The blood in the human body is divided into five different groups: A, B, 0, AB and Rh. There are proteins called Antigens in blood cells that determine these groups. For example, a person with type B blood has B antigen. When group A blood is given to this person, the body sees it as a foreign matter and begins to produce antibodies and attack these blood cells.
What is Blood Incompatibility During Pregnancy?
Blood incompatibility is a condition caused by blood group differences between mother and child. Blood incompatibility during pregnancy is usually caused by Rh incompatibility. If the mother's blood group is Rh ( - ) and the baby’s blood group is Rh ( + ), blood incompatibility is seen. The difference between the blood groups of the mother and the baby usually occurs when the blood group of the father-to-be is Rh (+). Rh ( + ) antigens in the baby are not found in the mother's Rh ( - ) blood group. Thus, when the blood proteins in the baby pass to the mother, the mother's body perceives it as a foreign matter. A, B and O blood group incompatibilities are very rare.
What are the Effects of Blood Incompatibility on the Mother and Baby?
In case of blood incompatibility, the antibodies in the mother begin to destroy the baby's blood cells. This can be got over mildly, but it can also cause serious problems. Destroyed blood cells cause anemia in the baby. To make up for this situation, it causes blood-producing organs such as the bone marrow and spleen to work hard and therefore to overgrow. In more advanced situations, it causes heart failure and brain damage in the baby. This causes deafness, seizures, and death.
Treatment for Blood Incompatibility
Pregnant women diagnosed with blood incompatibility should be given preventive medicine at the 28th week of pregnancy. If the mother has Rh ( - ) and the baby has Rh ( + ) blood group, second doses of preventive medicine should be given within 72 hours after birth. Otherwise, second dose is not required.
If the Rh ( + ) antigens in the baby are mixed with the mother's blood and it is determined that the mother produces antibodies, the health status of the mother and the baby should be examined thoroughly and precautions should be taken.
Conditions to be Considered in Case of Miscarriage and Abortion
Even if the expectant mother has a miscarriage or abortion, if there is blood incompatibility, preventive medicine should be given within 72 hours. Thus, the expectant mother will be protected from blood incompatibility problems in other pregnancies.
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