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  Rhesus Disease
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 good.


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