The current generation couples tend to overlook important medical considerations that might determine traits of a healthy family in their future.
Such significant determination include taking blood tests, not checking for blood infection which is still very much important, but to determine the rhesus differences between couples.
Rhesus factor is the protein which can be present on the surface of red blood cells.
Just like the known variation in the existing types of bloods that we carry, such as those who possess the protein with blood types (O+, A+, AB+) these are said to be Rh- positive.
The ones who possess the (AB-, O-, B-, A-), blood type are considered to be Rh- negative. The latter are few in the population.
They require certain treatment during pregnancy for baby protection.
Rhesus factor is inherited and passed down the particular parents genes from the father who could either be Rh positive or Rh negative.
What leads to Rhesus complications?
Incompatibility is when, for example, a mother who is Rh-negative and the child’s father is Rh-positive, there is a large likelihood that the child would inherit the Rh-positive from the dad.
When the child is Rh-positive while the mum is Rh-negative, and the child’s blood crosses through the mother’s placenta, the mother’s immune system will detect the child’s blood cells as an invader thereby developing antibodies to attack the red blood cells.
This kind of situation is not as common during the first pregnancy. However, some complications may arise during the delivery since Rh- negative mum’s blood may come into contact with that of Rh-positive baby, thereby, her body will create complications.
Such health problems include jaundice, brain damage, heart failure, severe hemolytic anemia (where red blood cells are destroyed faster than they can be produced) and death to the newly born.
Prevention and treatment
Those planning to be future parents should consider a blood test known as antibody screening.
If found to be Rh-negative then the mother is given a shot of Rh immunoglobulin (RhIg) which is made from samples of donated blood.
RhIg should be given to a mother:
- Around 28 weeks of pregnancy to prevent Rh sensitization for the rest of the pregnancy period.
- During a period of 72 hours after the delivery to an Rh-positive infant.
- After a miscarriage, abortion or ectopic pregnancy.
- After a chorionic villus sampling.
An Rh sensitized mother should be under close monitoring during pregnancy to check the fetus’s condition.
Just in case tests show the baby has severe anemia then there may be need to deliver early, if not the baby might need blood transfusion while still in the mothers uterus.
After delivery, the baby may also need transfusion to replace the blood cells.
So as to avoid much complications during the pregnancy period, make an attempt of getting your blood screened to know your Rhesus factor and determine that of your child.
By George Ogallo