Rhesus factor disease
Rhesus disease can largely beprevented by having an injection of a medication called anti-D immunoglobulin.
This can help to avoid a process known as sensitisation, which is when a woman with RhD negative blood is exposed to RhD positive blood and develops an immune response to it.
Blood is known as RhD positive when it has a molecule called the RhD antigen on the surface of the red blood cells.
If the antigens have been neutralised, the mothers blood won't produce antibodies.
You'll be offered anti-D immunoglobulin if it's thought there's a riskthat RhD antigens from your baby have entered your blood for example,if you experience any bleeding, if you have an invasive procedure (such as Amniocentesis ) or if you experience any abdominal injury.
Anti-D immunoglobulin is also administered routinely during the third trimester of your pregnancy if your blood type is RhD negative. This is because it's likely that small amounts of blood from your baby will pass into your blood during this time.
This routine administration of anti-D immunoglobulin is called routine antenatal anti-D prophylaxis, or RAADP (prophylaxis means a step taken to prevent something from happening).
There are currently two ways you can receive RAADP:
There doesn't seem to be any difference in the effectiveness between the one-dose or two-dose treatments. Your local clinical commissioning group (CCG) may prefer to use a one-dose treatment, because it can be more efficient in terms of resources and time.
RAADP is recommended for all pregnant RhD negative women who haven't been sensitised to the RhD antigen, even if you previously had an injection of anti-D immunoglobulin.
AsRAADPdoesn't offer lifelong protection against rhesus disease,it will be offered every time you become pregnant if you meet these criteria.
RAADP won't work if youve already been sensitised. In these cases, you'll be closely monitoredso treatment can begin as soon as possible if problems develop.
After giving birth, a sample of your baby's blood will be taken from the umbilical cord. If you're RhD negative and your baby is RhD positive, and you haven't already been sensitised, you'll be offered an injection of anti-D immunoglobulin within 72 hours of giving birth.
The injection will destroy any RhD positive blood cells that may have crossed over into your bloodstream during the delivery. This means your blood won't have a chance to produce antibodies and willsignificantly decrease the risk of your next baby having rhesus disease.
Some women are known to develop a slight short-term allergic reaction to anti-D immunoglobulin, whichcan include a rash or flu -like symptoms.
Although the anti-D immunoglobulin, which is made from donor plasma, will be carefully screened, there's a very small risk that an infection could be transferred through the injection.
However, the evidence in support ofRAADPshows that the benefits of preventing sensitisation far outweigh these small risks.
Rhesus disease (haemolytic disease of the foetus and newborn) is a condition where antibodies in a pregnant womans blood destroy her baby's blood cells
Rhesus disease only affects the baby, and the mother won't experience any symptoms. Around 50% of babies have mild symptoms that are easily treatable.
Rhesus disease is caused by a specific mix of blood types between a pregnant mother and her unborn baby.
Rhesus disease is usually diagnosed during the routine screening tests you're offered during pregnancy.
Treatment for rhesus disease depends on how severe the condition is. In more severe cases, treatment may need to begin before the baby is born.
Although rhesus disease is rare and most cases are successfully treated, there are some risks to both unborn and newborn babies.