Rhesus Factor Test

HEALTH

Not until when my sister went for a marriage counselling, did I know there is a blood group system called the Rhesus factor. Like myself, many intending couples and youths do not know about this antigen occurring on the red blood cell which in itself does no harm to the body but can lead to miscarriage if not properly addressed.

The Rhesus factor is an inherited protein found on the surface of the red blood cell and is seen as the most important blood group after the A B O blood group system. It can either be positive or negative (Rh+ or Rh-). Rh+ indicates the presence of protein in the blood while Rh- indicates the absence of protein in the blood group. This blood type can be gotten from either parent but most times from the Father.

When a woman with the Rh negative blood type gets pregnant with a baby carrying the Rh positive rhesus, their problem comes. When a woman with negative Rh is pregnant with a baby carrying the positive rhesus factor, and the baby’s blood gets in contact the woman’s blood (which could occur during delivery, an abortion, miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy), blood cells from the baby enters through the woman’s bloodstream and the woman’s body activates some antibodies (to fight against the child’s blood because it sees it as a threat to do woman’s body). This is what is medically called Rhesus factor incompatibility.

The first pregnancy is not usually affected even if it’s positive, as it takes time for the antibodies to develop. But subsequent pregnancies would be affected by the already activated antibodies, which could lead to miscarriage.

This antibodies can however be stopped from being activated by the administration of an injection known as RhoGAM ( Rh immunoglobulin) to a woman with a negative Rhesus.

This injection contains antibodies that will attach to any Rh- positive cells and prevent the woman’s body from developing its own antibodies that can cause harm to the baby. This injection is administered 28weeks into pregnancy and 72hrs after delivery, an ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage or abortion.

Know your blood group, if you are negative and the father to the baby is positive, then a test should be carried out to know if the baby is positive and if the baby is positive, then the mother can receive an antibody against the Antigen injection.

Operation know your rhesus factor today!!

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