Rh-induced hemolytic disease of the newborn
Rh incompatibility is almost completely preventable. Rh-negative mothers should be followed closely by their obstetricians during pregnancy.
Special immune globulins, called RhoGAM, are now used to prevent RH incompatibility in mothers who are Rh-negative. If the father of the infant is Rh-positive or if his blood type cannot be confirmed, the mother is given an injection of RhoGAM during the second trimester.
If the baby is Rh-negative, the mother will get a second injection within a few days after delivery.
These injections prevent the development of antibodies against Rh-positive blood. However, women with Rh-negative blood type must receive injections:
- During every pregnancy
- If they have a miscarriage or abortion
- After prenatal tests such as amniocentesis and chorionic villus biopsy
- After injury to the abdomen during pregnancy
Stoll BJ. Blood disorders. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 103.
Review Date: 02/10/2011
Reviewed By: Kimberly G Lee, MD, MSc, IBCLC, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.