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         Antibodies

    Antibodies testing for proteins that appear as a

result to antigen.   They attach to foreign antigen    

and attracts other WBC’s to help dispose of the

foreign antigen.

What?

Please Explain that in English…

Blood types are A, B,  AB, an O.  Along with the blood

type is also a positive or a negative.  So if your blood type for example is A- (A negative) and your husband is A+ (A positive) your baby could be either A- or A+.

     If your last baby was positive and if any of that babies blood was mixed with your blood your body can build up antibodies (antiglobulins) that react with antigens (proteins or factors) on the fetus red blood cells. This may result in a serious condition referred to as Hemolytic Disease of the Newborn (HDN). 

In English please: 

Think about this: When you have a cold, your body builds up antibodies to fight the same cold the next time.  It does the same thing with a baby's blood type that is different than your blood type. When your body ‘sees’ the baby's blood (opposite of your blood type) it will build up antibodies so the next time your pregnant with a baby that has opposite blood type of yours again it will send out the ‘army’ in the blood to fight this foreign object.  It will try to destroy the baby.

                So why Do We Worry About That?

    These antibodies could recognize this foreign blood in the baby and attack. The antibodies attack the red blood cells and can cause severe anemia and then multi-organ failure in the baby, even killing the baby.

            What is done to prevent this from happening?

    Today a product (given as a shot -into the muscle) called Rhogam is given.  This product comes from blood.  It is a blood product.  Rhogam is given at 28 weeks of pregnancy and again after the birth once the cord blood has been tested to see what the baby’s blood type is.

           Do I Have To Take This Rhogam During Pregnancy?

A few women do not take this during the pregnancy and do just fine. They will only take it if they have something happen (like an accident or a slip and fall) where the babies blood might mix with their blood. You have to choose. But remember, if you have an accident -and if you already have had this shot, you will be protected.  BUT contact your care provider anyway! Please- be sure you do all of your research if you choose not to take it during the pregnancy. You can read more about Rhogam here.

        What If I Do Not Want To Take This Product?

Some women due to religious reasons of not taking blood or blood products, will not take the Rhogam shot. Each care giver will have guidelines within their practice for this.  Some may not take care of a woman who will not take this product due to their liability issues.  If you do not take the shot, it is recommended that you have prenatal blood work in the beginning of the pregnancy to check if you have built up any antibodies or not, and again later in pregnancy.  Your care provider must be extremely careful with the delivery of the placenta -that means allowing the cord to stop pulsating on its own, and wait (unless mom is bleeding too much) to cut and clamp the cord until after the placenta is out.  This will reduce the chance for blood mixing.  It does NOT in anyway-guarantee that is will not happen anyway, but it does reduce the chance of it happening.

        So What Do You Suggest?

It is not my job to tell you what to do, it is my job to provide you with information and expect you will read it.  I also expect for you to do research on your own to make an informed decision.  With that said, this test is a very important test to have done, especially if you are negative blood type and your husband is positive.