One of the earliest tests done during pregnancy is testing for the mum-to-be’s blood group to determine whether she is Rh-positive or Rh-negative. Basically, this means whether you fall in an + (positive) or – (negative) blood group. Before I fell pregnant, I didn’t know what my blood group was and certainly had no idea what the Rhesus factor was. It was explained to me that when a pregnant woman is Rh–negative and her baby is Rh–positive, it’s called Rh incompatibility.During pregnancy, problems can occur if you’re Rh negative and your baby is Rh positive.
At my scheduled antenatal appointment, I was told about my blood group (O negative) and how it could possibly affect me during pregnancy. My doctor took her time to reassure me that having an RH-negative blood group won’t be a problem so long as I follow certain precautions.
Tests show Rh- incompatibility – what now?
So here are some facts: if the blood of a Rh-positive baby gets into the bloodstream of their Rh-negative mum, her body will understand it’s not her blood and will fight it by making anti-Rh antibodies. These antibodies can cross the placenta and try to destroy the baby’s blood. This reaction can lead to serious health problems and even death in a baby or newborn.
However, health problems usually do not occur during a Rh-negative woman’s first pregnancy with an Rh-positive babybecause her body does not have a chance to develop a lot of antibodies. But if precautionary treatment is not given during the first pregnancy and the woman later gets pregnant with a Rh-positive baby, she can make more antibodies. More antibodies put a future baby at risk.
The good news is thanks to highly advanced medicine today, doctors have found a preventative way of stopping your body from forming antibodies, making all future pregnancies safe “phew”.
The Rh immunoglobulin will be injected into you twice during pregnancy, first at around 28 weeks of pregnancy and second at 72 hours after baby’s birth. This stops your cells from generating the antibodies that may attack any future pregnancies, should you have another baby that is has a Rh-positive blood group.
So, this leaves us with the question; do we always need to have the injections? Well, of course not. In some cases, for example when you and your husband both have the Rh-negative blood groups, your baby will naturally have a Rh-negative blood group too, which means your body won’t treat your baby as a foreign entity.
On the other hand, if your baby’s blood group is Rh-negative like yours, you also wouldn’t need to have the injections. It’s common practice in some parts of Europe to have the baby’s blood tested if the mother is found to have a Rh-negative blood group. This isn’t the case in Dubai unfortunately, however at a price there is a way to get this done.
It’s a non-invasive test known as the Fetal Rhesus D-status in maternal blood test. Its 99% accurate and for the cost of AED 1200 you will have the result of your baby’s blood group in 7-10days.
For me, it was a no brainer to do this test before going down the preventative route. This doesn’t guarantee that you wouldn’t need to have the Rh immunoglobulin injections but, in some cases, if you’re as lucky as we were, you wouldn’t have to. Our little baby girl turned out to have an O Negative blood group like her Mum!
Written by British mum and Recruitment Director at Calvin James Recruitment, Sheila Lee-Pickett.
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