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Rh incompatibility between mother and baby occurs when the pregnant woman has a negative Rh factor and the baby has it positive because it is inherited from the father at the time of conception. In these cases, the two's blood come into contact and the mother's body can generate antibodies against the baby's Rh.
That is, the mother's system generates antibodies that attack fetal blood cells, destroy her red blood cells and cause anemia in the fetus.
Contact between the baby's blood and the mother can occur throughout pregnancy, when the baby is exposed to the mother's blood due to some type of bleeding, or during childbirth.
This incompatibility does not have any symptoms and only a clinical analysis carried out during pregnancy will inform the doctor of this information. The treatment that is usually performed is a vaccine for the mother that is administered around week 28 of pregnancy, it is a vaccine called Rh immune globulin, which prevents the mother from generating antibodies against the newborn. In addition, during the time of delivery the medical staff will be waiting to assess a possible complication in the baby.
Doctors recommend carrying out a preconception visit so that the expectant mother knows her blood type before pregnancy. Thus, the gynecologist will be able to assess the most appropriate treatment and carry out a more strict control.
If the mother is also pregnant with her second baby, extreme care should be taken because awareness increases with each pregnancy. The mother's antibodies can cross the placenta and attack the baby's blood if he is Rh positive and has a higher risk of the baby being born with anemia or in extreme cases, intrauterine death from anemia.
If the gynecologist observes that the baby suffers from anemia and considers that it needs treatment, they could induce labor if it is in the last weeks or if the case requires it, perform a blood transfusion through the umbilical cord.
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