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Do You Have Rh Incompatibility?

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Rh Incompatibility
Most of us are aware of our blood groups. According to the ABO system of naming blood groups, we belong to either A, B, O or AB blood type. However, that is not all. We also have a plus (+) or positive sign or a minus (-) or negative sign accompanying our blood.

When a person with positive blood group has a baby with a person with negative blood group, there is a chance of an Rh incompatibility. Let us examine that statement in a greater depth.

How Does Rh Incompatibility Work?

The Rh or rhesus factor that we have in your blood is actually an antigen (a type of protein). If we have it, as a large majority does, we have a positive blood group. The absence of this antigen makes your blood group negative. When a person with negative blood group comes in contact with the Rh factor, then the body's immunity system treats it like a foreign body and starts producing antibodies against it.

What Happens In A Rh Negative Pregnancy?

If the mother has negative blood type and the baby has positive blood type, then there is a chance that the mother will start producing antibodies against the baby. This leads to miscarriages. First pregnancies are usually safe because the mother's blood does not come in contact with the babies until birth. All future Rh negative pregnancies are risky because once the mother's blood comes in contact with the Rh factor, it will start producing antibodies.

How To Deal With Rh Incompatibility?

A pregnancy that is a result of Rh incompatibility has to be monitored by your doctor carefully. Your blood will be tested to see if the antibodies are already forming against the Rh negative pregnancy. The doctor might want to test the amniotic fluid regularly to see if the antibodies are attacking the baby's red blood cells. Such a pregnancy is not sustained for more than 35 to 37 weeks. So, you will have to go an early c-section delivery.

Can Rh Incompatibility Be Cured?

Unfortunately, there is no permanent cure for this particular pregnancy problem. You cannot change your genetic makeup or blood group . But, it can be treated successfully. The RhoGam shot has been developed now to prevent any complications in such cases. You will have to take it after every delivery, miscarriage or abortion, basically every instance at which your blood comes in contact with the Rh factor. This is because the effects of the RhoGam shot is not permanent but, it does solve the problem of Rh incompatibility to a greater extent.

Read more about: conceiving, pregnancy
Story first published: Tuesday, June 19, 2012, 15:00 [IST]
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