Blood Type and Rh Factor

October 6, 2011

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Image of the Pregnancy Pain Relief book

This is a blood test which tests for any possible incompatibility between the mother’s blood and the baby’s blood. It is normally ordered during the first prenatal visit.

Any result is normal. If the mother is Rh negative, it is possible that there is an incompatibility between the mother and baby.

Rh incompatibility occurs when the pregnant mother and her fetus have a different Rh blood type. If left unmonitored, Rh incompatibility can lead to fetal anemia, a condition which causes red blood cells to be destroyed in your baby.

If you test Rh-negative early in your pregnancy, your health care provider will test you for Rh antibodies approximately 28 to 29 weeks into your pregnancy. If your test results show that you are not producing antibodies, your health care provider can give you an injection of Rh immunoglobulin (RhIg), which will destroy any Rh-positive cells in your bloodstream and possibly prevent Rh Disease.

Because the RhIg injection is now commonly used, fetal Rh disease has become very rare.

If the level of antibodies in your blood becomes too high, there are things that can be done to prevent harm to the baby, including blood transfusions or early delivery.

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