RH this next. “K. Landsteiner and A.S. Wiener,

 

RH
Factor in Pregnancy

Julie
Welsch

January
20th, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

           

 

“Up until the middle of the
twentieth century the Rh factor was a serious public-health concern, implicated
in the deaths and severe disabilities of 10,000 babies in this country every
year” (Bakalar, 2011).  The first publicity of the Rh factor was done
in the New York Times in 1944, and it stated, “the Rh factor need not cause
infant deaths and childless marriages” (Bakalar, 2011). Where did the Rh
factor originate from?  I will go into
this next.

            “K.
Landsteiner and A.S. Wiener, when they observed that an injection of blood from
a rhesus monkey into rabbits caused an antigenic reaction in the serum
component of the rabbit blood” (press, 2012).  When the blood clotted from the monkey’s
blood being injected into rabbits and guinea pigs, the blood clotted. That is
when they discovered there was another antigen in blood and discovered the Rh
factor.  Prior to this discovery, people
with serious blood loss, the patient then received a blood transfusion from
another individual or an animal.  With
some cases this procedure worked but in others it caused serious problems and
sometimes death with the patient.  Furthermore,
I will discuss what the Rh factor is.

“The Rh factor is
a type of protein on the surface of red blood cells” (organization,
2017).  People who have the Rh factor are considered
Rh-positive.  People that do not have the
Rh-factor are Rh-negative.  There are
four types of blood, A, B, AB, and O. 
Antigens on our surface of our blood cells make up our blood types.  The Rh factor is a kind of protein on the
surface of our red blood cells.  People
with the Rh factor protein are considered Rh-positive, and people without are
considered Rh-negative. A simple blood test for the mother and the father will
determine if you are Rh positive. So, plan on having a blood test before
becoming pregnant is very important.  I
will go over how a person can become positive for the Rh factor. 

 “The Rh factors are genetically determined” (Packard,
unknown).  You can also become Rh positive if blood
cells of two circulations combine during a miscarriage or abortion or during
invasive prenatal tests, such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling is
being done.  It is important to
understand that before getting pregnant you should have routine blood tests and
find out your blood type, for both mother and father.  For example, if the mother is negative for
the gene and the father is positive, the unborn baby can inherit the gene and
be positive too.  That is when problems
can happen when the unborn baby has the Rh gene and mother’s does not have the
gene.  I will explain what kinds of
complications can happen during a person’s pregnancy if you are Rh positive.

In a person’s
first pregnancy Rh sensitivity is not likely to cause any complications. After
a woman’s first pregnancy is when you see problems arising in another
Rh-positive infant.  “During that
pregnancy, the mother’s antibodies cross the placenta to fight the Rh-positive
cells in the baby’s body” (Packard, unknown).  Rh disease can also be referred to as, “erythroblastosis
fetalis” during pregnancy.  With the
unborn child it is named hemolytic disease of the newborn.  There are no signs or symptoms to tell if you
have the Rh disease.  There are problems
with the unborn child if a mother develops antibodies, this is what I will go
over next.

“There are some
very serious complications with the infant if they have the Rh disease, such as
anemia, brain damage, heart failure, jaundice, and still birth. “…when a baby
dies in the womb after 20 weeks of pregnancy” (Dimes, 2017). There also can be
complications such as seizures, and trouble with mental function, their hearing
and speech development. If the infant has a mild case of the Rh disease, the
mother may be able to carry the child to full term.  After the child is born they may need to
receive medication and treatment for jaundice. 
Almost all infants have a full recovery if they have a mild case of Rh
disease.  If your child has severe Rh
disease and anemia before the child is born, the mother may have to give birth
prematurely.  The infant will need to
receive a blood transfusion because of the Rh antibodies destroying the red
blood cells in the infant.  The earliest
they could do a blood transfusion while the fetus is in the womb would be 18 weeks
of gestation.  Because this is such a
dangerous disease, I would like to go over the treatments for the Rh factor. 

“Rh
incompatibility is treated with a medicine called Rh immune globulin” (National
heart, unknown).  You will receive the Rho (D) immune globulin,
when you are 28 weeks gestation.  After
the baby is born you will receive your second immunization, 72 hours after the
baby is born.  Also, the mother after
amniocentesis or CVS, you may also have an injection.  If a mother has had an abortion and ectopic
pregnancy, because there might have been a mixture of the mother’s blood with
the infants during these circumstances treatment is also needed.  The mother might need to have an
amniocentesis to determine if the baby is Rh positive.  After the amniocentesis is done, and if the
baby is considered to have the Rh disease the physician will have to keep a
close eye on the infant so that the baby can receive the medical treatment it
needs. I have discussed the Rh factor and the effects that it has on pregnancy.
Therefore, I will finish with summary with my conclusion.

            In
my conclusion, I have discussed who discovered the Rh factor and how. The value
of this discovery to why there was blood rejections resulting in
erythroblastosis fetalis. I have gone over what the Rh factor is, how to find
out if you have this disease and how it effects a pregnancy.  The risk factors to the infant in the womb,
and what can happen to the infant if born with this disorder.  The treatments that are needed before, during
and after the birth of child.  What can happen
to both the mother and infant, if not treated and some serious medical conditions
that could happen to the mother and infant.  Since I am Rh positive myself I found this information
informative and interesting.  I hope that
you learned something about the Rh factor, and the importance of finding out if
you are Rh positive.

 

 

 

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