Since its initial discovery almost a century ago, vitamin K has been labeled as both lifesaving and malignancy causing. This has led to debate of not only its use in general but also regarding its appropriate dose and route. In this article, we review through a historical lens the past 90 years of newborn vitamin K from its discovery through to its modern use of preventing vitamin K deficiency bleeding (VKDB). Although researchers in surveillance studies have shown considerable reductions in VKDB following intramuscular vitamin K prophylaxis, ongoing barriers to the universal uptake of vitamin K prophylaxis remain. Reviewing the history of newborn vitamin K provides an opportunity for a greater understanding of the current barriers to uptake that we face. Although at times difficult, improving this understanding may allow us to address contentious issues related to parental and health professional beliefs and values as well as improve overall communication. The ultimate goal is to improve and maintain the uptake of vitamin K to prevent VKDB in newborns.

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