Introduction Vitamin K deficiency bleeding remains a serious but preventable problem worldwide with a high risk of mortality or permanent disability especially among exclusively breastfeeding infants. This was a cross sectional hospital based study to determine the prevalence and describe the associated risk factors for vitamin K deficiency in mothers and their newborn babies which has not been reported from Africa before.
Methods Eligible Mothers delivering from April 2010 to August 2010 between 8 am and 8 pm were consecutively enrolled in the study with ethical clearance and informed consent. Specific maternal and newborn characteristics were assessed. 2 ml of maternal venous blood and neonatal cord blood were each collected at birth, processed and serum analysed for Protein Induced by Vitamin K Absence (PIVKA II). Vitamin K deficiency was defined as a detectable PIVKA II of greater than or equal to 0.2 AU/ml. The significance of association between various maternal and newborn characteristics with vitamin K deficiency was assessed using the Chi-squared (X2) test and the strength of association determined using univariate logistic regression.
Results Forty seven (33.3%) out of the 141 mothers in the study were vitamin K deficient. Up to 65% of the babies in the study had a detectable PIVKA II with 22% having clinically significant PIVKA II levels (> 5.0 AU/ml). Eating beans or fried foods less than five times a week was associated with lower odds of vitamin K deficiency in mothers (ORs = 0.46 and 0.13 respectively). These relationships were statistically significant (p-values 0.0380 and 0.003). We found no correlation between maternal and newborn vitamin K status.
Conclusions Vitamin K deficiency is highly prevalent among newborn babies and pregnant mothers in the population studied. The lack of correlation between maternal and newborn vitamin K status leaves routine vitamin K prophylaxis to all newborn babies at birth as the effective and preventive remedy to vitamin K deficiency bleeding in infants.
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