I am sure you all know the blood group always come with a sign either positive or negative. We have A+, A-, B+, B-, AB+, AB-, O+ and finally, the almighty O-. The sign stands for the presence or absence of a protein known as the Rhesus protein. A greater percentage of the population has it in their blood. Having or not having this protein doesn’t really affect our everyday lives or the choice of who to marry unlike our genotypes but it comes to play during pregnancy.
Let’s take a little look at Rhesus factor, incompatibility and prevention.
Rh incompatibility is a condition that occurs during pregnancy if a woman has Rh-negative blood and her baby has Rh-positive blood. This can happen when a woman without the Rhesus factor on her red blood cells get married to a man who is Rhesus positive and conceives a child who is rhesus positive (it is hereditary, like almost every other thing, Lol).
Your body will create antibodies (proteins) against the baby’s Rh-positive blood. These antibodies usually don’t cause problems during a first pregnancy. This is because the baby often is born before many of the antibodies develop.
However, the antibodies stay in your body once they have formed. Therefore, Rh incompatibility is more likely to cause problems in second or later pregnancies (if the baby is Rh-positive) because the antibodies are fully developed and ready to fight (Mhen! Life shouldn’t be that hard).
The Rh antibodies can cross the placenta and attack the baby’s red blood cells. This can lead to hemolytic anemia in the baby, a condition in which red blood cells are destroyed faster than the body can replace them. Red blood cells carry oxygen to all parts of the body.
Without enough red blood cells, your baby won’t get enough oxygen. This can lead to serious problems. Severe hemolytic anemia may even be fatal to the child.
With prompt and proper prenatal care and screening, you can prevent the problems of Rh incompatibility. (See why antenatal classes are important. They are simply lifesaving, right?)
Injections of a medicine called Rh immune globulin, commonly known as Rhogam (That’s what i know it as. Nobody is an island of knowledge as it is) can keep your body from making Rh antibodies. This medicine helps prevent the problems of Rh incompatibility. If you’re Rh-negative, you’ll need this medicine every time you have a baby with Rh-positive blood.
Other events also can expose you to Rh-positive blood, which could affect a pregnancy. Examples include a miscarriage or blood tranfusion. If you’re treated with Rh immune globulin right after these events, you may be able to avoid Rh incompatibility. Cases of untreated rhesus incompatibility leads to having several miscarriages after the first issue which may be the only issue.
As they say, little drops of water…(you can complete that). Later guys !