There are 3 newborn medications every mom should understand

  1. Erythromycin- an antibiotic ointment applied to both eyes treat a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that may have been contracted during labor and delivery.
  2. Vitamin K- helps to clot baby’s blood.
  3. Hepatitis B vaccine- the first of a series of 3 injections to prevent Hepatitis B infection.

So let’s understand better.

With Erythromycin, some moms may be unaware they have the STI, gonorrhea, so all babies are recommended to be treated at birth because untreated infection can lead to blindness. Treating babies eyes has been standard practice for over 100 years. But just because it’s standard does not mean you have to treat your baby. Talk to your provider about your baby’s specific risks and benefits.

A certain amount of Vitamin K is necessary in order for blood to clot in a newborn. Bacteria in the gut is required to decrease the possibility of hemorrhage in a newborn. Since babies are born with a sterile gut, the level of Vitamin K is insufficient making newborns susceptible to bleeding. Even a seemingly insignificant trauma can be fatal if Vitamin K is withheld. This medication is ALWAYS recommended.

Hepatitis B vaccine provides immunity with a series of 3 shots protecting a person for life against the disease. It is transmitted through blood and body fluids and because of this, most providers recommend the series be started right after or shortly after birth.

Verbal consent is all that is required to move forward with medication administration for your baby. And because these medications are standard practice in hospitals, you will not have to ask for it. However, understanding why medications are recommended BEFORE you deliver will allow you to make the best decision for your baby.