Rhesus Negative and what it means

Pregnant mother and partner cradle bump

When you are pregnant you suddenly have tests, blood taken, pee sampled. All for good reasons, but a lot of the time I didn’t have a clue what I was been tested for. Was that just me?

So I had my blood taken and then I was told I was Rhesus Negative. Huh??

Within a split second my mind was whirling, what is it, how does it harm the baby, what could I have done to prevent it….the Midwife told me to breathe.

That’s the thing though when you’re pregnant, at least for me, your body is a vessel and you hate the thought of it not functioning properly, giving that safe environment to your little bean.

So I was reassured that the baby was fine and a leaflet all about it was given. But the leaflet was short and just told you the basic facts which I guess for most people it’s all they want. Not me! I’m a researcher by heart so off I googling I did go.

So Rhesus Negative simply means that I am missing a substance known as D antigen on the surface of my red blood cells.

Yeah but what does that mean?

Well it means that whilst I have rhesus negative blood the baby could have rhesus positive blood because dad could be positive and probably is as this is more common.

Ok so what?

Well that means if any of the baby’s blood enters my bloodstream, my immune system can develop antibodies against the rhesus antigens.

Ok I thought when is blood likely to mix? Well at birth, ok but the babies on the way out at that point. Ahhh but what happens if you have an injury and the bump gets knocked. Problem.

So google….

Turns out the transfer of blood isn’t usually a concern for a first pregnancy. But second time around some extra care is needed because most likely you will have developed antibodies and these will attack the new beans blood cells. Not good.

Ahhh but I’m on my first baby so all ok!

Well yes but a few things happened. I was given an ‘Anti-D’ injection at 28 weeks. Randomly its a cold injection, it feels weird going in.

The point of this injection is to clear out any rhesus positive antigens, thus preventing production of antibodies against the bump.

I was also told to be a bit more careful to not knock the bump and if I did to get in touch with the antenatal unit and they will assess if I need to have another injection.

Now of course when we’re pregnant we don’t intentionally go out to bash the bump but it happens.

For example I was putting my food processor away and I began to drop it, instinctively I grabbed it and the bump got bashed. I rang the unit, we assessed that due to no bruising I didn’t need a further injection.

So making sure the bump doesn’t get bumped became a thing for me. I didn’t wrap myself in bubble wrap but I just was a bit more careful. I also got this cool medical card that I had to carry. I should probably take that out of my wallet now….

This is what the NHS has to say about it.

Did you find out you were rhesus negative and did it make you a little bump protective? What have been your experiences of information overload or not when pregnant?