Skip to main content Help with accessibility

The importance of vitamin K for you and your baby

Vitamin K in pregnancy


Discover why Vitamin K is key

Because vitamin K is essential for blood clotting, it’s important to make sure you and your baby get enough in preparation for labour and the recovery afterwards. Although vitamin K deficiency is rare, an injection is given to all babies just after they’re born to minimise this risk.


Why is vitamin K so important?

As well as being needed for healthy bone development and protein formation in the liver, vitamin K plays a key role in blood clotting1, enabling wounds to heal properly. This is particularly important during labour and just after you’ve given birth, when your body is recovering and starting to heal2. Sufficient levels of vitamin K are also crucial for your baby immediately after birth and, while vitamin K deficiency in babies is very rare, it can lead to a condition that increases their risk of bleeding too much2.

“Vitamin K plays a key role in blood clotting, which helps wounds heal properly.”

Vitamin K and your pregnancy diet

Fortunately, it should be easy to get all the vitamin K that you and your baby need from a healthy, well-balanced diet. And because it’s fat-soluble, your body can build up stores in the liver, ready for when you need it. More good news is that the nutrient content of vitamin K-rich foods isn’t usually affected by cooking.

“Vitamin K is readily available from many foods so, if you eat a well-balanced diet, you’re probably getting enough.”

Vitamin K is stored in the body so you don't need to consume it every day.

How much vitamin K do you need?

The amount of vitamin K you need depends on your size: you need around 1mcg per kg of body weight per day. So if you weigh 65kg, you need 65mcg of vitamin K per day1.

Some medical conditions can affect your ability to absorb nutrients, and if there’s a risk you may not be getting enough vitamin K, you may need to take a supplement. If you’re concerned about this, consult your doctor or healthcare practitioner first, as taking a supplement unnecessarily can affect your baby3.

 As well as being needed for healthy bone development and protein formation in the liver, vitamin K plays a key role in blood clotting1, which enables wounds to heal properly.

Protecting your baby with vitamin K at birth

Although a significant deficiency is unlikely, babies are sometimes born with low vitamin K levels. They’ll usually be given a booster injection shortly after they’re born, just to be on the safe side4. If you don’t like the idea of your baby being injected, they can have an oral dose instead.

Foods rich in vitamin K

As well as being needed for healthy bone development and protein formation in the liver, vitamin K plays a key role in blood clotting, enabling wounds to heal properly.

Next Steps

Add these sources of vitamin K to your diet:

  • Cereals1
  • Meat and dairy foods1
  • Green leafy vegetables like watercress and spinach1
  • Vegetable oils, e.g. soya1

View references

Hide references

drop down arrow

1. NHS UK. Vitamin K [Online]. 2012. Available at: [Accessed June 2014]

2. Shahrook S et al. Vitamin K supplementation during pregnancy for improving outcomes. The Cochrane Library, 2014.

3. Stazi AV, Mantovani A. A risk factor for female fertility and pregnancy: celiac disease. Gynecoll Endocrinol 2000;14(6):454-463.

4. Puckett RM, Offringa M. Prophylactic vitamin K for vitamin K deficiency bleeding in neonates. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 4, 2000.

Last reviewed: 18th August 2014
Pregnant mum


Pregnant mum

Join over 400,000 expectant and new mums and enjoy:

  • Expert advice from midwives and nutritionists
  • Emails tailored to your stage of development
  • Exclusive competitions and money off coupons

Join the club

Zinc in pregnancy steak gammon header

Zinc in pregnancy

Zinc affects your baby’s development at a cellular level. Learn what it does, how it supports your own health, and how to get it.

Learn more
Care Team

For advice on foods to avoid in pregnancy, to preparing for your labour

Our expert team of midwives, nutritionists and feeding advisors are here to answer your questions. Just get in touch.
Call us on 0800 996 1000


Join Aptaclub on Facebook

Like our Facebook page to join the thousands of mums-to-be and new mums who are discussing and sharing their experiences.


Feel prepared with our free mobile app

Our free Preparing for Birth mobile app has practical tools & expert advice helping you feel prepared for the birth of your baby.


Aptaclub on Instagram

Follow us on Instagram for educational, inspirational posts celebrating your pregnancy and parenting journey.

Superfoods for pregnancy blueberries header

Superfoods for pregnancy

Are superfoods really super? Learn what’s behind the name and which nutrient-dense foods are a healthy addition to your pregnancy diet.

Learn more
Pregnancy nutrients for a healthy future

Pregnancy nutrients for a healthy future

Your pregnancy diet has a profound impact on your baby’s health. Learn how some nutrients support your baby’s health long into the future.

Learn more
Understanding LCPs: Omega 3 and 6 fish header

Omega 3 & 6: Fatty Acids in Pregnancy

Omega 3 and 6 support your baby’s developing brain and heart. Read about the other benefits of these LCPs and how to get a healthy balance.

Learn more
Your pregnancy diet: fruit and vegetables greens header

Your pregnancy diet: Fruit and vegetables

Fruit and veg are packed with nutrients that support your baby’s development.

Learn more

WhatsApp Welcome to Careline via WhatsApp

Our experts are available to chat Monday - Friday, 8am-8pm, excluding bank holidays.

By clicking start, you will open a new chat in your WhatsApp app with our Careline team.


Having trouble?

If you're having issues sending the Careline a message via WhatsApp, please try calling us on 0800 996 1000 instead.