Rh Sensitization During Pregnancy (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
If you are already Rh-sensitized or become Rh-sensitized while pregnant, you will not have any unusual symptoms.
Fetal problems from Rh sensitization are detected with Doppler ultrasound testing and sometimes with amniocentesis. It is possible, though, that a fetus with severe Rh disease will move less frequently than it did earlier in the pregnancy.
Other conditions with symptoms similar to Rh sensitization include other blood type incompatibility problems and fetal infections.
If you are Rh-negative
Unless you are given Rh immune globulin just before or after a high-risk event, such as miscarriage, amniocentesis, abortion, ectopic pregnancy, or childbirth, you have a chance of becoming sensitized to an Rh-positive fetus's blood.
If you have been Rh-sensitized in the past
If you have been Rh-sensitized in the past, you must be closely watched during any pregnancy with an Rh-positive partner, because your fetus is more likely to have Rh-positive blood. In response to an Rh-positive fetus, your immune system may quickly develop IgG antibodies, which can cross the placenta and destroy fetal red blood cells. Each subsequent pregnancy with an Rh-positive fetus may produce more serious problems for the fetus. The resulting fetal disease (called Rh disease, hemolytic disease of the newborn, or erythroblastosis fetalis) can be mild to severe.
If you have been Rh-sensitized in the past, an Rh-negative fetus cannot trigger an immune reaction.
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