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Why blood type matters during labor and delivery

On Behalf of | Aug 31, 2021 | Birth Injuries

Both the mother and the father play a role in what characteristics an unborn infant develops. Sometimes, the father’s genetic input can create a situation that puts the mother and the baby at risk. For example, they could carry a dangerous genetic condition. Other times, the father may have an Rh-positive blood type while the mother has an Rh-negative blood type.

That isn’t dangerous in itself unless the baby develops Rh-positive blood. Rh factor incompatibility has long been a known concern for pregnancies. If a doctor doesn’t gather enough background information about the mother, the father and any previous pregnancies, they might put the family at unnecessary risk.

Why do Rh factor differences matter?

Your Rh factor classification has to do with a protein found in human blood cells. A person who has Rh-negative blood will not tolerate the presence of Rh-positive blood. This issue often complicates blood and organ donation, but it can also impact pregnancies and deliveries.

Especially if the Rh-negative mother has already carried one Rh-positive child, she may have antibodies in her bloodstream that put her at risk of severe complications during late pregnancy and delivery. In some cases, there could also be medical issues for the child as well.

What can doctors do?

A doctor can prevent these issues by testing both the mother and the father and gathering information about previous pregnancies. Treating the mother involves injections of Rh immune globulin to help avoid the production of potentially dangerous antibodies.

Overlooking Rh factor incompatibility issues could lead to complications that a doctor could easily prevent. Learning about the complications that affected your pregnancy or delivery can help you determine whether the birth injuries you or your child suffered are the result of medical malpractice.