When you have your first antenatal appointment, normally, you will do some blood tests. One of these test is to find out your blood group (A, B, AB or O). Do you also check your rhesus status (positive or negative). Does your hospital give you this report?
Rh factor is inherited through parents’ genes to their children. Rh factor can cause problems if you are Rh negative and your fetus is Rh positive. These problems usually do not occur in a first pregnancy, but they can occur in a later pregnancy if the mother carries another rhesus-positive baby. What happens is, when a Rh-negative mother’s blood comes into contact with blood from her Rh-positive fetus, it causes the Rh-negative mother to make antibodies against the Rh factor so it basically treats the Rh factor as if it's a harmful substance in your body. In lame mans terms, medically, you may not be able to have kids subsequently (after your first baby) or after a miscarriage even. If you find that you are carrying a Rhesus positive baby and you are negative, please request for an injection called anti-D immunoglobulin (anti-D) to guard against the harmful effects of antibodies. This is just to keep you informed because some people miss this because they don't know their Status!
If you miss this treatment, the immune response in your second pregnancy will be stronger than the first pregnancy and can cause rhesus disease in your baby. The antibodies start to attack your baby's blood cells during pregnancy and can carry on attacking them for a few months after the birth.
When your baby's blood cells are attacked, rhesus disease causes anaemia. If the anaemia becomes severe, it can lead to life-threatening problems for your baby, such as heart failure, fluid retention and swelling.
After she’s born, your baby's liver won't be able to cope with the volume of blood cells that need breaking down. She may then become jaundiced, which is called haemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn (HDFN).
HDFN can cause permanent brain damage and neurological issues such as cerebral palsy, and physical or speech problems! God help us all! Tag someone who needs to see this or just spread the word! Good morning😍😍😍