Benefits of knowing of Rhesus Factor.

Benefits of knowing of Rhesus Factor.

What is Rh factor?
Rh factor, also called Rhesus factor, is a type of protein found on the outside of red blood cells. The protein is genetically inherited (passed down from your parents). If you have the protein, you are Rh-positive. If you did not inherit the protein, you are Rh-negative. The majority of people, about 85%, are Rh-positive.

The picture above shows the proteins on the red blood cells. Any body who has these proteins as their red blood cells are Rhesus positive and those without it are Rhesus negative.

Why is Rh factor important?
This protein does not affect your overall health, but it is important to know your Rh status if you are pregnant. Rh factor can cause complications during pregnancy if you are Rh-negative and your child is Rh-positive.

What is Rh incompatibility?
Rh incompatibility occurs when a woman who is Rh-negative becomes pregnant with a baby with Rh-positive blood. With Rh incompatibility, the woman’s immune system reacts and creates Rh antibodies. These antibodies help drive an immune system attack against the baby, which the mother’s body views as a foreign object.

Who is at risk for Rh incompatibility?
A woman who is Rh-negative is at risk for Rh incompatibility when she becomes pregnant. Rh incompatibility happens only when the father of the baby is Rh-positive. 

What causes Rh incompatibility?
A difference in blood type between a pregnant woman and her child causes Rh incompatibility. Children may be Rh-positive if they inherit the protein from their father, even if their mother is Rh-negative.

The antibodies produced aren't a problem during the first pregnancy. The concern is with your next pregnancy. If your next baby is Rh positive, these Rh antibodies can cross the placenta and damage the baby's red blood cells. This could lead to life-threatening anemia, a condition in which red blood cells are destroyed faster than the baby's body can replace them. Red blood cells are needed to carry oxygen throughout the body.
If you're Rh negative, you might need to have another blood test — an antibody screen — during your first trimester, during week 28 of pregnancy and at delivery. The antibody screen is used to detect antibodies to Rh positive blood. If you haven't started to produce Rh antibodies, you'll likely need an injection of a blood product called Rh immune globulin. The immune globulin prevents your body from producing Rh antibodies during your pregnancy.

If your baby is born Rh negative, no additional treatment is needed. If your baby is born Rh positive, you'll need another injection shortly after delivery.

If you're Rh negative and your baby might be or is Rh positive, your health care provider might recommend an Rh immune globulin injection after situations in which your blood could come into contact with the baby's blood, including:

- Miscarriage

- Abortion

- Ectopic pregnancy — when a fertilized eggs implants somewhere outside the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube

- Removal of a molar pregnancy — a noncancerous (benign) tumor that develops in the uterus

- Amniocentesis — a prenatal test in which a sample of the fluid that surrounds and protects a baby in the uterus (amniotic fluid) is removed for testing or treatment

- Chorionic villus sampling — a prenatal test in which a sample of the wispy projections that make up most of the placenta (chorionic villi) is removed for testing

- Cordocentesis — a diagnostic prenatal test in which a sample of the baby's blood is removed from the umbilical cord for testing

- Bleeding during pregnancy

- Abdominal trauma during pregnancy

- The external manual rotation of a baby in a breech position — such as buttocks first — before labor

- Delivery

If the antibody screen shows that you're already producing antibodies, an injection of Rh immune globulin won't help. Your baby will be carefully monitored. He or she might be given a blood transfusion through the umbilical cord during the pregnancy or immediately after delivery if necessary.

From the chart above, if the woman is -ve and the man is +ve, the child could be either Rhesus positive or negative. Normally Rhesus immune globulin injection is given to prevent any form of complications.

The Rhesus immune globulin injections help to prevent the formation of antibodies.
It is very important, pregnant women patronize Antenatal.

What you can expect?
An Rh factor test is a basic blood test. The blood sample is usually taken during the first prenatal visit and sent to a lab for analysis. No special preparation is necessary.

If you're Rh positive, no action is needed.

If you're Rh negative and your baby is Rh positive, there's a potential for your body to produce antibodies that could be harmful during a subsequent pregnancy. If you have vaginal bleeding at any time during pregnancy, contact your health care provider immediately. Also, talk with your health care provider about scheduling an Rh immune globulin injection during your pregnancy.
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