Choosing BLOOD over LOVE 2-Discover a condition called RH Disease

RH Disease-Personal stories
Jumoke is 24 years old, a banker, 11 months ago, she got married to her secondary school boyfriend Dele who is an engineer. Although, they once did an abortion when they were undergrads, Jumoke is now 8 months pregnant and a healthy mom; but the doctor says, there is something wrong with the baby’s blood…

Eunice is 35 years old and in her second marriage. She had one son in her first marriage, before she lost her husband in a plane crash. Her new husband, Nnamdi loves her son but also wants kids of his own, yet Eunice has had 3 kids who all died within days to weeks due to anaemia. Her new in-laws says she should go for deliverance, that she has offended a witch who is drinking her babies’ blood. Luckily, she just met a doctor, who says he knows what’s truly going on…
What Eunice and Jumoke’s doctors have noticed is that these babies are suffering from RH disease a major cause of haemolytic disease of the newborn (HDN). RH disease is a condition that affects almost all the newborns of women who are RH –ve and married to an RH +ve husband.


How can you know if you are RH –ve or RH+ve?

It is very simple. When you do a blood group test, the results will tell you if you are A+, A-, B+, B-, O+, O-,  AB+ or AB-. If there is a –(negative sign) behind your blood group and you are a woman who intends to have children, then you really need this information. If you’re a RH-ve man, you don’t need to worry about RH disease, but because you can pass the blood factor on to your daughters, you should definitely be informed. RH negative people have been rumored to have more disease resistance than RH +ve people eg. Some studies say
they have lower HIV infection rates, so it’s really not a bad thing to be RH-ve.

I’m a RH-ve woman, but why should I be concerned?

Rhesus –ve people aren’t very many and so there’s a high chance you will marry a man who is RH+ve (If he’s RH-ve like you, no problem). When this happens, your baby is also very likely to be RH+ve. During your pregnancy, (usually by the late second-third trimester), your baby’s blood can escape into your blood stream, this is normal. However, when an RH-ve woman’s blood detects this RH factor in the RH+ve baby’s blood, it treats it like a foreign body and sends this signal to mummy’s immune system “Alarm alarm, intruder detected, attack and destroy intruder a.s.a.p”. But because the RH-ve woman’s immune system has never seen this ‘kain’ blood before, it doesn’t respond quickly and Baby number 1 always makes it out unhurt eg. Eunice’s only living child. Sadly, subsequent babies born by these mothers who are RH +ve are not so lucky.
When a second RH+ baby arrives in the womb and the mother’s blood detects the RH factor, the immune response this time is quick: “Intruder detected, attack now” and her antibodies sweep into the babies blood and begin to slice and destroy them. This results in babies born with RH Disease. By the time such babies are born, they are usually severely anaemic as most of their red blood cells have been destroyed. Most times, attempting to transfuse the baby does not help, as the mother’s antibodies are already inside the child and continue the red blood cell attack. Most of these babies will die.

What about Dele and Jumoke who have not had any children before?

For the young couple, although they haven’t had a child yet, but when they did an abortion back in their university days, they did not realise that the first child had activated the immune response in Jumoke. Now, their new pregnancy is getting attacked by the already developed antibodies and their baby will have haemolytic (RH) disease.
Prevention of RH Disease:
These days this condition can be prevented easily, while treatment is much more complicated. To prevent the development of antibodies, in the mother, it is advised that after the first child birth or an abortion, the woman gets a shot of an injection called ANTI-D (a popular brand is Rhogam). This injection will trick the body into not making any antibodies of its own and this helps your next baby scale through without any attack. See knowledge is power, know your blood group today and be prepared if you are a woman with negative sign in her blood group, so you can avoid this one-child syndrome.
If you are already suffering from this condition and want to discover treatment please fill the contact form so we can refer you to an appropriate health expert.

Meanwhile read about another blood condition that can affect newborns in my previous post: Choosing blood over Love 1