Blood diseases

Rh factor in pregnancy

There are four major human blood groups – O, A, B, AB. But another factor is found, which is characteristic of blood – Rh factor. Red blood cells in most people have a very important antigen (which is found in rhesus monkeys), called the Rh factor. Human blood, red blood cells that have this Rh factor, is called Rh-positive. Such people are 85%. Rh factor is not in the red blood cells in 15% of people. This blood is Rh-negative. There is a threat to human life in the case of Rh-conflict due to the Rh factor, which is in Rh-positive blood. Rhesus-conflict can occur through blood transfusion. In addition, it can manifest itself in the body of the fetus. In both cases, the red blood cells are destroyed, so that the body begins to drastically starve for oxygen. Health can deteriorate at a rapid accumulation of decay products of red blood cells in the body.


  • There are no symptoms, but the fetus at risk whose parents have different blood group and Rh factor, as well as people who have had blood transfusions.


Erythrocyte witn Rh on its membrane is very similar to the surface of bacteria. The human immune system checks every cell of the body and immediately recognizes: own or someone else’s. The human immune system, in which blood is Rh there since birth, identifies it as their protein compounds and is not responding. It does not “attack” and the red blood cells of another person whose blood is also Rh-positive. Red blood cells, which circulate in the blood of the fetus, are broken only when the mother’s blood has not Rh factor, and the baby has inherited it from his father. However, during the first pregnancy it usually does not happen wrong with the child, because the mother’s immune system does not react much to the positive Rh factor baby. However, during childbirth fetal blood gets into her body through the gap placenta and other tissue membranes. At this time the mother’s immune system starts to produce antibodies against the fetal red blood cells and stores them well. Therefore, during a subsequent pregnancy it starts attacking self cells, ie blood cells of the fetus. Maternal antibodies through the placenta enter the blood of the fetus and there destroy its red blood cells. The result is that the oxygen content can dramatically decrease in the fetus and cause danger to life.

Treatment and prevention

Since the treatment of Rh-conflict is very limited, and in connection with its consequences endanger human life occurs, so doctors are trying to protect the child.

Before blood transfusions its group and Rh factor are established in the laboratory (blood is taken from the patient’s vein). Moreover, the so-called cross-compatibility blood tests of donor and the recipient are made in order to avoid its possible incompatibility. Currently some methods are created and tested by which doctor can prevent Rh-conflict unborn fetus. First of all, doctor must have the blood group of the mother. If her blood has an Rh factor, then there is no risk. However, if a pregnant woman has Rh-negative blood, the physician must be set Rh father. If Rh factor is also absent in the blood of father, then the blood of their child as it will be out too, and thus it has nothing to fear. And only if the mother’s blood has no Rh factor, and in the blood of his father it is, at the second pregnancy Rhesus-conflict can appear.

If all medical researches were carried out before the birth of the first child, then it is possible to suppress the occurrence of all Rh-conflict. It’s necessary to enter the antibody to a woman during the first birth, which suppress the mother’s immune system to prevent sensitization. With this method, during the next pregnancy, the fetus is in the womb, and which is also Rh positive, will be protected from deterioration of the immune system of the mother.

First of all, doctor need to establish that the mother at risk. For this blood group and Rh factor is determined. If the answer is positive, the application of accurate research methods and means can avoid the danger. Thus, for these reasons and for the health of mothers and children, it is especially important to be under the supervision of a doctor during pregnancy.