Fetal development. Rhesus-conflict

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People differ from each other not only with eye and skin color, or height, but also with a blood group, and also with its Rhesus factor. For the time being, it doesn’t matter which blood runs in our veins, until we are concerned about fetal development.


“At school I tried to avoid medical examinations, hiding in toilets and checkrooms.
At home, resisting a doctor`s visit, I resorted to various tricks: pressed my
forehead to a frozen window to cool it and hide high temperature, coughed under
the blanket, shook off the thermometer. And when I grew up, I couldn`t find time
for sicknesses or preventive medical examinations, as I always had more important
and absolutely urgent matters. As a result, I knew about Rhesus factor existence
and that I have got Rhesus-negative only when I was 27 y.o., i.e. when I decided
to become a mother”.

Fetal development. Such different blood

Rhesus factor is an antigen (or albumen), which is situated on erythrocytes`
surface (red corpuscles). It was discovered just 35 years ago. And at the same
time it was discovered that 85% of men and women have this Rhesus factor, and,
hence, are Rhesus-positive. And the rest 15%, accordingly, have no Rhesus factor,
and are called Rhesus-negative.

In everyday life, neither presence, nor lack of Rhesus factor plays any special
role. It becomes important only under such extreme conditions, like, for example,
blood transfusion. Or pregnancy and fetal development.

Why pregnancy? Because if a future mother has Rhesus-negative, and father has Rhesus-positive, a child can inherit both mother`s and father`s ones, it`s 50×50. If he inherits a mother`s Rhesus-negative, then everything is ok, no danger. And if he inherits a father`s Rhesus-positive? Then a threat of Rhesus-conflict appears. What`s this? This is an incompatibility of blood between mother and her fetus. Rhesus factor of fetus overcomes a placenta barrier and comes to a mother`s blood. And her organism, “not recognizing” fetus
and accepting it as something alien, begins producing protective antibodies. These
antibodies come through placenta and begin “battling” with a future baby`s erythrocytes,
annihilating them. What this may cause in fetal development? To a miscarriage, if a mother`s organism
tears away fetus. To production of more bilirubin, a substance that colors skin
in yellow and leads to new-born babies` jaundice. Bilirubin can also damage a
future baby`s brain, cause hearing-aid and speech defects of development. Moreover,
as erythrocytes in fetus blood will be constantly annihilated, his liver and spleen
will quicken red corpuscles production, increasing in sizes sharply. However,
they will definitely lose this race, and as a result, a future baby can have anemia,
caused by threateningly low content of erythrocytes and haemoglobin. In addition,
Rhesus-conflict can cause in-born dropsy (edema) of fetus and even lead to his
death.

Fetal development. Rhesus-conflict. How to struggle?

There`re preventive measures and methods of treatment of Rhesus-conflict. The
first of them is to learn your blood group and Rhesus factor as much earlier,
and also a future father`s blood group and Rhesus factor. Sometimes, Rhesus-conflict
starts because of an incompatibility between mother`s and baby`s blood groups,
for example, if a mother has 0 blood group, and a future baby has A or B blood
group. Fortunately, such incompatibility is less dangerous for fetal development and doesn`t betoken
serious complications. If both parents have the same Rhesus, there`re no reasons
for anxiety. If a mother has Rhesus-negative, and a father has Rhesus-positive,
a mother will have to pass such a procedure, as vein blood test regularly. This
way doctors will be able to control the quantity of antibodies in your blood constantly
and notice a beginning of Rhesus-conflict. Till 32 week of pregnancy, you need
to pass vein blood test once a month, since 32 till 35 - twice a month, and then
every week till the day of childbirth.

If Rhesus-conflict still begins, specialists will be able to resort to different
measures to save a baby. In some cases, they stimulate premature birth and execute
exchange blood transfusion to a baby - doctors inject a blood of the same group,
but with Rhesus-negative in him. This operations is held during 36 hours after
childbirth.

There`s also a possibility to reduce a risk of Rhesus-conflict development during
next fetal development. For example, with the help of administration of a special vaccine
- anti-Rhesus immunoglobulin at once (during 72 hours) after first childbirth
or abortive pregnancy. The principle of action of this medicine is based on the
fact that it “connects” aggressive bodies in mother`s blood and brings them out
of her organism. After this, they cannot threaten a future baby`s health and life
anymore. If Rhesus-antibodies were not injected as preventive measures for some
reason, such “vaccination” can be done during pregnancy. Administration of anti-Rhesus
immunoglobulin can be done also after fetus bladder puncture, amniocentesis and
surgical operation during abdominal pregnancy.

Fetal development. Happy-end

“And in general, - a doctor finished his story, now you should know only one
thing: a prognosis is good. So, pass vein blood tests regularly and don`t think
of anything else”. And I went to pass a vein blood test. Once, again, and againa



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