A Brief Overview of RH Factor and its Implications on Pregnancy
The long-awaited moment of your life is here. Yes…you are pregnant, and the joy and enthusiasm of you and your family know no bounds. However, before you start preparing for the arrival of your little bundle of joy, it’s important to prepare your body well so as to make your pregnancy, as well as the delivery more enjoyable and easier. So, what is it that you need to do as a part of your prenatal care besides ensuring a healthy diet and regular exercising? As a part of your prenatal care, you need to get regular blood tests done to know your blood type so as to ensure the well-being of the foetus.
There are four major types of blood groups: A, B, AB, and O. Blood cells have antigens on their surface, which are basically a type of protein. Now this protein is known as the Rh-factor. So, if a person’s blood lacks the Rh-antigen, he/she is Rh-negative but if a person’s blood has the antigen, he/she is Rh-positive.
Role of Rh factor During Pregnancy:
The Rh factor has a significant role to play during a woman’s pregnancy. So, if you are Rh negative and your foetus is Rh positive, you may face some serious complications. This is referred to as Rh incompatibility. So, if you have conceived for the first time, you can keep yourself stress-free as these complications don’t arise during the first pregnancy. However, these complications can certainly arise during subsequent pregnancies.
What is Rh sensitization and how does it affect the foetus?
If you are Rh-negative and your foetus is Rh positive, you tend to develop antibodies to Rh-positive blood. This shows that you have become Rh sensitized. Complications arise when Rh antibodies from your blood cross the placenta and attack the blood cells of your Rh-positive foetus and destroy red blood cells of the foetus. This might result in haemolytic anaemia, wherein red blood cells that are responsible for carrying oxygen to different parts of the body are quickly destroyed. This condition might lead to several illnesses and can also turn out to be fatal for the foetus. Now this condition can be prevented by taking a shot of RhIg (Rh immunoglobulin) that can help prevent the production of antibodies while preventing the occurrence of foetal haemolytic anaemia during later pregnancies.
While it’s absolutely important to visit your doctor right from the onset of your pregnancy yet Rh incompatibility is a significant factor that makes your visit to a doctor all the more important. This is because complications that arise due to Rh incompatibility do not come with any sort of symptoms or warning signs. So, the only way to determine whether or not you are at a risk is by getting a blood test done. Moreover, even after you have taken a shot of Anti-D injection in your prior pregnancy, you still remain at risk of developing antibodies. The best way to keep yourself safe is by keeping yourself aware and informed regarding your blood group.
(Any health-related information or any medical opinion in the content is gathered from secondary sources and is only for the purpose of information and this should not be treated as a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Using this site and the information contained in it is not to create a doctor-patient relationship. Always make sure to seek the advice of your doctor if you have any issues or questions regarding yours or the health of others.)