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Preconception Topics..

You are here : home > Preconception > Tests before Pregnancy > Blood Type and Antibody Screening

Blood Type and Antibody Screening

Blood Type and Antibody Screening

Pregnancy is one of the most important milestones in the life of a woman. Every woman wants to have a healthy and safe pregnancy. For a healthy and safe pregnancy basic test such as blood test to determine blood type is very important. Antibody screening and Rh status are also to be tested. These tests can prevent future complications. Rh status helps in determining the possibility of antibody – antigen collision. Read on to know more. 

Pregnancy is a vital decision as you are bringing another life into this world. Therefore, it becomes all the more important to ensure that the child is born with good health and the health of the mother is also protected to withstand the rigours of the bearing and nurturing of the child. During pregnancy there can be a requirement of blood transfusion and so several blood tests like blood type and antibody screens must be done before planning a conception.

The Rh Factor Screening is very important

Through these blood tests, three aspects are checked: Blood type, the Rh status along with an anti-body screen. It is very important to know whether you belong to the Rh negative category. This is because they need to be administered an immunoglobulin called RhoGAM when they are in the twenty-eighth week of their pregnancy and repeated just within seventy-two hours of the expected delivery time. These arrangements and reports must be ready well in advance so that any possible complications can be successfully averted.

The Vitality of RhGAM

The purpose of RhoGAM is to keep the woman from becoming Rh sensitised. This entails that the medication effectively prevents the spurring of an anti-body response in case the pregnancy results in an Rh positive baby. This immunoglobulin is also administered when there is a possibility of the mother’s blood getting mixed with the fetal blood due to the occurrence of any unforeseen circumstances or in case of amniocentesis.

Importance of Antibody Screening

Through an antibody screening test, the presence of antibodies are detected which can belong to both the Rh and the less common variants that are likely to be found in the fetus when the pregnancy takes place. This screening is also extremely important due to the fact that these antibodies harbor the risk of the future development of myriad blood disease in the fetus.

Importance of Determining Blood Types

Blood types can be A, B, AB, O and Rh positive or negative. The blood type needs to be determined before pregnancy so that the physician can be prepared and plan accordingly. The objective is to avert complications that result when the blood type of the mother and the fetus are different from each other. The condition can be a cause of concern if there are antibodies or antiglobulins in the blood stream of the mother as they can negatively react with the antigens or proteins and factors present in the red blood cells of the fetus. The condition is termed as Hemolytic disease of the newborn or HDN.

If an Rh negative carries an Rh positive fetus, the immune system of the mother develops antibodies that attach to the Rh positive antigens present in the blood cells of the fetus and targets them towards annihilation. It has been observed that the Rh positive baby born of the first pregnancy can combat the risk but if the future pregnancies also bear Rh positive babies, they are likely to get affected.

How is this Dealt With?

The doctor seeks to reduce the possibility of the Rh negative mother from developing the antibody. This is exactly why RhoGAM is administered. If the woman has amniocentesis, abdominal injury or chronic villus sampling, she might be prescribed some additional injections. It is important to perform an antibody screening test prior to the administration of each injection.  

If it is observed that the fetus is falling ill due to this antibody-antigen collision, intrauterine transfusion might be resorted to along with an early delivery. The decision is of course taken by the doctor after thorough screenings and checkups. 

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Geeta.7 years ago
i am Rh negative women and am planning to conceive soon. My husband is Rh positive. will this pose a problem in my pregnancy? what should i do to prevent complications. how do i know whether my baby will be RH positive or Rh negative. please advise
Yoshi.7 years ago
i would suggest all couples should get their blood tests and antibody screening done even before planning conception. by doing this they will be able to determine the compatibility of Rh factor and thus can take timely medical assistance.
Rehaan.7 years ago
the importance of blood type and antibody screening has recently come to light. now all doctors advise would be mother to go for blood tests and antibody screening. it helps in determining the compatibility which otherwise could lead to complications in pregnancy.
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