Rh incompatibility and the risk to your pregnancy

Rh incompatibility arises in your pregnancy when the blood type of the mother has Rh negative and the baby is Rh positive. When this happens, the immune system of the mother can interpret the Rh baby’s blood as a foreign agent and try to attack him. The good news is that the incompatibility can be treated during pregnancy to prevent damage in the baby.

Your blood type is determined by the proteins present on the surface of red blood cells. Some of these proteins determine blood type (O, A, B or AB), other proteins determine the Rh factor: if present you are positive factor, and if they are not your factor is negative.

If your blood is Rh negative and the baby’s father is positive, you can be positive that your little too, and that is where the inconsistency may arise. This problem does not occur if both (father and mother) are Rh negative.

All mothers whose Rh factor is negative may suffer incompatibility and endanger the health of the baby. What happens is that the baby’s blood, if Rh positive factor, contains proteins that the mother has. Your body detects these unknown agents and creates antibodies to attack and attack a virus or disease.

The mother’s antibodies can pass the blood flow to the baby through the placenta and destroy red blood cells. Upon decomposition, the red blood cells release bilirubin. Excess of this substance and the lack of red blood cells can cause

Usually, your first pregnancy is not affected, unless you have previously had a pregnancy interrupted or not submit to any invasive procedure such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling. The reason is that, like a virus or disease, to create antibodies your immune system needs to contact the invading agent. First contact your system does not defend himself, only creates antibodies. The attack happens the second time your body perceives the same invader. Your second pregnancy itself is affected.

The diagnosis of Rh incompatibility is performed by a test to determine your blood type, usually in your first prenatal appointment. If it is determined that you are Rh negative, your doctor may recommend preventive treatment (you may be interested: When should you have your first date prenatal care, what to expect on your first date antenatal and prenatal month, exams? routine and special tests).

After birth, a baby who has suffered Rh incompatibility may have jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), low muscle tone and lethargy.

To prevent pregnancy complications and sequelae for the baby caused by Rh incompatibility can receive a treatment called immunoglobulin Rhogam. The first dose you receive it in the second trimester of pregnancy. If your baby is RH positive factor, which is determined after birth, you can have a second dose postpartum.

You should also apply if Rhogam

If the baby has consequences of Rh incompatibility, treatment depends on the severity of your case. Jaundice, one of the most common conditions in newborns, can be treated with phototherapy before leaving the hospital.

Sources; American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The Rh Factor: How It Can Affect Your Pregnancy. Accessed January 7, 2016, National Library of Medicine. RH incompatibility. Accessed January 7, 2016; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. What is Rh Incompatibility? Accessed 9 January 2016; Nemours Foundation. What is Rh incompatibility? Accessed January 7, 2016.