Rh incompatibility issues

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by DammitJanet, Jun 11, 2011.

  1. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I have a friend who just had a grandson and the baby was induced a month early because they found out that there were problems with the baby...evidently the rh factor was something to do with it.

    From what I can gather the mom was negative and the dad was positive?

    This was the third pregnancy for this couple and the first two ended badly...first didnt last but a maybe two months, second was a stillborn at 6 months and now little Chance was born at 8 months. However, there are some problems with Chance.

    I do know that he has had some fluid build up. There was some in his stomach area at birth and yesterday he had to undergo surgery for fluid around the brain.

    Can someone with more knowledge tell me about this? I really dont know about it and cant find much on the internet that doesnt scare me to death. I dont want my friends to lose another grandchild. It will kill them. I also dont want their son to lose another child. I cant imagine that pain. I also want the baby to be okay though.

    Please tell me what you can so I know what may be going to happen. I want to know what to expect.
  2. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Janet -

    I am O+, x was A-. Dude came out A+. When I was carrying him? Apparently I should have had shots of some kind for Rh- factor. I was ALSO told to NEVER have another pregnancy again that they could NOT belive I was not given the shots, and that Dude had a 50/50% chance of being born a waterhead or deformed. They wanted to do an amnio draw of my water, and because I was on Medicaid - I swear (although Ive been told otherwise) I signed a paper that said if the baby was MR they would abort it. x was all on board with that saying he wasn't raising a retarded baby. I put the test off, put the test off, and put the test off. Finally when I was too far past the abortion stage? I told x that they were going to do that test..but they said it was a mute point. He was furious. After that? He went to EVERY appointment to see if he could see if the baby's head was a waterhead or not. I kept thinking the only MR person in the room was him. I also got gestetational diabetes, but the wonderful state of SC never did give me the Rh shots, they just told me to never get pregnant again. With x as the daddy? NOT a problem.

    Doesn't explain it - but I do know it's very high risk pregancy. Ask Hound - Or I can call my sister in law - She's a neo-natal expert.
  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This is when I wish my dad was still alive because I could call my step mom's daughter Teri. She is the head of pediatrics at the Medical College of Va. Head of Nursing that is. She used to be the head of NICU but got into the administrative part as her kids grew up. More money and she got her PhD. See why I am the black sheep? LOL. But now of course, I cant just call her up since I dont have a number for her...sigh.
  4. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I wonder if the other miscarriages were due to an RH factor incompatibility. I can't tell you anything about the consequences of delivering with the incompatibility being an issue. I do know that a simple shot postpartum prevents problems with a future pregnancy. I am O neg and husband is O pos, so I had to have the shot after all three kids. Never had a problem.

    Hopefully they are with a good neonatologist and the hospital will connect them with a developmental team to follow the baby's progress and direct them to any PT/OTs if it's needed.

    If you have a relationship with this woman Teri, why not just call her anyway? Get her number from your stepmom!
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I dont think my step mom will give it to me to be honest.

    I do think that the previous miscarriage and the stillbirth were due to the rh factor but they happened in our rinky dink town. No one ever even noticed the problem. Idiots. Only now that she is being followed by a High Risk doctor do they realize the issue and she is at Duke. See....before they werent married...and even now, they dont make people get that blood test anymore like they did years ago.
  6. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip


    I am O-. Usually the Rh factor comes into play not on the first pregnancy, but on subsequent ones. Rh is a protein found on the surface of blood cells - and you can be O+ and Rh- at the same time (Starbie). Rh+ is by far vastly more common for everyone.

    This is how things work: During the first pregnancy, if the father is Rh+, and the mother is Rh-, the mother's body can build up antibodies against Rh+ antigens. Baby is usually fine. However, on subsequent pregnancies, the antibodies are already there - so, if the baby gets that strand of DNA from Daddy, and is Rh+, mama's body will try to kill the baby. Usually this succeeds and you have a late miscarriage. Sometimes not and you have birth defects. Women who are Rh- are urged to get the Rh immunoglobulin injection. They've learned a lot since they discovered this and now urge women who are Rh- to get the RhIg shot around week 28 of the first pregnancy - just to be safe.

    Only reason I know all this is - I am Rh- - more than 85% of people are Rh+. My Mom is, and Grandma was, Rh- as well - and Grandma lost 2 boys after Mom was born. This was before the RhIg shot was avaiable.

    ...And husband is likely positive... Sigh.
  7. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    Rh factor was a concern for my pregnancies. husband is O+ and I am A-.

    Both my kids were OK - but I was given the shots after each delivery so the Rh would not affect subsequent pregnancies. If your friend did not receive the shots after each miscarriage - then unfortunately, her own body is basically "rejecting" the fetus and causing problems.
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Exactly DF...that is what is happening and that is what I know from my college biology days...lol. I had at one time toyed with nursing until I actually figured out I couldnt stand blood...lmao. That would be bad thing. When I was a little kid I wanted to be a pediatric cardiologist so I read just about everything medical but now I just cant remember everything I read. Now I read more psychiatric stuff so there isnt that pregnancy stuff in there.

    I am very worried about this baby's physical and mental future.I have a very deep concern that he is not going to be okay.
  9. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    This is why I get upset that our lovely state no longer requires a blood test to get married.

    When parents are Rh incompatible the body builds up defenses during the first preg. Usually the 1st preg makes it to term. Second preg what happens is that those defenses the body made (antibodies) attack the fetus as if it's a foreign invader, just as it would a virus, which can cause miscarriage........and usually does. There are medications to treat the issue and they're given after the birth of each baby that stops the process. Roghan (sp). I so know I spelled that wrong. It's not a good spelling day.

    My mom and dad are incompatible. Mom, bright person that she is.......did not do the shots after each birth. She miscarried the 2nd preg and the 5th preg due to this and delivered me 2 mos early. Yup, I was an "experimental" baby to use the "new" incubators in the new NICU units that were popping up in the mid / late 60's. Mom got a freebie for my birth and after birth care since I was the state's lab rat. But I'm not complaining......I'm still HERE because of it. lol

    Nichole and easy child's OB automatically tests for incompatibility right after delivery of the first preg..........no matter what the parents blood type is, just in case. Smart man. Women aren't always truthful about baby's daddy.
  10. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    As they said, it is usually not a problem with the first baby. It develops later. If there was an earlier miscarriage or abortion, the problem could stem from them not noticing then but even that seems odd.

    I can't believe this is still a problem. If the dr.s truly didn't notice, I would think there would be grounds for a huge lawsuit. I am RH-. I had my first baby in 1968. I was given the shot after the baby was born to prevent future problems. No problems at all later, thanks to that. That was over 40 years ago. How the ^&*( could any doctor or hospital miss that now.
  11. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Did the old pre-marital blood tests check for the RH factor? I thought they were just to test for syphillis?
  12. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Donna - I don't think they did.

    The only reason I know what happened with my "uncles" - was that happened in 1948 & 1950. Mom was born in 1947. I don't know exactly when they started giving the RhIg injections, but it was definitely before I was born in 1972.

    Also, when I was much much younger (17) I was given the injection after some issues. They told me then, I wouldn't need to worry about it ever again. After the miscarriage in 2002, I don't think I got the injection - but really no way to know, as I don't remember a lot of that time frame. Still, after 21 years it is probably a good idea anyway. And they were keeping an eye on it. So that is NOT what happened this time.

    There are so many other things that can cause problems, too. I mean - just look at my son - his testing showed NO obvious brain damage, but clearly he is Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) and Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE) (diagnosis is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), but I have some issues with that). The Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE) wasn't genetic, for sure...
  13. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    I'm Rh-. I got a shot during both pregnancies, and after I had easy child. He is A+ and difficult child is O- like me, so I didn't have to get the shot after delivering her. But, there was also a shot during each pregnancy.
  14. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    One of my aunts had the RH factor and her oldest child was born in 1947, so they at least knew about it back then. She had her second child two years later and another two years after that and went on to have six children, all healthy and normal, so they must have known to do something, even back then.

    My brothers wife also has the RH factor. If I remember right, she got some type of injection after each pregnancy (including one miscarriage) that would protect the next child.
  15. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I *think*, will not say for certain as it's been 30 yrs almost, that Illinois used to test for type as well as VD for marriage licenses. I dunno, maybe you had to ask or something. But it was done when husband and I got our blood tests. Plus he knew from the army too.

    This has been known for a very longish time. I mean very. Not sure how long the medication has been out, but they knew about it long before the medication.

    I find it hard to believe that in this era, docs didn't know. Most docs do automatic testing to find out and make sure after the 1st preg. Some states might even require it.......have a vague memory floating around that they do.

    Mom might have refused the shots, her right and they won't force her. My mom did.......hence 2 miscarriages and me born early.

    My girls knew about this in grade school, it was one of the first questions for OB doctor on a just in case note.
  16. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I remember several tests and at least two shots for this, as I am O- and Useless Boy is O+. Miss KT is O+. After nearly 20 years, I don't remember exactly what the shots were called, but I do remember the OB being concerned about it.
  17. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    We had to get blood tests in Ohio - but no one ever told or tested me for Dude and the rh factor thing - I know this for a fact. There was just a LOT of worrying on my part because of the fact that x was such a humongous heavy drug user, alcoholic. I was certain somehow this would carry over to cause a birth defect. I was assured it would NOT on HIS part. Okay - well no one said ANYTHING about genetically. And we all know what a dice throw that ended up to be. I am positive however that I am O+ and x is A- and I should have had something done about the RH thing, and nothing was ever done, NOR did anyone ever offer me a shot. They just said "DO NOT have any more children which suited me down to the ground. My pregnancy with Dude was absolutely horrible, and after the scare about having a hydro baby or a deformed, MR baby? I can't explain very well but I was beaten to a pulp because if I had delivered a MR, or deformed baby? It would have been ALL. MY. FAULT. It's a wonder Dude came out looking like a human at all. When he did? He was perfect and beautiful. Just a little jaundiced - but other than that adorable. And I told the doctor right there on that table that I am ABSOLUTELY an ORGAN DONOR - and they could have my uterus and eggs for someone who could really use them - and I meant it. They refused to take them out - and I thought that was just a shame. Perfectly good C section gone to waste.
  18. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    One of my hobbies when I was a kid, was reading OLD medical textbooks. This used to be called "haemolytic disease of the newborn" and was a common cause of neonatal jaundice. of course these days with this much better known and controlled, neonatal jaundice has a number of other known unrelated causes.

    Blood groups - they are antigens on the surface of red blood cells. All living creatures with blood cells have blood groups. We discovered this the hard way at work, we were collecting blood from animals for a prac class where we had to provide our students with washed red blood cells. We SHOULD have collected the blood right into the centrifuge tubes, but one of our technicians was lazy (I've told you about my sociopath former colleague) and he just used a single beaker to collect all the blood. By about the third collection, the whole beaker agglutinated. We lost the lot. Idiot. We were using rabbits at the time. We ended up having to go to the vet school nearby and ask for some spare dog blood. This time I had to do it, the boss wouldn't let idiot near the place. The dogs were okay, regularly used to supply blood samples. But we needed a lot, and so I was there a long time while they brought out dog after dog. The blood went straight into heparinised centrifuge tubes - this also slowed us down a lot, but at least what we got was not mixed and therefore risked being wasted.

    Back to blood groups - there are a lot of different kinds. They just happen to be there, they are part of our individual body defences against attack by anything foreign to our bodies. This can include foreign blood (say, you and your mate are fighting a saber tooth tiger and you both get cut, some of your blood and your mate's gets mixed. Your bodies use blood group antigens, among other things, to help identify what has to be destroyed).

    The main blood group system we use is the ABO system. it is incompletely dominant - there are two antigens, A and B. O blood group is missing both A and B. AB is where both are present. You get the drift. What we OBSERVE is the phenotype, the blood group the tests pick up. But what determines it in our DNA is the genotype. Short of DNA testing, this can be inferred from medical history. For example, my father was blood group O. My mother was blood group A. This means that ALL us children are carrying only one A at most. Those with blood group A also carry a gene for O. I am blood group O, so I know I must be carrying both genes for O.

    RH factor (named for the Rhesus monkeys they used in their early experiments) is a different and independent blood group. People's blood was identified according to whether it reacted to Rhesus blood or not - Rhesus positive or Rhesus negative. Probably it was one particular monkey, I suspect Rhesus monkeys, like other apes, mammals and animals with blood cells, have a range of different blood groups.

    In my family, my grandmother had miscarriage after miscarriage. She had two daughters first. i don't know what problems, if any, she had with her second child. Both were healthy as far as I knew. They had a son, ten years later, "adopted" we were told on the quiet. He looked very much like his adoptive father, and just before she died my mother told one of my sisters that yes, he was the natural son and her half-brother. But surrogacy would have been misconstrued in those days.

    The problem occurs because for someone who is Rh-, their blood will agglutinate with RH+ blood. Someone who is Rh+ can accept blood from someone who is Rh- but not the other way around. As most of the population is Rh+, this is not a problem except for those few who are Rh-.

    When someone who is Rh- is dosed, accidentally or culpably, with Rh+ blood, they will then develop antibodies to the Rh+ factor. Their blood will now recognise Rh+ next time it is encountered. A second encounter will result in a stronger immune response against the 'invading' factor. Again, not generally a problem because when does this ever happen? It happens sometimes by accident in blood transfusions, and it happens during childbirth. Also in miscarriage. When the baby is being delivered, the placenta contains a double circulatory system, supposed to be in isolation. But it all breaks up and tears on delivery, and that is when mixing can occur, when a mother can be inocluated with a sample of her baby's blood. A second exposure - stronger reaction. If a reaction is going to occur, depending on the factors.

    When they found an injection that could prevent the antibodies developing, it was a breakthrough. But the problem is - the injection still has to be delivered, within a narrow time window, after delivery and also after miscarriage, IF the mother is Rh- and HER BABY is Rh+. I suspect with my aunt, she may have also been Rh- and hence the pregnancy was not in danger. But I'm not sure - my grandmother lost about ten babies, I was told. The odds of all the ten being Rh+ if there is a 50:50 chance (dad carrying a gene for each) is remote. So I think my aunt must have just been very lucky. Although she never had children before she died, so we never knew her blood group. They were only just discovering the RH factor at the time she died (during WWII, in her early 20s).

    My mother was RH+, but had to be heterozygous - she carried a gene for Rh+ and Rh-. So with Dad a "universal donor" (ie O-) then us kids had a 50:50 chance of being RH-. And so it is - I have a sister who is Rh- and had to have the injections after each pregnancy terminated (either in miscarriage or delivery). I'm thankfully Rh+. But our girls - we had them tested. Both positive. husband is blood group B so a family joke is "B positive - not just a blood group but a way of life!" husband is B-, by the way, so our girls had a 50:50 chance of being RH- too. One or two of our kids are blood group O, which means husband has to be carrying a hidden gene for O. And of our kids who are B: their kids have a 50:50 chance of inheriting either a B or an O from my child.

    When the damage has been done and an Rh- person inoculated without preventive injections, nothing can really prevent problems. However, pregnancies can be monitored for problems and a lot more can be done during pregnancy to help it along and counter the hassles. I've heard of babies being given exchange blood transfusions while in utero, to save them from antibody attack.

    The question now is - what is the genotype of the father? Does he carry a gene for each? Or does he carry two Rh+ genes? If the latter, then every baby will be Rh+ and there will be worse problems each time. The mother's heightened immune response is designed to kill the invader that is Rh+ and as soon as the mother's body detects this, the baby is in danger. But if she can fall pregnant with a Rh- baby, that pregnancy will not have these problems.

    There are other blood group systems too, they keep finding more. Most don't cause problems, but can be used, used to be used, to identify people in criminal cases as well as other differential measures. Back in my uni days we were able to test ourselves for some of these other, lesser-known blood groups. I think for organ transplants they do deeper grouping for compatibility matching. I remember the world's second heart transplant patient, and the first to survive to leave hospital, was Philip Blaiberg (South Africa - a Christiaan Barnard patient). He was reported to have done so well because his door heart was such a brilliant match. Interesting for a country at the time deeply immersed in apartheid, Blaiberg was a white dentist and his donor was a black man who died of an aneurysm on a day at the beach. Apartheid was not an issue in medicine; only in politics. Philip Blaiberg wrote a book (I read the Readers Digest version) in which he described how it felt to be the first man in the world to hold his own heart in a jar, in his hands. The first transplant patient, Louis Washkansky, had not lived long enough or well enough after his surgery to be able to do this.

    Sometimes I'm amazed at the information I find buried in my skull...

  19. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Marg - that was fascinating! Thank you for sharing.

    I am O positive, and I believe I was told I had gestational Rh- and I have Thalassemia trait, Raynauds, vasculitis, and a few other things. I have very low iron count constantly on a scale of 1-7 without supplements. I usually test at a 3. Plus I am pre-diabetic. After they took my blood? The doctor just came in and said "You are quite an enigma." I don't think he meant it as a compliment as much as he meant it as was a pain. And NOW I find out I've got monkey blood! Well that all makes PERFECT sense now! lol
  20. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Star, since we are all primates, I guess it IS technically true to say we have monkey blood! Chimps and humans have a 99% DNA overlap.