Rhesus disease is an incompatibility between a woman’s adnd her unborn child’s blood. People with rhesus positive have red blood cells with a protein surfaced called 'D antigen' People without D antigen are known as 'RhD negative'. Around 90% of pregnant women are 'RhD positive'.
Though the mother develops no Rh disease symptoms, her Rh positive baby can have problems if the mother has developed antibodies. The most common symptoms of Rh disease in the foetus may include:
The amniotic fluid contains bilirubin and may have a yellow colouring.
Delay in performing an evacuation of retained products of pregnancy/conception (ERPC) causing further complications in mother.
Ultrasound of the foetus shows enlarged liver, spleen, or heart and fluid build-up in the foetus causing swelling of the abdomen.
Phototherapy for the new born.
Blood transfusions to remove bilrubin built up in the new born.
Intrauterine blood transfusion for the baby in the womb.
Intravenous immuno globin is passed through veins to stop further red blood cells from being destroyed.
If rhesus disease is left undiagnosed or misdiagnosed the baby might be lost in the womb in extreme cases. However, rhesus disease is preventable. It requires the rhesus disease affected foetus to be regularly monitored and scanned so that early detection and treatment is possible.
In some cases the baby suffers brain damage.
Sometimes baby doesn’t cry and will develop irregular heart beat and breathlessness after birth.
The baby might face learning difficulties and blindness or deafness.
The baby may suffer heart failure in the womb if the Rh disease is serious.
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