What You Need to Know About Negative Blood Group and Pregnancy
One of the routine blood tests that you’ll have done in early pregnancy is a test to determine your blood group. Unless you’ve had major surgery or needed a blood transfusion, you might not know. But in pregnancy it’s important because your baby’s blood group may be different to yours. Let’s start off by understanding the different blood types and Rhesus factor.
What are the different blood types?
What is Rhesus factor?
Can a Rh negative mom have a positive baby?
Why is it important to know blood type and Rh factor?
Why does negative blood type affect pregnancy?
Are Rh antibodies dangerous?
Is there treatment available for Rh incompatibility?
Yes, there is. If this is your first pregnancy (and you test Rh negative) you can have a blood test to check if you have any antibodies. If you test negative (no antibodies) your care provider may recommend an injection called Rhogam which can be administered at 28 – 32 weeks of pregnancy to prevent your blood from creating antibodies. It’s important to know that Rhogam /Anti D is a sterilized solution made from human blood, which carries its own risks. If you choose not to have it, you can wait until your baby is born and only have the shot if your baby tests positive. If your baby is positive, you’ll be advised to have the injection within 72 hours of your baby being born to prevent your body from forming antibodies in subsequent pregnancy.
What if you test positive for antibodies?
If you test positive for antibodies during pregnancy, the injection is ineffective and your care provider will monitor your pregnancy more closely. The main concern is that your baby becomes anaemic while still in utero. This can be treated with a blood transfusion via the umbilical cord but this is rare. Most often you will carry to term but your baby may require specialist care in the NICU to treat the anaemia with IV fluids and phototherapy.
Knowing your blood group and that of your partner will help you to plan your care and assist you to make the right choices during pregnancy.
Want to know more?
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