Heart & Blood Conditions

Expert reports about Heart & Blood Conditions


INFORMATION FOR WOMEN WHO HAVE RH NEGATIVE BLOOD TYPE DURING PREGNANCY OR BREASTFEEDING

 

What is Rh-negative blood type?

Blood types result from different molecules that can be present on the outside surfaces of red blood cells (RBCs). One set of such RBC surface molecules is called rhesus factors, because they were first discovered in rhesus monkeys. Health issues of Rh-negative blood types involve a particular Rh factor called factor D (RhD), because this is an Rh factor that is noticed by, and stimulates, the human immune system. If you have Rh-negative blood, it means that your RBCs do not express the D factor on their surfaces. Consequently, if any RBCs with D factor – meaning Rh-positive blood – come into your system, your immune system will perceive those RBCs as being foreign to the body. You can receive Rh-positive RBCs if you are given a transfusion of the wrong blood type (for instance, you received O-positive blood, instead of O-negative blood), but the most common way for an Rh-negative woman to acquire Rh-positive RBCs is during pregnancy or delivery, if you are carrying an Rh-positive baby.


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