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Rh Factor – Is Rh Good Or Bad?

Rh is short for ‘Rhesus’.  Rhesus is a type of monkey that was used during the blood transfusion experiment where they discovered that there can be a problem when you get a blood transfusion.

Getting Some Things Straight

Every human either does of does not have the Rh factor in their blood.

The majority of us do have the Rh factor.  If you have this component attached to your blood cell, then you are A+, B+, etc.  You are considered Rh Positive (Rh+).

If you do not have the Rh factor, then you are considered Rh negative (Rh-) and your blood type is A-, O-, etc.

The REAL Danger Of Rh

The concern is when you are Rh- and get a blood transfusion with Rh+

OR

If you become pregnant AND IF you are Rh-.

Then, your doctor will tell you that you have no option, but will have to get a antibody shot (RhoGAM is a common one used) to protect you from your baby. 

Why do you need to be protected from your baby?

Your baby might be Rh+.  That fact alone is perfectly fine.  BUT if your babies blood mixes with your blood, then you your body might start creating antibodies.  This will NOT affect your current pregnancy/baby.  If your body does create the antibody, then a future Rh- baby will most likely be ‘attacked’ by your body. 

Before you blindly receive the antibody shot to prevent your body creating those antibodies let’s find out some your options.

A Few Options

    * Find out what the baby father’s blood type is.

    * Prevent your babies blood mixing with yours during labor and delivery.

    * Find out at birth the baby’s blood type.

If the baby’s father is also Rh- then the baby will be Rh negative. There is no risk for you, your current baby or the next pregnancy.

How do prevent the blood from mixing?

   1. Having a natural birth

   2. Don’t cut the umbilical cord until the placenta has been born.

   3. Let the placenta come on it’s own, do not tear it away from the uterus.

If your baby is Rh+, then you must decide if you would like to receive the antibody shot (RhoGAM).  You have 72 hours to weigh the risks vs the rewards with receiving RhoGAM.  Do your research and be educated. 

Good News

If it is Rh- you are perfectly safe. You and your baby have been compatible the whole time and there is no concern for the next pregnancy/baby.

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