Maternal and infant characteristics by mode of vitamin K prophylaxis administration


  • Disclosure of interest: The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

  • Funding for this work and for Amina Khambalia is by an Australian NHMRC Capacity Building Grant (#573122), Christine Roberts by a NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship (#457078) and Natasha Nassar by a NHMRC Career Development Award (#632955).

Dr Amina Z Khambalia, Kolling Institute of Medical Research, Building 52, University of Sydney, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, Sydney, NSW 2065, Australia. Fax: +61 2 9906 6742; email:


Aim:  The aim of this study was to compare maternal and infant characteristics by mode of VK administration.

Methods:  De-identified computerised birth files of all babies born in New South Wales (NSW), Australia between January 2007 and December 2009 (when VK prophylaxis was measured) were included in the present study. The outcome variable, mode of VK prophylaxis, was recorded by checkbox as oral, IM injection, none or not stated.

Results:  We analysed population-based birth data from 2007 to 2009 in NSW, Australia and found that IM injection was the most prevalent mode of administration (96.3%, n = 263, 555), followed by oral (2.6%, n = 7023) and none (1.2%, n = 3136). Compared to neonates receiving IM VK, those with oral or none were more likely to have vaginal births without medical interventions at birth centres or planned home births and were less likely to receive hepatitis B vaccination. Among neonates administered oral VK, a larger proportion were preterm births and breastfed at discharge compared to neonates administered VK as an IM injection. Neonates with no VK recorded were more likely to be admitted to neonatal intensive care, but may have received VK later in the birth admission.

Conclusions:  A small proportion of the Australian neonates may be at risk of inadequate protection from VKBD due to parental concerns about the safety of IM injection of VK to neonates.