Blood Incompatibility between you and baby: What you need to know

Learn why a rhesus incompatibility spells bad news for you and bubba plus how this condition is treated.

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Blood not only provides your baby’s body with nutrition and oxygen, it also aids in removing of waste.

But if this life-supporting fluid blood is incompatible with your foetus’, your little one could develop potentially fatal health conditions.

SmartParents expert and consultant ob-gyn at Gleneagles Hospital, Dr Christopher Chong estimates that blood incompatibility can occur in at least one in 1,000 births.

When left untreated, the high bilirubin levels in you mini-me’s body may even travel up to their brain, resulting in kernicterus — a potentially fatal brain dysfunction — a precursor to cerebral palsy

There are only two kinds of blood incompatibilities:

* An ABO incompatibility Because there are four different blood groups ― A, B, AB and O ― your baby could have a different blood group from yours. Although it might cause some complications, these aren’t as serious as Rh incompatibility.

* A Rhesus factor (Rh) incompatibility Rhesus is a specific kind of protein that may or may not be present in you or your kewpie’s blood. For instance, while you might belong to the AB+ — the plus sign refers to the presence of the rhesus protein —your kewpie may be AB-.

An Rh incompatibility isn’t much of a problem if this is your first pregnancy. It might however pose a danger to your foetus’ development in your second or subsequent pregnancies because antibodies might develop at the end of your first pregnancy.

So, disease-fighting proteins found in blood, called antibodies, enter your little one from the placenta. Complications arise when these antibodies mistake your child’s blood cells as a foreign infection. This, in turn, causes a surge in bilirubin — a waste material from the breakdown of red blood cells — in bubba’s body. It is also the same substance that is causes jaundice, the yellowing of your mini-me’s skin and eyes.

If left untreated, the high bilirubin levels in your mini-me’s body may even travel up to their brain, resulting in kernicterus — a potentially fatal brain dysfunction — a precursor to cerebral palsy.