood. It is possible for a CF newborn to experience serious hemorrhage, even hemorrhage of the brain. We know of a case of a perfectly healthy CF newborn who, without any severe trauma, developed a brain hemorrhage at 3 weeks of life and suffered permanent brain damage. It is thus very important for your CF newborn that they receive a postpartum Vitamin K shot. Even if you are not yet sure if your newborn has CF, get them the shot anyway until you find out!

Another important fact to keep in mind is that antibiotic use wipes out the friendly bacteria that help process Vitamin K in the gut. Your baby may suffer from Vitamin K-related hemorrhage after a course of antibiotics. One of our sons with CF experienced this phenomenon. He presented with huge, dark, quarter-sized bruises all over his torso. These bruises resolved themselves after intensive administration of intravenous Vitamin K in the hospital.