Rhesus incompatibility is a condition that occurs during pregnancy if a woman has Rh-negative blood and her baby has Rh-positive blood. If you are Rhesus positive it means that you have rhesus factor on the surface of your red blood cell but if you are rhesus negative you have no rhesus factor. having rhesus factor or not doesn’t affect your health but it can cause problems in pregnancy. This is why the importance of knowing the blood group cannot be overemphasized. Below are what you should take note of as rhesus incompatibility is concerned.
- During conception blood from your baby can cross into the bloodstream especially during delivery and this can cause problems for both mother and child. If the mother is Rh-negative and the baby is Rh-positive, the maternal body reacts with the baby’s blood as a foreign substance rather than part of itself.
- The 50 percent babies takes after their father’s blood group. If you are a Rh-negative mother, it is important to inform your care givers during pregnancy or before delivery because you are at risk of rhesus incompatibility.
- A rhesus negative mother’s blood will produce antibodies against the Rh-positive blood of the infant during the first pregnancy but once the antibodies are developed before treatment this can cause problems in subsequent pregnancies. Antibodies stay in your body once they have formed. Thus, Rhesus incompatibility is more likely to cause problems in second or later pregnancies (if the baby is Rh-positive).it is important to be treated with each pregnancy or exposure to events that has introduced Rhesus positive blood.
- Rhesus immune globulin contains Rhesus antibodies that attach to the Rh-positive blood cells in your blood. When this happens, your body doesn’t react to the baby’s Rh-positive cells as a foreign substance. As a result, your body doesn’t make Rhesus antibodies. Rhesus immune globulin must be given at the correct times to work properly.
If you’re Rh-negative, your risk of problems from Rhesus incompatibility is higher if you were exposed to Rh-positive blood before your current pregnancy. This may have happened during:
- An earlier pregnancy (usually during delivery).
- Bleeding or abdominal trauma (for example, from a car accident) during the pregnancy.
- An ectopic pregnancy, a miscarriage, or an induced abortion. (An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that starts outside of the uterus, or womb.)
- A mismatched blood transfusion or blood and marrow stem cell transplant.
- An injection or puncture with a needle or other object containing Rh-positive blood.
- The Rhesus antibodies can cross the placenta and attack the baby’s red blood cells. This can lead to hemolytic anemia. This is a condition whereby red blood cells are destroyed rapidly as they formed and this can prevent the child from having access to oxygen which can pose more complications
- Most Rhesus disease can be prevented by treating the mother during pregnancy or promptly (within 72 hours) after childbirth. The mother has an intramuscular injection of anti-Rhesus antibodies (Rho(D) immune globulin). This is done so that the fetal rhesus D positive erythrocytes are destroyed before the immune system of the mother can discover them and become sensitized
- You must note that once you have formed Rhesus antibodies, Rhesus immunoglobulin will no longer Thus, a woman who has Rh-negative blood must be treated with Rhesus immune globulin during and after each pregnancy or after any other event that allows her blood to mix with Rh-positive blood.
- Early prenatal is important as this affords close monitoring by the doctor and to watch out out for signs of haemolytic anaemia in the newborn.