Vitamin K: the stories behind the evidence

“Some of the most frequently asked questions [on the topic of vitamin K] can only truly be answered with reference to story and context. Why do we not have better evidence on the most effective dose of oral vitamin K? (Because it hasn’t been a research priority, and so we can only guess that is it somewhere between the dose that was shown to be effective and the dose that was shown to not be effective enough). Why don’t we have more evidence on possible alternatives? (Perhaps because those who fund research find it difficult to see outside the ‘it works and improves short-term physical outcomes, so let’s give it to everyone’ paradigm?) Why do we still see so many websites which tell women that babies who had instrumental births are at higher risk of VKDB? (Because that was what we thought at one time, but when we checked it out, we found that wasn’t the case, but unfortunately that news didn’t get around so lots of people are still giving out-of-date information). So many stories. So much that we can learn about the wider context of our knowledge, if we are open to that.”

Sara Wickham

Find out everything you need to know about vitamin K; why it’s offered to newborn babies, why are there different viewpoints on it and what do parents need to know in order to make the decision that is right for them and their baby?

I’ve just written an article for Midwifery Today which tells some of the ‘stories behind the evidence’ in relation to how our knowledge has changed in relation to vitamin K. I wanted to better help people to understand the issues behind the headlines. This is SO important when it comes to vitamin K, as you’ll already know if you’ve read my book or heard me speak on this, because the issues are complex, our knowledge is limited and we have to consider how politics, economics and cultural forces have impacted upon the issues and the evidence. If you’d like to find out more about the book that inspired this article, click here.


Wickham S (2018). Vitamin K and the Newborn: The stories behind the evidence. Midwifery Today, Autumn 2018, 127: 46-47.



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