Rh Factor


Pregnancy Marietta GAFinding out that you are expecting is an exciting and nerve-wracking experience. Understanding that you are responsible for a new life growing inside your body can feel like an overwhelming responsibility, yet at the same time, it is exciting to think about what the future holds. It is important that you visit your OB-GYN soon after you find out that you are pregnant. At your first visit after becoming pregnant there will be important blood work that is taken that will provide essential information to your doctor regarding your blood type. Your blood will be tested for the Rh factor – most likely something you have never heard of.

A person’s Rh factor is inherited, just as you and your spouse will pass on an Rh factor to your new baby. About 85% of people have the Rh factor and are known to be “Rh positive,” but the other 15% do not have the Rh factor and are known to be “Rh negative.” This is vital information because if a pregnant woman is Rh negative and her growing baby is Rh positive, there is what is known as an Rh incompatibility. If there is an Rh incompatibility between the mother and her unborn baby, an Rh-negative mother’s body will begin to create antibodies against the Rh positive factor. This means that the mother’s body will act as if it is allergic to the growing baby and will respond by attacking the baby. This reaction is known as Rh sensitization, and if the mother’s blood mixes with the developing baby’s blood in the placenta it can cause serious illness, brain damage, or even death to the baby.

Rh incompatibility can be treated by injections of Rh immunoglobulin (RhIg), a blood medication that prevents the sensitization of an Rh-negative expectant mother. RhIg is injected into the mother at 28 weeks pregnant to prevent sensitization throughout the rest of the pregnancy. Then, once the baby is born, his/her blood will be taken immediately to determine if the baby is Rh positive or Rh negative. If the baby is Rh-positive, the mother must receive another injection of RhIg to prevent the mother from developing antibodies that would attack a future Rh-positive pregnancy.

At Marietta OB-GYN Affiliates, P.A., we are here to provide the most comprehensive care to our female patients. The Rh factor may be something that you have never heard of, but we understand how vital this information is to you and your growing baby. If your lab work reveals that you are Rh negative, you can rest assured that we will provide the necessary care to ensure the health of your baby, your pregnancy, and your own health. If you are expecting, please call our practice for an appointment as soon as possible.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Carlos Alarcon, Marietta OB-GYN Affiliates, P.A.

Category: Obstetrics, Pregnancy |