Dr Rahul Sen | Specialist care for birth and beyond | Sydney, Australia

Rooms : Edgecliff 02 9363 9474
Macquarie Street 02 9221 2600

Caring For You and Your Baby

About Vitamin K

Vitamin K is a vitamin that naturally occurs in our bodies, which helps to clot the blood. After a baby is born it takes a few months for their liver to make enough Vitamin K to ensure their blood can clot properly. By giving your baby Vitamin K it makes sure they will have enough to clot their blood and can prevent a rare disorder, known as, haemorrhagic disease of the newborn (HDN). HDN can cause bleeding into the brain and could result in brain damage or, in extreme cases, even death.

Vitamin K can be given to your baby by injection or orally. Only one injection is required, however, oral dosage is more complicated. To give your baby Vitamin K orally you will need to make sure your baby has one dose at birth, one dose between three and five days after birth and another one in their fourth week of life. There are a few reasons babies may not be able to have Vitamin K orally, including if they are ill, if they are born prematurely or if you have had medication during your pregnancy for epilepsy, blood clots or tuberculosis.

One Vitamin K injection is enough to last your baby for months. They will only need one injection or one course of oral treatment. Vitamin K has been used in Australia for more than 25 years without any apparent side effects and has eradicated HDN. There was one study that suggested there could be a link between Vitamin K and childhood cancer, but this study has since been discredited.

It is your choice whether or not your baby is given Vitamin K. However, medical experts in Australia agree that babies should be given Vitamin K to prevent the very serious disease of HDN. Your baby will be given a Vitamin K within an hour or two after birth. If you would prefer your baby to have Vitamin K orally, please speak to me, and let your midwife know at the birth.

Maternity bras: Getting it right

Your breasts will grow throughout the pregnancy but mostly in the first 26 weeks and in the last few weeks of your pregnancy. It’s normal for your breasts to increase by at least a cup size so it is important to wear a comfortable (non maternity) bra at this time, sports bras may be an appropriate choice.

Underwire bras are not recommended as they can sometimes make your breasts feel uncomfortable and affect the way the milk ducts form. It’s a good idea to get a proper feeding bra fitted professionally around 36 weeks, The bras are generally bigger than normal allowing room for breast growth which will occur after your baby’s birth. Having a few inexpensive breastfeeding crop tops or singlets on hand may get you through the first few weeks after baby’s birth.

Many women have an oversupply of breastmilk that may last up to 6 weeks. Your breasts will then decrease in size yet still containing enough milk for your baby. Your breasts should generally remain that size for the duration of your breastfeeding time. 6-8 weeks postnatally may also be a good time to have a bra professionally fitted, particularly if you are getting upper back or neck pain.

Probotics

There is increasing evidence that the use of probiotics may help both you and the baby. Benefits for you include reduced risk of mastitis and improved bowel health, especially if you need antibiotics There may also benefits for your baby, especially if he or she is born early or if you need antibiotics.

The most promising probiotics for pregnant and breastfeeding women appear to be either Qiara or VSL. Qiara is available from selected pharmacies. VSL is only available online at this stage.