Bleeding in the brain over the first two weeks after birth is rare. It occurs in about 1 in 10,000 babies and is the result of pressure on the baby’s brain during the delivery. If it does happen, it can cause severe brain injury.
In the US, your baby will routinely be given a Vitamin K shot in the thigh shortly after birth in order to prevent such bleeding. Vitamin K is an essential vitamin in blood clotting.
Some early studies suggested that this Vitamin K shot might lead to leukemia, a blood cancer, later in life. Later and larger studies have not shown this association.
The American Academy of Pediatrics continues to recommend a Vitamin K shot at birth since an intracranial bleed can be very dangerous and the risk of leukemia is unproven and unlikely.
Some people feel that oral Vitamin K might help to prevent bleeds just as effectively as the shot, but some studies indicate that the shot remains superior.