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Rhogam Shot For Rh-negative Moms During Pregnancy

If you’re a pregnant mom who is Rh negative, you may be given the RhoGAM shot. Learn more about what this shot is and if and when you might need it when pregnant.

Did your initial round of prenatal bloodwork reveal that you’re Rh negative? That could mean that you and your baby are Rh incompatible. In that caseyour doctor may suggest a shot of Rh immunoglobulin, commonly known in the US by the brand name RhoGAM, during pregnancy and after delivery.

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While the term “Rh incompatibility” may sound serious, the treatment is simple and low risk. Here’s what to expect if you need a RhoGAM shot. Don’t miss reading Vitamin D in Pregnancy May Prevent High Blood Pressure in Children

What is the Rh factor?

If you’ve ever gotten a blood test or given blood, you probably noticed the “+” or “–” at the end of your blood type. This symbol indicates whether or not the Rh factor is in your bloodstream (O+ blood, for instance, has the Rh factor, while O- blood does not).

Rh factor is a type of protein, or antigen, often found on the surface of red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body. But not everyone has it. If you carry the protein, you’re Rh positive. If you don’t, you’re Rh negative.

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Not many people are Rh negative. Negative Rh factor occurs in around 15 percent of white people and between 4 percent and 8 percent of black people. In Asian people, the chances of being Rh negative are only around .3 percent.

Whether you’re Rh positive or negative doesn’t matter much, except when it comes to pregnancy. Being Rh negative if your baby is Rh positive could lead to complications and newborn health problems. The good news is that the problem is easy to treat with a RhoGAM shot.

What is Rh incompatibility?

Rh incompatibility happens when an expecting mom is Rh negative and her baby is Rh positive. If your baby’s blood comes into contact with yours during pregnancy or delivery, your body can build antibodies against the Rh factor, which can lead to complications in later pregnancies.

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What is RhoGAM?

RhoGAM is the injection used to treat Rh incompatibility during pregnancy.

The shot contains antibodies (collected from plasma donors) that stop your immune system from reacting to your baby’s Rh positive blood cells. In other words, it keeps you and your baby’s Rh incompatibility from causing any possible problems, should your blood types mix at any point during your pregnancy or delivery.

Like other shots, RhoGAM is injected into your arm or backside.

Do I need the RhoGAM shot during pregnancy?

Your doctor will test your Rh factor early on in pregnancy; if you’re negative, he’ll also test your partner. If your partner is Rh-positive, your doctor will recommend you get the RhoGAM shot.

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Getting a RhoGAM shot is the best way to prevent any possible complications from Rh incompatibility. It protect your baby’s red blood cells from being attacked if her blood comes in contact with yours during labor and delivery, as well as prevents Rh-related complications from happening in later pregnancies.

Speaking of later pregnancies, if you’re Rh negative, it’s important to get the RhoGAM shot with each baby unless your provider says otherwise. (If it’s determined that your baby is Rh-negative too, you won’t need the shot.)

If you test Rh-positive, the shot isn’t necessary.

When should I get the RhoGAM shot?

If your doctor determines that you and your baby may be Rh-incompatible, you’ll get a shot of Rhogam when you’re between 26 and 28 weeks pregnant and then again within 72 hours after delivery to ensure that future pregnancies are as safe as the first.

If you undergo chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis, or if you experience bleeding during pregnancy or any trauma where you could be exposed to fetal cells, your doctor may give you the RhoGAM shot at another point in your pregnancy.

Do I need a RhoGAM shot after a miscarriage or chemical pregnancy?

The RhoGAM shot is a preventative measure against any time a fetus’ blood supply comes into contact with yours, which can happen if you have a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy — which is why your doctor may suggest a getting one if you test Rh-negative. You won’t, however, need a RhoGAM shot after a chemical pregnancy.

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