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Rh factor

The surface of red blood cells contains markers that the immune system
can recognizeone of these markers is the Rh factor (Rh [D] antigen). A
person whose blood contains the Rh factor is Rh-positive (D); a person
whose blood does not contain the Rh factor is Rh-negative (d).
If you are Rh-negative, your red blood cells do not have a marker called
Rh factor on them. Rh-positive blood does have this marker. If your blood
mixes with Rh-positive blood, your immune system will react to the Rh
factor by making antibodies to destroy it. This immune system response
is called Rh sensitization
Rh sensitization can occur during pregnancy if you are Rh-negative and
pregnant with a developing baby (fetus) who has Rh-positive blood. In
most cases, your blood will not mix with your baby's blood until delivery. It
takes a while to make antibodies that can affect the baby, so during your
first pregnancy, the baby probably would not be affected.
But if you get pregnant again with an Rh-positive baby, the antibodies
already in your blood could attack the baby's red blood cells. This can
cause the baby to have anemia, jaundice, or more serious problems. This
is called Rh disease. The problems will tend to get worse with each Rhpositive pregnancy you have.

If you have Rh-negative blood but are not Rh-sensitized, your doctor will
give you one or more shots of Rh immune globulin (such as RhoGAM).
This PREVENTS Rh sensitization in about 99 women out of 100 who use
it.
You may get a shot of Rh immune globulin:
If you have a test such as an amniocentesis.
Around week 28 of your pregnancy.
After delivery if your newborn is Rh-positive.
The shots only work for a short time, so you will need to repeat this
treatment each time you get pregnant. (To prevent sensitization in future
pregnancies, Rh immune globulin is also given when an Rh-negative
woman has a miscarriage, abortion, or ectopic pregnancy.)
The shots won't work if you are already Rh-sensitized.
If you are Rh-sensitized, you will have regular testing to see how your baby
is doing.