|My doctor says that my baby and I are rhesus incompatible,
but he doesn’t seem worried about it. I don’t
really understand what it means. Is he being too casual?
Blood types are made up of two factors – the actual
blood type (O, A, B, and AB) and the Rhesus factor, which
is either negative or positive. Rhesus incompatibility can
occur when the mother and father of the baby have different
Rhesus factors. If the baby has the same Rhesus factor as
the father, an immune reaction can be triggered in the mother,
which can lead to serious health risks for the baby. However
this is a well understood and easily monitored condition and
the fact that your doctor is aware of the situation means
he is in control. If this is your first baby then there is
unlikely to be a problem. However subsequent pregnancies will
have to carefully monitored, since the mother carries the
antibodies in her blood after the first Rhesus incompatible
pregnancy. If the mother is Rh negative she may be given an
injection soon after the birth of the first baby to reduce
the chance of a problem in subsequent pregnancies.
In the rare situation that there is a problem with your
baby after birth, a blood transfusion may be necessary.
Modern medicine is well equipped to deal with this problem
and so it unlikely that this situation will arise. However
if it does, be aware that the prognosis for your baby is