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Rhesus negative blood group - 'anti-D' injection

Rhesus negative blood group - 'anti-D' injection


'Anti-D' injection

About 15% of women have a 'Rhesus negative' blood group or 'Rhesus factor' (being 'A negative', 'B negative', 'AB negative' or 'O negative'). If a woman has a negative blood group and she miscarries (or is threatening to miscarry with heavy bleeding during early pregnancy), she may require an injection of 'anti-D immunoglobulin' within 72 hours after the miscarriage (or within 72 hours after the bleeding has commenced for a threatened miscarriage).

Anti-D immunoglobulin is aimed at preventing the woman from developing antibodies in her blood stream (also known as agglutinins'). It is possible for this to happen if a woman with a 'negative' blood group conceives a baby with a 'positive' blood group. The incidence of a woman developing antibodies through miscarriage is thought to be up to 7% if the miscarriage occurs during the first 13 weeks of the pregnancy and up to 20% for miscarriages after 13 weeks.

NOTE:Women with a 'Rhesus positive' blood group ('A positive', 'B positive', 'O positive', 'AB Positive') do not have this health concern because it does not matter what blood group their baby is.

When a woman becomes pregnant, her first pregnancy visit will usually involve some routine blood tests . One of the standard tests performed is called a 'group and antibodies'. This test identifies the woman's:

  • Blood group. Your blood group will be either A, B, O or AB.
  • 'Rhesus factor'. This will be either 'positive' or 'negative'.
  • Antibodies (also known as 'agglutinins'). If everything is normal, your blood should NOTcontain any antibodies. The result of the antibody test is often written as 'nil detected' or 'negative'.
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