What Blood Types Are Not Compatible For Pregnancy

When Is a Baby at Risk?

Up until the mother’s second or subsequent pregnancies, Rh antibodies are safe. Her Rh antibodies will identify the Rh proteins on the surface of the baby’s blood cells as foreign if she ever carries another Rh-positive child. The baby’s bloodstream will be exposed to her antibodies, which will attack those cells.

The baby’s red blood cells may swell and rupture as a result. This condition is referred to as newborn hemolytic or Rh disease. It can make a babys blood count get very low.

During her first pregnancy, doctors administer a series of two Rh immune-globulin shots if a pregnant woman has the potential to develop Rh incompatibility. Shell get:

  • the first shot around the 28th week of pregnancy
  • the second shot within 72 hours of giving birth
  • Rh immune-globulin acts like a vaccine. It stops the mother’s body from producing any Rh antibodies that might seriously harm the baby or have an impact on a subsequent pregnancy.

    If a pregnant woman experiences any bleeding, an amniocentesis, or a miscarriage, she may also be given an injection of Rh immune globulin.

    A woman’s pregnancy will be closely monitored if a doctor discovers that she has already developed Rh antibodies to ensure that those levels are not too high.

    The baby may receive specialized blood transfusions known as exchange transfusions before birth (intrauterine fetal transfusions) or after delivery in extremely rare circumstances when the incompatibility is severe and the baby is in danger. In exchange transfusions, blood with Rh-negative blood cells are given in place of the infant’s blood. This minimizes the harm caused by Rh antibodies already present in the baby’s bloodstream and stabilizes the level of red blood cells.

    Exchange transfusions are not frequently required in Rh-incompatible pregnancies in the United States because of the high effectiveness of Rh immune-globulin shots.

    It’s crucial to begin routine prenatal care as soon as you suspect you might be pregnant if you don’t know your Rh factor. This includes blood-type testing. Early Rh incompatibility detection and treatment allow you to concentrate on more important tasks, such as the birth of a healthy baby.

    What is blood type incompatibility? Jaundice?

    Rh factors are positive or negative and used to categorize blood types A, B, and O. When a mother’s blood type conflicts with that of her newborn child, it results in A-B-0 and Rh incompatibility. During pregnancy, it’s possible for a mother’s red blood cells to enter the placenta or fetus. This causes the mother’s blood cells to produce antibodies that can attack the newborn’s blood cells, resulting in jaundice. The risk of this is highest near or during delivery.

    A-B-O incompatibility occurs when:

  • the mother is type O and the baby is B, A, or AB
  • the mother is type A and their baby is B or AB
  • the mother is type B and their baby is A or AB
  • Rh incompatibility happens when a mother’s blood type is Rh-negative and her child is Rh-positive. The fetus or newborn’s blood cells will be attacked by the mother’s body’s auto-immune reaction, which behaves as though the invaders were bacterial or viral. This immune response takes some time to mature, and first pregnancies rarely experience serious complications due to it. However, there is a much higher risk for subsequent pregnancies when there is an Rh incompatibility.

    An early pregnancy blood test can prevent blood type incompatibility. Around 28 weeks into the pregnancy, if an Rh incompatibility is discovered, an Rh-immune globulin treatment is given. If the incompatibility is not discovered, the infant may experience severe jaundice that damages the brain. Jaundice in newborns is common and treatable, though it can have serious consequences; medical attention is required at the first sign of a yellowish discoloration in the skin or eyes.

    Jaundice in infants caused by Rh and ABO incompatibility is treated with hydration and phototherapy. Jaundice-causing bilirubin is eliminated from the infant’s body with the aid of biliblankets and other phototherapy tools. Learn More.

    How does blood type affect pregnancy?

    Your healthcare provider will always type your blood while you are pregnant. I asked experienced OB/GYN nurse Ginny Harrington about the specifics of how blood type affects pregnancy.

    First, Ginny explained to me what Rh is and how the Rh factor, which is denoted by the or – sign after blood type, affects pregnancy. “Rh Positive is when proteins appear on the surface of the blood cells,” she said. Patients who are Rh Negative do not have the protein. Rh incompatibility occurs when a Rh Negative woman gives birth to a Rh Positive child. This is crucial because, if there is any blood type mixing during pregnancy, the Rh Negative mother will treat the Rh Positive proteins found in the baby’s blood as foreign and will produce antibodies to attack them. This condition, known as Rhesus Disease, can make a newborn anemic, severely jaundiced, and even die. ”.

    In addition to Rhesus Disease, there is also a condition called ABO incompatibility. This can happen when mom’s blood type is different than baby’s (if mom is blood type O, and baby is type A, B, or AB; if mom is blood type A and baby is AB or B; if mom is blood type B and baby is A or AB). If the two different blood types mix, mom’s blood can occasionally develop antibodies that fight baby’s. This attack can result in jaundice in the newborn. Enter an injection, Rhogam, that can be given during pregnancy to prevent this from happening. “This injection provides “temporary antibodies” which eliminate the immune response on the mother’s part”, says Ginny. Rhogam is typically given to Rh- pregnant women between 26-28 weeks of pregnancy and again after delivery.

    Generally speaking, mom’s blood and baby’s blood don’t mix during pregnancy. However, there are a few instances in which this can happen. Examples of when mixing can occur include car accidents that cause placental bleeding, undergoing a Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis (both uncommonly used procedures that remove a small amount of amniotic fluid or placental tissue from the uterus using a thin needle), falls, and an ectopic pregnancy (a rare but dangerous type of pregnancy that can occur in the fallopian tube).

    Rh Blood Typing, Rhesus Factor, Pregnancy & Rhogam Explained by a Genetic Counselor

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