A lot of people focus on Genotype, most do not even know what RH factor is. This wonderful piece is a Contribution by Bola Smallzz. Enjoy;
A large number of men and women might have heard of Rh factor but does not in depth knowledge of what it means, while an uncountable number of people have never even heard of Rhesus factor talk less of knowing what it’s all about. So, most of what you’d be reading here is gotten from google but I’ve tweaked it to ease comprehension.
Rh (rhesus factor) blood group system is a human blood group system (just like the ABO blood group system). It is the second most important blood group system. I’d save you the stress of wrapping your head around the medical jargon and just tell you the necessary things to note about it. The Rhesus factor is a particular type of protein found on the outside of blood cells. Some people are Rh-positive (i.e. they have the protein), while some are Rh-negative (as you’ve guessed, they do not have the protein). It is however proven that majority of the population (about 85%) are positive. This protein is genetically inherited by the offspring from the parents (passed down from parents to kids).
The status of your Rh factor however does not affect your overall health.
It is important to know your status as it can pose as danger or cause complications during pregnancy if you are Rh- negative and your child is Rh-positive. The status of your Rhesus factor however does not affect your overall health. Now, this will take us to Rh incompatibility.
Rhesus incompatibility arises when a woman who is negative becomes pregnant with a child that is positive. When this happens the mother immune system reacts and produces antibodies (and you know what antibodies do: they are molecules that are produced by the immune system to fight foreign bodies) that helps push an immune attack against the baby. When this happens, her antibodies will pass into the baby’s red bloodstream and attack those cells. This can make the RBC swell and rupture (this is known as the Rh disease of the newborn). It can make the baby’s blood count low. Negative pregnant women can also be exposed to Protein that might cause antibody formation in other ways too. These include; Blood transfusion with Rh-positive blood, miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies etc.
Rh incompatibility usually isn’t a problem if it’s the woman first pregnancy
That is because the baby’s blood does not normally enter the mother’s circulatory system during the pregnancy).
If a pregnant woman has the potential to develop Rh incompatibility, doctors give her series of two Rh immune-globulin shots during her first pregnancy. She will get; the first shot around the 28th week of pregnancy, the second shot within 72 hours of childbirth. This Rh immune-globulin acts as a vaccine. It prevents the mother’s body from making any Rh antibodies that could cause serious health problems in the newborn or affect a future pregnancy.
Now this is where the man comes in, the status of the father has a great effect on what the child’s Rhesus factor will be (as, children inherit 50% or more protein from their father).
So apart from asking your partner for their genotype, religion and tribe, remember to ask for their Rhesus factor too. Therefore, if unsure what your Rhesus factor is and you think you’re pregnant, it is important to start regular prenatal care asap. This also includes blood-type testing.