Q: Dr, please can blood group affect pregnancy like husband O-negative and wife in another group? Thanks.
A: This difference leads to a situation called Rhesus incompatibility. As a result of the difference in the Rhesus factors of the hubby and wifey, if the wife gives birth to a baby that is Rhesus Positive, her body will recognize the baby as a foreign body and thus mobilize antibodies to fight the baby. However, in a first pregnancy, this may not be a problem as this can only happen when there is mixing of mum’s and baby’s blood. This would usually happen at the time of separation of the placenta during birth. So, before the wife’s body can mount an effective response to the ‘threat’, the baby has been delivered. However, these antibodies are now ready to, more efficiently, deal with another threat as soon as it presents itself, perhaps through another pregnancy.
During a second or subsequent pregnancy, these antibodies mount an attack on the cells of the baby to leading anaemia, jaundice, brain damage etc in a new baby.
However, this can be prevented by ensuring that wifey gets an injection, Rhogam within 72 hours of birth. This injection deceives the woman’s body into thinking it has already produced antibodies against the baby and thus, the body technically understand, it doesn’t have to do same. The particles of Rhogam cannot cross the placenta and so baby is safe.
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