Week 26 - Blood Type
Hello. This is Dr. Mauldin. Congratulations! You are now 26 weeks pregnant.
During pregnancy, you will have a blood test to find out your blood type and whether your blood has the Rh factor. If your blood does not have the Rh factor, it is called Rh negative. If your blood does have the Rh factor, it is called Rh positive. Most people are Rh positive. Problems can occur when the baby’s blood is Rh positive and the mom’s blood is Rh negative.
When Rh negative blood is exposed to Rh positive blood, the negative blood will make antibodies against the positive blood. Although the Rh antibodies do not affect a person’s general health, it can cause problems during pregnancy.
During pregnancy, the mother and her baby do not share blood. However, a small amount of blood from the baby can cross the placenta into the mother’s system. When this happens, a small number of pregnant moms who have Rh negative blood and who are pregnant with an Rh positive baby will respond as if they were allergic to the baby. That means that the Rh negative women make antibodies to the blood cells of their Rh positive baby. These antibodies break down the fetal red blood cells and cause the baby to become anemic – or have a low blood count. The anemia can become so severe that the baby goes into heart failure.
For the majority of Rh negative mothers, this disease can be prevented by receiving Rhogam during her pregnancies. Rhogam will prevent her body from developing antibodies to the baby’s red blood cells.
If you are Rh negative, don’t forget to inquire about your Rhogam dose. It’s usually given at 28 weeks gestation.
Take care – I’ll talk to you in a week.