Rhesus Isoimmunization And Abortion

Rhesus Isoimmunization And Abortion, Abortion in Rh negative mother, Rhesus incompatibility, Rh complications, Rh incompatibility in couples.

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A TYPICAL CASE OF RHESUS ISOIMMUNIZATION AND ABORTION

“SHE is a 29-year-old woman from a very religious background. She is now married for three years, young, beautiful and full of life. Father is a renowned pastor, and mother a disciplinarian per excellence. She had always been.
“This is her third pregnancy for her husband, and she had lost the other two babies shortly after birth. The babies were never looking like they’d make it. They never looked like they wanted to stay alive. And now, pregnant with the third, she hopes it stays.
“People in the neighbourhood had already begun murmuring that maybe she had an ancestral curse, or maybe she belonged to a marine spirit, or maybe her kids were Ogbanje.
“This pregnancy should end well and the baby should live, she hoped. It just had to. To ensure this, she had enlisted the help of many other spiritual fathers to intercede for her. Her parents were already praying non-stop.

“But she didn’t want to listen to any of the doctors, cos what they said didn’t make sense. Her genotype was fine – AA – same for her husband; and their blood groups were fine too. She was A RhD -ve and though her husband was O RhD +ve, she had never received any blood or stuff like that. So what then was the problem? Based on what she was told, why didn’t her first baby make it?
“Unfortunately, the only place the problem came from, she’d rather die than admit it – she had had one abortion while at school.
“And now, all that she has is faith, hope, that this pregnancy would end well and the baby would live. But how possible is it?”

THE PROBLEM

There are some sexual health decisions that our young girls make – mostly out of fear, ignorance and unpreparedness – which come back and bite them in the ass much later.
As a doctor and sexual health enthusiast, I’ve seen and heard all sorts of world class bullshit, from paternity issues to abortion gone wrong, domestic violence, contraceptive wahala, you name them.
And because of the lectures and efforts we put in at our active Social Media platforms, a lot more people are beginning to embrace the much-needed knowledge.

But there’s one big issue that leaves a gaping hole on the knowledge base of most of my followers, and it is one that is so common yet so underrated.
Many married ladies I counsel go through a lot of indescribable pain in their efforts to have a living baby in their marriages, and it is common among those who don’t embrace decent hospitals for prompt antenatal care.

The importance of antenatal clinic visits can never overemphasized.
These ladies keep having babies who die shortly after birth, some looking very terrible at birth, and moving on later, leaving their mothers heartbroken.
I am talking of a condition whereby a pregnant woman with a certain type of blood group could have issues with her newborn babies because something entered her blood and caused the stimulation of “antibodies” (read ‘soldiers’). These antibodies take time to be stimulated and then they mature and attack any newly forming baby.

This condition is called RHESUS ISOIMMUNIZATION (RI) OR INCOMPATIBILITY.
RI occurs in women who are NEGATIVE for a component of the blood known as RHESUS FACTOR. Their blood groups are:
1) A NEGATIVE
2) B NEGATIVE
3) AB NEGATIVE
4) O NEGATIVE

You can see that everything is NEGATIVE.
In such woman, the RHESUS FACTOR is NEGATIVE. However, when the woman gets exposed to some situations and a form of blood that is RHESUS POSITIVE enters her blood stream, her body immune system is SENSITIZED and it gradually begins to form “antibodies” against the new RHESUS POSITIVE blood.

Rhesus isoimmunization and abortion
Rhesus isoimmunization and abortion. Mother’s immune system destroying baby’s red blood cells.

The antibodies which see the RHESUS POSITIVE blood as ABNORMAL now attack and destroy it.
If it is a newly-forming baby that carries the RHESUS POSITIVE blood, the antibodies produced by the mother’s blood will attack the baby and destroy its blood, causing the baby to have low blood, then a set of other issues will arise and before you know it, the new baby is dead, either before birth or shortly after birth.

This condition suffered by the new baby is called HEMOLYTIC DISEASE OF THE NEWBORN (HDN) formerly known as ERYTHROBLASTOSIS FOETALIS.
Hence, it is always a matter of concern for us when a woman who is RHESUS NEGATIVE gets pregnant cos her husband will most likely be RHESUS POSITIVE since majority of men are RHESUS POSITIVE in this part of the world.
If care is not taken and appropriate measures put in place, the baby or the ones coming after it will suffer.
Some of the commonest ways a Rhesus negative woman gets sensitized are:
– Pregnancy by a Rhesus Positive man
– Rhesus positive Blood transfusion
– ABORTION
Now you see where I’m headed.
Usually, if the sensitization first occurred during her first pregnancy that wasn’t aborted, the baby might escape the HDN, but if appropriate measures are not put in, the other babies on their way would be in trouble.

However, if the woman had been sensitized in the past via an ABORTION or a RHESUS POSITIVE BLOOD TRANSFUSION, her first pregnancy for her husband will suffer.
And this is why they need to see a doctor, cos once the diagnosis is made, such challenges can be minimized or even averted with a drug known as Rhogam.

So for many Rhesus negative young women, be sure to avoid abortions if you can, and if for some reason you do have one, ensure you see a doctor as soon as you get pregnant for your own husband (and tell him of the abortion).

Read Also: Cost of Rhogam in Nigeria 

It will save you and your husband a lot of stress, let alone the likelihood of a wasted pregnancy journey.
Otherwise, it could end in tears. And unfortunately, it doesn’t get better cos subsequent pregnancies would be worse.

Stay informed.

This article on Rhesus Isoimmunization and abortion was written by: Caséy Amaefule

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