Rh Incompatibility During Pregnancy

Rh Incompatibility During Pregnancy Pregnancy is a joyous moment in the life of a woman. During this time, women become more careful about their diet and lifestyle. However, pregnant moms are often unaware that to ensure safe pregnancy they should screen their blood groups. The rhesus factor of the blood plays an important role during pregnancy.

Importance of Rhesus factor during pregnancy
Rhesus factor is a specific protein present in the red blood cells, which we inherit from our parents. If this protein is present in the blood, it is known as Rh positive. You will be Rh negative, if this protein is missing from your blood group. If the Rhesus factor of the mother and the baby are different, it might be hazardous for the baby’s health, leading to complications during pregnancy or during delivery.

Rhesus factor of parents
The rhesus factor of both the parents helps to determine the rhesus factor of the unborn child. Studies have shown that nearly 15 per cent of the Caucasian population, 10 per cent of Asians and 6 per cent of Africans have Rh negative blood group. If both the parents have Rh positive blood groups, their children will always be Rhesus positive. If both the parents have Rh negative blood groups, their children will also have Rhesus negative blood group. If the Rhesus factors of you and your spouse are different, your child can become either Rh positive or Rh negative. We can have both the Rhesus positive and Rhesus negative genes in our blood. The Rhesus factor of our blood groups will be determined by the dominant gene in our body. If the Rh-positive gene is dominant, we will be Rh positive. If the negative gene is dominant, we will become Rh negative. Rhesus factor increases the risk of pregnancy, if the mother is Rh negative and the father is Rh positive.

Rh incompatibility risk
During pregnancy and particularly during delivery, the blood of the mother and child might mix. If the mother is Rh negative and the child is Rh positive, the mother’s immune system will produce antibodies that will attack the baby’s blood cells. This will cause serious complications in the infant. The antibodies produced by the mother’s body are usually harmless during the first pregnancy. However, the risk increases during subsequent pregnancies with Rh-positive babies.

These complications could be prevented with Rh immune globulin injection, which is given during pregnancy and after delivery.