Refusal of Vitamin K by Parents of Newborns: A Qualitative Study

Jaspreet Loyal, Theresa R. Weiss, Jessica H. Cheng, Laura Kair, Eve Colson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: Despite American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations, some parents refuse intramuscular (IM)vitamin K as prophylaxis against vitamin K deficiency bleeding for their newborns. The purpose of our study was to describe attitudes and perceptions of parents who choose to defer IM vitamin K for their newborns. Methods: Using qualitative methodology, we conducted in-depth semi-structured interviews with parents of newborns in 3 hospitals in Connecticut and California. We used the grounded theory approach and the constant comparative method until saturation was reached. Results: Nineteen participants (17 mothers and 2 fathers)of 17 newborns were interviewed; 14 newborns did not receive IM vitamin K due to refusal by the parents, and for 3 newborns IM vitamin K administration was delayed due to initial hesitation by the parents. Four major themes emerged: 1)risk-to-benefit ratio, where parents refused IM vitamin K due to a perceived risk to their newborn from preservatives, for example; 2)“natural” approaches, which led to seeking oral vitamin K or increasing the mother's own prenatal dietary vitamin K intake; 3)placement of trust and mistrust, which involved mistrust of the medical and pharmaceutical community with overlapping concerns about vaccines and trust of self, like-minded allopathic and non-allopathic health care providers, the social circle, the internet, and social media; and 4)informed by experiences, reflecting hospital experiences with prior pregnancies and communication with health care providers. Conclusions: Parents’ perception of risk, preference for alternative options, trust, and communication with health care providers were pivotal factors when making decisions about IM vitamin K.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAcademic Pediatrics
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Keywords

  • newborns
  • parent perspectives
  • vitamin K refusal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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