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Pregnancy and The RH Factor

The Rh factor is a blood protein . If your blood has the protein, you're Rh positive (Rh+). If your blood does not have the protein, you're Rh negative (Rh-). Problems only occur when the mom is Rh- and her baby is Rh+. Most women are Rh+ and consequently only a small amount of women have to face this problem.

During your very first prenatal visit, your doctor typically takes a blood sample to determine your Rh factor. If you have Rh- blood, the child's father is tested to determine his Rh factor. Once you know the father's Rh factor your doctor will be able to better determine your baby's Rh factor. If the baby's father has Rh+ blood, there may be a chance that your baby has Rh+ blood also. This will cause Rh incompatibility.

If Rh incompatibility occurs your body will view your baby's blood as an alien and generate antibodies that will attack your child's red blood cells. The baby may require a blood transfusion if it cannot generate red blood cells as fast as they are being demolished. Generally you can wait to give a blood transfusion until after delivery however transfusions can be given when the baby is still inside of the uterus but this is very rare.

If you are Rh- and your baby is Rh+, Rh incompatibility only becomes a problem if your baby's blood enters your system. Generally this only happens during delivery, miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. During your very first pregnancy, you will be less likely to have an Rh incompatibility as your baby's blood has not gotten into your system. For that reason, Rh incompatibility normally only occurs in subsequent pregnancies if your first baby's blood entered your system.

To prevent you from generating antibodies to destroy your baby's blood, your doctor will give you an injection of a drug called Rho-GAM. Rho-GAM is usually given at twenty eight weeks of pregnancy and again 72 hours after delivery as a precaution. Rho-GAM is also given after a miscarriage, amniocentesis and CVS. This'll keep your body from producing antibodies, which could cause difficulties for you in later pregnancies.

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Chris Dunn likes writing articles on the topic of pregnancy for his pregnancy website.

NOTE: Use of this article requires links to be intact.

Source: www.articletrader.com