Several precautions need to be taken as soon as a child is born. In addition to the various tests done before birth, such as blood typing, which defines the Rh factor , for example, the baby still needs to be examined and subjected to some tests before he can go home safely.
This is because most diseases or problems resulting from pregnancy or childbirth are more easily resolved in the first moments of a human being’s life.
One of the tests done during prenatal care is blood typing , where he will find out what the baby’s blood type is and the Rh factor. The Rh system of blood groups is classified between A, B and O, with positive and negative Rh factors.
- A (A +, A-, AB +, AB-)
- B (B+, B-)
- O (O +, O-)
Within these groups, it is important to indicate that type O blood with Rh negative factor is the universal donor , that is, it is a type of blood that can be injected into the body of anyone else. On the other hand, blood type AB with Rh negative factor is the universal receptor, which means that it can receive blood of any other type without suffering consequences.
A person with Rh positive has in his body a protein called D antigen, which is located on the surface of red blood cells, whereas a person with Rh negative does not have this antigen.
About 95% of the Brazilian population has a positive Rh factor , which is common worldwide. However, it is important to know that there are exceptions and that there are some risks when a mother has Rh negative, even if it is harmful only in some specific cases (when the baby has Rh positive factor).
The mother needs to be aware of the dangers of pregnancy with a Rh factor other than the baby, in addition to knowing that certain precautions must be taken.
Problems with Different Rh Factor
The greatest danger for a mother to have Rh negative is when there is a chance that the baby is Rh positive , that is, not to have the D antigen. This usually happens due to the genetic inheritance of the child’s father.
The big problem is that, as the mother’s body does not have this protein, her body can see the baby as a foreign body , if there is some kind of contact between the mother’s blood and the baby’s blood. This makes the body understand that the baby is some kind of invader or parasite and try to act to eliminate it, which can cause several problems in pregnancy.
However, this type of problem does not usually appear in the first pregnancy , being the greatest risk from the second, where the mother’s immune system is more at risk of crossing the placenta and attacking the fetus’ blood cells.
This happens because, in the first delivery, the mother’s blood ends up coming in contact with the baby’s blood and, thus, the woman’s body learns that the D antigen exists and that it is a possible threat to the body and, in this way, produces antibodies. against that antigen. This phenomenon is known as fetal erythroblastosis, or Rhesus disease.
WARNING: It is important to remember that fetal erythroblastosis does not always happen, even when the woman is pregnant for the second or third time, even if the risks are greater.
How Does Baby’s Blood Get In Touch With Mother’s Blood?
There are some cases where the baby’s blood may come into contact with the mother’s , causing fetal erythroblastosis even in the woman’s first pregnancy. These are the cases:
- When there is vaginal bleeding during pregnancy, caused or not by some type of blow and especially after 12 weeks of gestation
- When there is a pregnancy outside the uterus (tubal or ectopic)
- When tests that collect fetal cells are performed
- During childbirth
When there is contact between the mother’s blood and the baby’s blood, it is important to know what the consequences of this type of problem are.
Consequences of Fetal Erythroblastosis
There are some dangers and problems that can arise if a mother’s body recognizes her child as a foreign body because of the Rh factor. The main ones are:
Problems can present more or less serious, depending on the reaction of the mother’s body and how fetal erythroblastosis was prevented. In many cases, the baby may not have any of these symptoms and lead a normal life.
Prevention of Fetal Erythroblastosis
It is important to know that once antibodies against D antigen are produced in the woman’s body, they can no longer be removed. On the other hand, it is possible to prevent them from being produced . Prevention is done with anti-Rh antisera with gamma globulin, injected shortly after the birth of the first baby who has Rh positive.
There are intrauterine tests to see if the baby has a positive Rh factor, different from the mother’s. However, they are not recommended by doctors, as there is a risk of the mother’s blood coming into contact with the baby’s blood, which can cause problems if the Rh factors of the two are conflicting.
ATTENTION: It is always important to know the Rh factor of the father, as this can determine whether or not there are risks of this type in pregnancy.
Treatment of Fetal Erythroblastosis
The treatment of this type of disease can vary according to the severity of the problem . Tests to determine how strong fetal erythroblastosis is, are done through amniotic fluid.
Depending on the severity, even the baby’s full blood transfusion can be done, so that he receives Rh negative blood, whose cells are not destroyed by the antibodies produced by the mother’s blood. Over time, it is natural for cells to have the positive Rh factor again, already free of problems.
Having a baby is not an easy task and has several points where we need to pay attention and be careful. But the fact is that all the care taken during these 9 months of pregnancy is worth it when you realize that your baby is healthy and free from any health risk.
Of course, care for him is just beginning, as there is a lifetime to be formed there, but the pleasure of being a mother and having someone generated by you makes up for any headache that may appear along the way.
My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.
Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.