a helpful guide to
RH Negative Mothers
The Rh factor is a little protein (antigen) found on red blood cells. If you have this factor you are Rh+. If you don’t have it you are Rh-. Everyone is either positive or negative. One type is not better or worse than the other, only different.
- Your Rh factor is important when you become pregnant.
If the father of the baby is Rh+, it is likely that your baby will be Rh+, too. An Rh- mother may have an immune reaction if some of the baby’s blood touches the mother’s bloodstream. This can happen during pregnancy, birth, miscarriage, or injury. This kind of immune response is rare, but if it happens, the results can be very harmful to your next baby by causing a miscarriage or other severe problems.
During an immune response, your body creates antibodies to the Rh+ blood type, just as if the blood type were a virus or germ. Once you make these antibodies you have them forever. These antibodies can cross into the baby’s blood and attack the red blood cells of the baby. This causes a disease called hemolytic disease of the newborn.
- Hemolytic Disease of the newborn is a threat to your baby.
At birth, a baby with hemolytic disease may be jaundiced, anemic, or suffer from mental retardation, hearing loss, or cerebral palsy. Expensive and long term medical care can be required, including an exchange blood transfusion, in which all of the baby’s blood is replaced. This usually stops the destruction of the baby’s red blood cells and gives the baby a chance to survive.
The risk of hemolytic disease is slight with a first baby, but increases with each pregnancy.
- Hemolytic Disease of the newborn can be prevented.
A vaccination commonly called the RhoGAM Shot can prevent your body from creating an immune response to your baby’s blood. The shot gives protection during times you are most likely to come in contact with the baby’s blood. It wears off over time so it needs to be repeated.
The shot is given during pregnancy (usually around 28 weeks) and within 72 hours after the birth of your baby. Vaccination is also necessary if you have a miscarriage or are in an accident before the 28 week dose is given.
Reaction to the shot: You may feel some soreness at the site, or have a very mild increase in body temperature (usually not enough to be considered a fever). Severe reactions are very rare and may require medical attention.
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A clinic serving the Amish and Mennonite communities of Holmes, Wayne and surrounding counties.
Mt Eaton Midwifery is a midwifery clinic serving the Amish and Mennonite communities of Holmes, Wayne, and surrounding counties.
Mailing Address: PO Box 216 Mt. Eaton, OH 44659
Physical Address: 9176 Winesburg Rd, Dundee, OH 44624
Office Number: (330) 359-0580