Rh-Negative Blood Awareness is one of the most important and critical issues that is often ignored. Many people aren’t even aware of their blood types. Others may be aware, but are unsure whether they are Rh+ or Rh-. We’ll discuss about all this today.
There are four main known blood types: A, B, AB, and O. In addition, each blood type has an Rh factor, or Rhesus factor, which is a protein found in your red blood cells. Your blood can be either RhD positive (+) if you have the protein, or RhD negative (-) if you do not.
Rh Negative to Pregnants
According to science, every pregnant woman gets the Rh factor test during each pregnancy. It’s one of the first and most important tests you’ll have. They usually get it in the first trimester unless they have vaginal bleeding. How many other tests they need to get depend on the results:
* Rh positive: You won’t need another test.
* Rh negative: You may get a test called an antibody screen to see if your blood has Rh antibodies. If you’re Rh negative and your baby is Rh positive, you might be likely to have a condition called RH factor incompatibility, which could be dangerous.
Rh Factor Incompatibility
Most of the time, being Rh-negative has no risks. But during pregnancy, being Rh-negative can be a problem if your baby is Rh-positive. If your blood and your baby’s blood mix, your body will start to make antibodies that can damage your baby’s red blood cells. This is known as Rh sensitization.
Rh sensitization is unlikely to harm the first Rh-positive baby that you carry, because you’ll rarely come into contact with your baby’s blood until labor and delivery, meaning the antibodies won’t be created until after birth.
But once you are Rh sensitized, the Rh antibodies stay in your system. If you get pregnant with another Rh-positive baby, your Rh antibodies will attack this baby’s blood while they’re growing inside you. This can cause Rh disease in your baby.
Rh disease causes hemolytic anemia, which destroys red blood cells faster than the body can create them. It can cause serious illness or even death for your baby.
If you’re Rh-negative and your baby is Rh-positive, try not to worry. At around 28 weeks, the doctor will give you a shot of Rh immunoglobulin (RhIG). This drug stops your body from making antibodies for the rest of your pregnancy. You may need a dose after delivery, too. If you get pregnant again later, you’ll need more shots of RhIG.
Let the doctor know if you have any spotting during pregnancy, especially if you’re Rh-negative. If you do, they may give you a shot of Rh immunoglobulin.
If you already have Rh antibodies, the drug won’t work. Instead, your doctor will keep a close watch on your baby’s health. Some babies need a blood transfusion after delivery. Others need one while they’re still in the womb.