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Rh Blood Factor

Rh Blood Factor

My last baby needed and exchange transfusion because of an Rh problem. Will my next baby also need one?

Doctor’s Advice:

We have learned a lot about the management of Rh problems in the past ten years, and exchange transfusions have become standard procedure in many hospitals. About 80 per cent of babies with an Rh problem will probably need an exchange transfusion in order to ensure against damage to the baby.

Whether a transfusion is needed will depend on tests your doctor will make when the baby is born. In some cases the transfusion will need to be done immediately after birth; in others several hours may pass before the transfusion needs to be done.

Even though a mother has had one baby who needed an exchange transfusion, it is possible to have a later child who does not have an Rh problem, if the father has a certain type of blood. It is not possible to determine with any degree of accuracy before birth whether the child will have an Rh problem, but this condition can be determined immediately after birth.

The purpose of the exchange transfusion is to prevent excessive destruction of the blood, which leads to the development of a yellow color (jaundice) in the baby. The transfusion will remove some of the yellow pigment, which is poisonous to the child.



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