If you are Rh-negative, your red blood cells do not have a marker called Rh factor on them. Rh-positive blood does have this marker. If your blood mixes with Rh-positive blood, your immune system will react to the Rh factor by making antibodies to destroy it. This immune system response is called Rh sensitization.
Rh sensitization can occur during pregnancy if you are Rh-negative and pregnant with a baby who has Rh-positive blood.
It takes a while to make antibodies that can affect the baby, so during your first pregnancy, the baby probably would not be affected and in most cases, your blood will not mix with your baby’s blood until labour/birth.
If you get pregnant again with an Rh-positive baby, the antibodies already in your blood could attack the baby’s red blood cells. This can cause the baby to have anemia, jaundice, or more serious problems. This is called Rh disease.
These issues can be prevented with the use of IM anti d during your first and subsequent pregnancies. To find out more listen up!
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