Blood groups are categorized in to four types and they are A, B, AB and O based on the antigen present in the blood cells. Each blood group is further divided in to positive or negative based on the presence or absence of Rh factor in the blood. If Rh factor is present the blood type is positive and if absent then the blood type is negative. Rh factor or Rhesus factor is a protein present in the red blood cells and about 85% people are Rh +ve. Normally Rh-ve is not a problem but when an Rh-ve mother got Rh+ve baby in her womb then the problems may arise and this happens when mother is Rh-ve and father is Rh+ve.
Problems in Pregnancy
During pregnancy the Rh-ve blood of the mother may develop antibodies to the Rh+ve baby inside her womb. This happens as an allergic reaction when the Rh +ve blood of baby mixes with mother’s blood. That means mother become sensitive and allergic to the baby and the antibodies developed in the mother’s body cross over the placenta and attacks the blood of the foetus.
This breaks down the red blood cells of the fetus leading to many serious problems such as anemia, jaundice, brain damage and at certain instance even the death of the fetus. Fetal blood gets mixed with mother’s blood during a miscarriage, an ectopic pregnancy, blood transfusion, induced abortion, delivery time, chorionic villus sampling, blood transfusion etc.
If the mother’s blood gets sensitized then the growth of fetus should be examined frequently to ensure its safety. Once delivered, the new born baby should under go blood transfusion to replace the damaged blood cells. If the baby is developing any symptoms during pregnancy, then the baby is prematurely delivered or should undertake blood transfusions while in mother’s womb.
Prevent the Problems
If the Rh negative blood of mother is not sensitized then the doctor can prescribe RhIg (immunoglobulin) injections during the 28th week of pregnancy to keep the remaining period of the pregnancy safe. Once the baby is born then mother is given another dose of RhIg to prevent the mother from developing antibodies against the Rh positive factor that she may get from her baby during or before delivery. Any subsequent pregnancy with an Rh+ve child must follow these treatments and treatment must be undertaken after every chance of mother getting Rh+ve blood.