What you need to know if you are Rhesus negative and pregnant…

HERE IS WHAT HAPPENS IN YOUR BODY WHEN YOU ARE RHESUS NEGATIVE AND PREGNANT WITH RHESUS POSITIVE BABY…

FIRST PREGNANCY

-When your blood is exposed to your baby’s blood (through miscarriage, trauma or during childbirth), your body produces antibodies called Anti-D. These antibodies stay in your blood stream, ready to attack any Rh positive blood cell they come in contact with.
-These antibodies are mostly produced during childbirth, so your first baby is NOT affected because he would have been delivered before the antibodies reach him.

SUBSEQUENT PREGNANCIES

-If your second baby is also Rh positive, the antibodies you produced earlier will recognize this baby as another “invader”.
-The second wave of antibodies develop more rapidly in large quantities, cross the placenta, attack your baby’s blood cells and break them down.
-This results in something called haemolytic disease of the newborn. The breaking down of the blood cells produces a toxic substance called bilirubin and this manifests as jaundice at birth.

-Before birth though, the baby may develop heart failure due to anaemia, and consequently, fluid accummulation in the lungs and under the skin. This is a condition called Fetal hydrops. The baby may die in the womb or shortly after birth.

Scary right?!

Note – In advanced centers, the baby can be treated successfully while still in the womb. Or, they can deliver the baby prematurely to stop the progression of this condition.

The good news is that, all of those can be prevented if you receive Anti-D injection or Rhogam during pregnancy and shortly after childbirth.

How does Anti-D injection work?

Find out in my next post!

Doctor KT.

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