This post grew out of a desire to make things a lot easier for visitors to this site by writing a few posts which group together articles on topics that I get asked about a lot, which will then make them easier to find via the search facility 😀 So here follow a collection of links to articles and resources that I have authored on the subject of vitamin K, which I initially became interested in thanks to a friend who was passionate about this area…
The first article that I wrote about vitamin K was published in Midwifery Today in 2001 and was called Vitamin K: a flaw in the blueprint?, where the title reflected the ideological and practical question that most interested me at the time; that of whether nature had really ‘got it wrong’. (This then generated some debate in MIDIRS Midwifery Digest, led by paediatrician Edmund Hey, which I have discussed in my latest article.) I continue to be interested in this ideological question, especially as vitamin K really does seem to be the proverbial sledgehammer to crack a nut. Several thousand babies need to be given vitamin K in order to prevent each case of vitamin K deficiency bleeding (or VKDB; a disorder formerly known as haemorrhagic disease of the newborn). Unfortunately, there is little research interest (as is so often the case) in questions about how we might be able to pick out the babies who are truly at risk rather than giving it as universal prophylaxis and whether and how it might be possible to increase available vitamin K through maternal diet or other factors.
In 2003, we published the AIMS booklet, Vitamin K and the Newborn, which can be purchased directly from AIMS in paper form or via Amazon for the kindle here. This was designed to help parents understand the issues, the decision, the research that related to it and, as above, the huge gaps that existed in our knowledge.
My interest in this area continued, and I think it was probably the work I had undertaken on vitamin K that had inspired my wider interest in the concept of prophylaxis, which I have lectured on a fair bit in the past few years. Two short articles that I published in The Practising Midwife in 2005 in which I mentioned vitamin K were (admittedly in some of my less inspirational article titling moments) called Deconstructing Prophylaxis Part 1 and Deconstructing Prophylaxis Part 2.
In 2008, I wrote directly about vitamin K again in response to the publication of a study showing the wide variation in practice in this area in the UK – Vitamin K: the chaos continues. I next wrote about vitamin K in relation to a point I wanted to make about The Age of Research in an article for AIMS Journal. In this article, I argued that older research and reviews could still be of value, for lots of reasons, and I used the 2003 vitamin K booklet as an example of an older work that wasn’t necessarily out-of-date. The fact that I had stated in this article that very little had changed our understanding since 2013 in turn inspired my 2013 update on vitamin K, in which I explored this claim more fully. I hope that this collection of links might prove useful to someone one day 😀