Anti-D injection is given to pregnant women who are Rh negative, this can help prevent a process known as Rh sensitisation. Sensitisation can occur if a pregnant woman with RhD negative blood is carrying a RhD positive fetus. In most cases, mother’s blood will not mix with your baby’s blood until delivery. As it takes a while to make antibodies that can affect the baby, therefore, the baby most probably would not be affected.
Antibodies can create serious problems if a sensitised RhD-negative woman becomes pregnant again with another RhD positive baby. Once antibodies have been made sensitised, they’ll be ready to attack the RhD-positive baby’s blood cells. So, the mother is given an injection of Anti-D within 72 hours of delivery, amniocentesis or miscarriage to neutralise the blood cells which might have entered baby’s bloodstream. Thus, preventing the formation of antibodies. It is completely safe for you and your baby if you have the anti-D injection.
Anti-D & RhD negative pregnant women
Pregnant women Rh negative blood are asked to take anti-D, in case their baby has a positive rhesus status (RhD positive). You will find out whether you are rhesus negative from a routine blood test.
During pregnancy and birth your baby’s blood may mix with yours. This could happen due to small bleed from the placenta. Even if there’s no mixing of bloods during pregnancy, your blood and your baby’s blood will almost certainly come into contact during birth.
In the absence of anti-D, the mother’s blood will treat the baby’s blood as foreign and her body will produce antibodies to destroy blood cells of the baby.
If antibodies reach the baby’s blood system through placenta, it can lead to a serious condition called haemolytic disease of the newborn (HDN). HDN can cause jaundice and anaemia. In severe cases, HND can cause permanent brain damage, or even lead to stillbirth.
Anti-D neutralises any blood cells from your RhD-positive baby before your body make antibodies. It is because of anti-D, HDN is now extremely rare, affecting one in 21,000 births.
You might need Anti-D earlier if:
- Any vaginal bleeding is observed during your pregnancy.
- In case of a miscarriage.
- In case of an abortion.
- You have undergone medical procedure such as an amniocentesis.
Because the above mentioned things can lead to influx of baby’s blood cell into your body. Therefore, a mother with Rh negative blood should surely go for an Anti-D injection after delivery.
Very rarely, anti-D can cause an allergic reaction. It is better to stay at your doctor’s clinic for 20 minutes after having the injection. In case, you don’t feel good, immediately tell your doctor.
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